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Good, Better, Best: 3 Options for Getting Rid of Acne Scars Completely

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By Dr. Corey Hartman

As if having acne wasn’t bad enough, many who suffer from cystic, painful acne lesions must also deal with the scars they often leave behind. And once that damage is done to the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin, even the most aggressive acne treatment isn’t going to be enough to make those scars go away.

As a dermatologist, It’s my job to educate my patients on the first step of getting rid of acne scars – and that’s getting their acne under control. There’s no reason to spend money on correcting a problem that you haven’t found a way to prevent from happening again. But after that, we can then move on to more procedural dermatology.

Your Options for Getting Rid of Acne Scars Completely

There are multiple ways to get rid of acne scars with some offering more gradual improvement, and others that result in the more immediate cosmetic improvement that many patients desire.

The option that’s right for you very much depends on the amount of money you’re looking to spend, as well as the amount of downtime you’re willing to accept — as the amount of downtime is almost always directly proportional to the cosmetic improvement.

A GOOD OPTION for Treating Acne Scars: Chemical Peels & Microdermabrasion

For minimal to mild acne scarring, a series of chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments can be good for those who are a little more budget-conscious and don’t want a lot of downtime. Of course, these options will result in very gradual improvement, unlike the other options below that offer more immediate, pronounced results.

A BETTER OPTION for Acne Scar Treatment: Subcision and Microneedling

Acne scar subcision is another option dermatologists would rely on before we had some of the more advanced options below. But if there are areas where the scarring is deeper and more severe where the tissue is pulling the skin down, just getting in there and releasing those adhesions can be beneficial.

Incorporating the same principles of the PRP treatments, the bleeding that takes place after subcision is going to release those growth factors, which helps the skin remodel itself so that the scarring is less visible.

Sometimes, at a patient’s request, we’ll do other treatments such as dermal fillers in conjunction with subcision where we’ll inject Juvederm or Restylane into the spaces where we released those adhesions. This helps to create a smoother surface and give a more immediate cosmetic improvement.  

The BEST OPTION for Treatment for Acne Scars: Microneedling and Laser Resurfacing

For most patients, I’ll recommend that we build a regimen that includes both microneedling and laser treatments if it works with the patient’s budget. This way, they’re getting the benefit of treating the collagen in different ways, through both stimulation and heat.

SkinPen Microneedling, often used for anti-aging purposes, is a fantastic treatment for acne scarring because it helps to remodel the collagen by stimulating it with needles. I will say, you’ll experience what almost looks like a sunburn the next day, but that shouldn’t last more than a couple of days so the downtime isn’t too bad.

The only thing SkinPen microneedling does not incorporate is heat, and that’s where the resurfacing laser comes in. It’s a good option for patients who have deeper or more pronounced scarring, or those who just want to see a faster improvement than they’re going to get with microneedling alone.

Depending on the severity, most patients are going to get rid of acne scars with a series of four laser treatments and up to six microneedling sessions.

Which acne scar treatment option is right for you?

While each option above offers its own unique benefits, it really boils down to how severe your scarring is, the amount of money you’re willing to spend, and how quickly you’re wanting to see results.

If you do a series of laser treatments and microneedling, you’re going to get a more permanent, immediate improvement, and it’s safe to say that’s what most of my patients are looking for.

At Skin Wellness Center of Alabama, we offer cutting-edge skin care and dermatology services to our patients in the Greater Birmingham area, including Hoover and Homewood. At our offices in Birmingham & Chelsea, AL, our certified dermatologists are here to listen to your concerns and offer the individualized, high level of patient care you seek. We believe in making care accessible and affordable, and we will go out of our way to accommodate your visit. Give us a call today at 205-871-7332.