What Is Involved in Back Acne Scar Removal?

Angela Farrer

Back acne scar removal typically consists of treatments such as skin resurfacing, chemical peels, or filler injections. Most dermatologists recommend one of these options based on the size, number, and severity of the acne scars, as well as the skin's overall condition. Some of these techniques for back acne scar removal may require several courses of treatment before results become noticeable. Removing back acne scars is usually done only when all existing acne lesions have healed, in order to prevent possible infections.

Removing back acne scars usually takes place after all acne lesions have healed.
Removing back acne scars usually takes place after all acne lesions have healed.

Minor scars from back acne can often be smoothed through microdermabrasion, which is a process of mechanically exfoliating the skin through a concentrated air stream of particles, such as aluminum oxide crystals. This option can often successfully remove top layers of dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of small acne scars. Microdermabrasion is less invasive than other methods of back acne scar removal, and it is generally the most effective on hypertrophic scars that are raised from the normal skin. Dermabrasion is a similar technique that involves a specialized exfoliation brush used to remove deeper layers of dead skin and smooth down more prominent back acne scars.

Chemical peels are another common technique of back acne scar removal, and these may be done alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as dermabrasion. Peels are often made from glycolic or alphahydroxy acid and can come in different strengths that dermatologists prescribe for moderate to deep acne scars. Mild chemical peels are sometimes used for red marks on the skin known as post-inflammatory acne scars. A chemical peel often has side effects, such as dryness and temporary irritation, so it is not always recommended for patients with noticeably sensitive skin.

Scars that create depressions in the skin are often more of a challenge for back acne scar removal. These kinds of scars are also known as pockmarks or icepick scars. Many dermatologists opt for treating them with injections of collagen to bring the scars up closer to the skin surface. Collagen injections for acne scars are usually temporary and need to be done on regular basis in a physician's office.

Some patients with icepick back acne scars can have allergies to certain types of collagen, so their doctors may prescribe fat-filler injections as an alternative. This procedure is a more invasive one that involves removing fat from other areas of the body and injecting it underneath severe acne depressions. Fat transfer may need to be done under a local anesthetic and often requires several injections over time to have lasting results.

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