About Acne Scars

Acne is a common skin condition, especially among teenagers, and scarring from this inflammatory condition frequently leaves a lifelong, permanent reminder. Because there are many ways to treat acne scarring, it is important that patients choose a cosmetic surgeon who is skilled at a wide variety of procedures. Likewise, other types of scars can be very difficult to manage and improve, and choosing the right physician is an important step towards clinical success. The three types of acne scars include rolling acne scars, boxcar acne scars and icepick acne scars:

  • Rolling scars are the surface concavities and undulations that occur in acne prone skin. These are often the scars that are most noticeable under overhead lighting. Injection with either temporary soft tissue fillers or the FDA approved long term or permanent filler Bellafill can be used to improve the appearance of these depressed scars. Fillers may be combined with subcision, a surgical technique aimed at releasing the underlying fibrous scar tethers that pulls in the surface of the skin. A laser surgeon can then retexture the surface for a finished, polished look. It is critical to work with a physician skilled in these procedures.

  • Boxcar scars are usually small, clearly defined indentations in the skin. They can present anywhere on the face, but most notably on the temples and cheeks. Treatment of shallow boxcar scars can be accomplished with laser skin resurfacing, but deeper boxcar scars are best removed surgically. Direct excision with suturing, as well as elevation of the scar with use of a surgical adhesive to fix the newly flattened scar in place, are just two of the many treatment options available. Boxcar scars also often respond well to laser treatments.

  • Shallow icepick scars will slowly improve with precise application of trichloroacetic peel concentrate over several sessions. For deep ice pick scars, surgical removal is most effective. Several scars can be removed in one session. Following the surgical removal of ice pick scars, most patients benefit from skin resurfacing using one of several lasers. Patients notice a dramatic improvement 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. 

Our physicians will take the time to explain to you the possible risks and benefits of treatment, as well as the likelihood of success. Fortunately, most scars will improve with intervention, and the results can sometimes be amazing.


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