Acne scarring, whether in the form of deep pits or hyperpigmentation (which is sometimes mistaken for a scar) is a frustrating skin condition that can persist well after the acne lesions themselves have healed. Fortunately, there are effective in-office and at-home treatments available to help fade the appearance of acne scarring and improve skin texture and tone.
In many cases, acne scarring can be improved by resurfacing treatments that reduce the roughness of the skin and blend the scar into the surrounding skin. This category of treatment includes chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing (ablative and non-ablative).
Another way to address acne scarring is to treat the acne itself with topical medications, such as prescription-strength retinol creams, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These agents can clear clogged pores, decrease inflammation and prevent post-acne hyperpigmentation.
Dermal fillers, typically containing hyaluronic acid, can be injected to lift the depressions of atrophic acne scars. Dr. Michele Green often performs this type of acne scar treatment in her private dermatology office in New York City.
Staging combination therapy to minimize downtime and discomfort is important when treating atrophic acne scars. Depending on the patient’s goals and tolerance for downtime, energy-based therapies may be performed first followed by filler injections or vice versa. This decision should be made at the initial evaluation with the patient. This will allow the physician to customize the treatment and minimize recovery time and expense. Also, the etiology of the scar should be evaluated at this time. acne scar treatment