Some scars, including some types of acne scars, can fade somewhat on their own over time. However, most will not go completely on their own and some will not improve noticeably on their own either.
There are a few different types of acne scarring and there can be a mixture of types in a single area; acne scarring on the face, acne scarring on the back, acne scarring on buttocks, no matter where your acne scarring is, you can have a mixture of scar types and you may need to do different things to help remove them.
The scars most likely to naturally fade to some degree are macular scars. These are flat, dark marks that have been left where a spot was. As this type of scar is not structural, such as a dip in the skin, it can fade over time as your skin cells renew.
It can take a long time for macular acne scars to improve on their own, but this process can be accelerated with the use of some products and/or treatments.
The type of acne scars that are likely to require treatment to improve them are those with a sunken appearance, known as atrophic scars; specifically rolling scars, boxcar scars and ice-pick scars. These types of scars will not return to their previous appearance, or as close as possible, without intervention. As mentioned before, it is usual for there to be a variety of scar types in an area where acne has been which will always be assessed and diagnosed by your practitioner prior to deciding on a treatment plan for you.
There are lots of options when it comes to treatments to remove acne scars. It is important to have a thorough consultation and ask questions so that you can fully understand what treatment(s) are being suggested for you and why.
I would also recommend going in with a mindset of how much of an improvement you would be happy with- would you be happy if you could improve the appearance of your scars by 30%, 70%? Realistically, a dermatology nurse or a dermatologist for acne scars should not promise you that they will be able to fully remove a scar with non-surgical treatments; these treatments are designed to soften, lighten, and smooth scars, often improving acne scars to the point that the individual isn’t as bothered by them, but they cannot promise that they will be ‘removed’. Think ‘improvement’ over ‘removal’.
Please be aware that most treatments require the scars to be six months old as the skin can take this long to naturally heal and repair itself; we also wouldn’t expect any further natural improvements in the scar’s appearance after this amount of time.
At our Hertfordshire acne scarring clinic, we have a lot of options for your skin. Your specific acne scar treatment plan will be unique to you and decided upon during your assessment and consultation, but it may include one or more of these acne scar treatment options:
This technique allows us to treat scars that are tethered, or stuck, to the deeper tissues below which may cause some scars to look exaggerated because the tethering is pulling the scar down. Physically breaking down tethering below acne scars with the subcision technique can help to lift the scar back up.
Subcision can be used as a stand-alone treatment, but most commonly it is used in combination with another treatment to further improve the surface of the scar. This treatment is best for box scars or rolling scars and is not appropriate for ice-pick acne scars or macular (hyperpigmented) scars.
Fraxel Dual is a fractional laser treatment that helps to stimulate new collagen and help to replace the damaged skin cells with new, healthy skin cells. It does this by treating a fraction of the skin at a time causing the skin to believe that it has been damaged, your skin goes into ‘repair mode’ during which it heals itself and produces new collagen; this means smoother, healthier skin.
As the process that the laser triggers is a natural process to your body, it can take a few months to achieve the full results, but some improvement can often be seen in the weeks following the treatment.
Fraxel Dual can treat both atrophic scars and macular scars.
Fillers are used to replace volume in an area where it has been lost; we often associate fillers with wrinkles, but they are frequently used to treat other ‘dips’ in the skin, be it wrinkles or scars. Atrophic acne scars can be flattened and smoothed in appearance with this treatment.
Dermal fillers used for the treatment of acne scars are made of synthetic hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in your skin and is replicated for dermal fillers in the form of a soft gel.
This treatment can be extremely effective in immediately improving the appearance of indented scars; however, it is not healing the skin in the same way some other treatments do and may need to be repeated from time to time.
At our acne scarring clinic, we offer micro-needling treatment with the Derma FNS micro-needling pen. This treatment uses very small, fine needles to pierce the skin which stimulates your repair and renewal mechanism; the same response that we stimulate with the Fraxel Dual laser, the difference being that it is done via the micro-needles rather than the laser and the two different treatments can treat different depths in the skin.
Micro-needling can treat macular and atrophic acne scarring.
This particular laser treatment does not create a controlled micro-wound in the same way as Fraxel Dual or the Clear + Brilliant laser does (more on Clear + Brilliant shortly) but it does ‘trick’ your skin into regenerating itself and create new collagen, helping to smooth the scars.
Regenlite can also be used in a different setting to help soften redness in the skin which is ideal if you have been left with background redness and pink marks after your acne.
The Regenlite pulse dye laser is beneficial to some atrophic scars as well as red marks and pinkness left behind after your acne has gone.
This fractional laser is known as the ‘baby Fraxel’; it is by the same people who make the Fraxel Dual laser and, although it works in the same way as the Fraxel Dual, Clear + Brilliant offers a less intense treatment.
It is best for macular scarring and can treat some atrophic scars also.
This treatment uses a punch device that removes a very small section of tissue; it is placed over the scar, usually an ice-pick scar, and replaces it with a shallower wound which will then heal. You may require further treatment to this ‘replacement’ scar to further improve it.
This treatment is best suited to very deep, small scars such as ice-pick scars. We do not offer this treatment at our clinic at the time of writing.
This is a treatment that harnesses the regenerative properties of the growth factors found in your plasma.
During the PRP treatment, a very small sample of your blood is taken and spun in a medical device called a Centrifuge. As the blood is spun it separates in the collection tube; one half is a golden colour- this is your plasma full of regenerating growth factors. The other half is red which are the components of your blood that is not useful when it comes to the treatment.
Your practitioner will draw out the plasma and re-introduce it to your skin either during a treatment that created tiny ‘wounds’ in your skin such as micro-needling or fractional laser or they will inject it directly into the scars.
The growth factors trigger your skin to heal and regenerate.
This treatment can be used to help improve atrophic scars or to further boost the results of another procedure that treats macular (and/or atrophic) scars.
The Byonik treatment uses hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and two types of ‘cold’ lasers: near-infrared and red light. These lasers do not cause any type of controlled wound so there is no recovery time.
The result of the combined aspects of the procedure is that skin redness and inflammation is improved, wound healing is supported, and skin regeneration is triggered.
This treatment is best for macular acne scarring and redness that has been left behind by acne.
Hopefully, this sheds some light on what can be done for your acne scarring. If you would like to know more about these treatments, please do contact our Hertfordshire skin clinic, we’d love to help you more.
Disclaimer: This blog is not to be used for diagnostic purposes. We are all unique which means that our results, recovery and suitability for any type of treatment will vary. Always seek the advice of a professional should you have any health or cosmetic concerns or to discuss treatments specifically for you.
Collagen found in your skin decreases by about 1% per year during adulthood. By the age of 45, you may have lost …
16 Nov 2023
Often the draw of non-surgical rhinoplasty lies in the instant transformation that it offers, without the same risks or lengthy recovery time …
10 Nov 2023
You may opt out at any time.