Acne is a common skin issue that affects around 85% of Australians at some point during their lives. Unsightly breakouts can dent your confidence at the time, but they can also cause scarring that remains even after your pesky pimples have cleared.
But acne scarring doesn’t have to be permanent. With the right treatment, you can achieve smooth and healthy clear skin.
Can You Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Yes. A range of non-invasive cosmetic procedures can treat both the uneven skin texture and hyperpigmentation caused by acne scarring.
At-home treatments can help, and makeup is a good way to conceal blemishes, but you’ll need professional treatment by a skin therapist to get rid of your acne scarring completely.
Some types of scarring are more challenging to treat than others. For example, it might take longer to treat a deep ice pick scar, but you can still achieve great results over time.
What Do Acne Scars Look Like?
Acne scars vary in appearance and size. Here’s a look at the most common types of acne scarring:
Atrophic scars appear as sunken depressions, giving a pitted appearance to the top layer of skin. This is caused when the skin heals below the top layer, and the body is unable to grow new tissue.
This is the most common type of acne scarring. They appear as small sunken indents in the skin with sharp edges. Boxcar scars are caused by deep inflammation during a breakout and a lack of collagen during the healing process.
Ice Pick Scars
Ice pick scars are deep and narrow. This type of scarring often looks like an ice pick has been used to create small holes in the skin. Ice pick scars are usually the most noticeable type of scarring caused by deep inflammation during a breakout.
Rolling scars have a sloping edge that makes them appear like waves under the skin. This scarring usually occurs in areas where the skin is thicker, such as the cheeks and the lower face.
Keloid scars appear as discoloured raised bumps in the skin. Sometimes the body produces too many cells when the skin heals after a breakout. This results in a raised keloid scar.
While this is not a type of scarring, hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of acne breakouts. This appears as discolouration of the skin where acne has caused inflammation.
How To Get Rid of Acne Scars
Acne scarring can be damaging to your confidence and be an unsightly reminder of past breakouts. Fortunately, many treatments can help fade and even get rid of acne scars.
Medical Grade Peels
Medical grade peels can be highly effective at reducing the appearance of acne scars without the risks and side effects of more invasive procedures.
A trained skin therapist applies a chemical solution to your skin, causing micro-injuries at a cellular level. When the top layer of skin is injured, it peels off with new cells replacing the damaged scarred tissue.
Chemical peels can vary in strength, with stronger peels requiring more downtime.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels have been proven to be an effective treatment for acne scarring. In a 2017 study published in the Scars, Burns & Healing Journal, 73% of people treated with TCA peels had at least a 70% reduction in the appearance of their acne scarring.
Your b clinic practitioner will be able to recommend the right peel for you based on your skin type and the severity of your acne scarring.
Dermal fillers are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in Australia. While they are most commonly used for lip fillers and targeting wrinkles, they can also treat some forms of acne scarring.
If you have atrophic scars, dermal fillers can restore lost volume and plump the skin from within to create a smoother surface.
The treatment involves injections of hyaluronic acid underneath the acne scarring. The filler raises the indentation and boosts collagen production in the area. The amount of filler required will depend on the size and severity of the acne scarring.
Dermal filler results are temporary. The body will naturally break down the filler product over time, and the area will return to its pre-treatment appearance. Your clinician may recommend that your return to the clinic for a top-up treatment every 6 months to maintain your results.
Skin needling is a collagen-boosting treatment that is proven to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
A handheld device with lots of tiny needles is used to puncture the scarred skin and create micro-wounds. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process, increasing collagen production, which helps to smooth the skin.
The most advanced type of microneedling in Australia is DermaPen skin needling. While a derma roller moves across the surface of the skin, the DermaPen uses fast vertical movement. As a result, it’s more effective and can be used to treat delicate hard-to-reach areas around the mouth, nose, and under-eye area.
In a 2015 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 85% of patients reported “very good” satisfaction in the treatment of their atrophic acne scarring following 6 microneedling sessions.
There are little to no side effects from skin needling, and most clients can immediately return to work and social activities following a treatment session.
Laser resurfacing is one of the most effective treatments for acne-scarred skin. There is a range of laser therapies to treat both mild and severe acne scarring.
Ablative treatments are the strongest type of laser resurfacing. Targeted laser energy is used to remove the top layer of the scarred skin. This triggers healing and cell renewal in the treated area. As the skin regenerates, the acne scars fade and become less visible.
Non-ablative laser treatments are gentler on the skin, boosting collagen production to improve the appearance of acne scars. The top layer of skin is left intact. This type of laser resurfacing is effective for mild to moderate acne scarring.
A King’s College London review showed that laser resurfacing removes up to 83% of acne scarring following a series of sessions. The study also showed that ablative laser could provide significant results in fewer treatments but with a more extended downtime between each session.
What Causes Acne Scarring?
Acne scarring is caused by inflammation and damage to the skin as a result of acne breakouts. All types of acne can cause acne scarring, but it usually occurs following cystic and nodular acne.
The body increases collagen production to heal the damage caused by the acne, resulting in bumps and indentations when the skin has healed.
How Do I Prevent Acne Scars?
There are lots of ways to reduce the risk of developing acne scars. Inflammation can lead to scarring, so your priority should always be to reduce any swelling and calm the skin.
Avoid any products or treatments that cause irritation, and don’t scrub the area. It’s also essential to avoid the temptation to pick or squeeze pimples. This can result in debris being forced deeper into the dermis and increases the risk of acne spreading to surrounding tissue.
You can prevent acne and the risk of scarring by following a dedicated skincare routine. Read our guide to learn more about how you can keep your skin acne-free and the treatments that can help.
How Can I Remove Scars From My Face Permanently?
With the right treatment, it is possible to remove acne scarring altogether. Laser resurfacing is often the most effective treatment for acne scarring, but you may also benefit from a medical grade peel or skin needling.
Schedule a free consultation with one of our b clinic doctors, and we’ll advise you on the best way to achieve a clear and smooth complexion.