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Acne Scar Treatment

Acne scarring has a significant impact on the quality of life. It is well known to affect confidence and self-esteem. Worse still, with age and photoaging acne scars can become more visible due to the decrease in collagen and elastin production.  However, there are many cosmetic treatments that can improve your scarring and restore your confidence and self-esteem, including topical treatments, laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, fillers, minor surgical procedures, and microneedling. The types of scars you have depends on how your skin heals. The best treatment options depend on the types of your scars you have. Dr. Farhang has many options to help treat your acne to prevent scarring and to treat scarring,  hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration left over from acne lesions.

Scar types

  • Atrophic or depressed scars are the most common type of acne scar caused by abnormal collagen produced during healing. Atrophic acne scars are shallow, depressed and crater-like. They are broadly categorized as rolling, icepick, shallow boxcar, or deep boxcar scars.
  • Rolling scars are indentations with a wavy texture. They are usually shallow and can be treated using laser devices, peels, and other less aggressive treatments.
  • Icepick scars are sharp, pointy scars that deeply penetrate the skin. Depending on their severity, treatments may include a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel CROSS procedure, punch excision, subcision (a minor surgical procedure that removes the scar) and fillers. The excision and subcision procedures can be followed by a chemical peel or laser resurfacing to further smooth the skin for improved results.
  • Boxcar scars are wide and U shaped with sharp edges. Options include collagen boosting treatments to fill the depression using an ablative laser, radiofrequency energy, subcision, fillers, and chemical peels.
  • Cystic acne creates deep scars. These can be treated with scar surgery, laser therapy, chemical peels, dermabrasion and microneedling, fillers, and skin tightening.
  • Hypertrophic scars are raised and firm and remain within the borders of the original injury or acne lesion. They are most effectively treated with injections, scar surgery, laser surgery and cryosurgery.

Treatment options

Acne scar management is unique to each patient and requires individualized treatment with a combination of techniques due to the variety of scars. Laser resurfacing tightens the skin and smooths superficial irregularities; dermal fillers replace lost volume; and minor surgery like punch excision can remove deep boxcar or large icepick scars.  Dr. Farhang is very well versed in treating acne scarring and is able to provide different options to achieve satisfactory results.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections may be used to soften and shrink hard scars. Injections will improve the size, texture and appearance of the scar.

A Photofacial

An IPL Photofacial will treat hyperpigmented, discolored and red acne scars.

Fractional laser skin resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing treats the top layers of the skin. Fractional Lasers use microbeams of pulsed laser light to break down scar tissue and stimulate a cascade of tissue regeneration and collagen production to improve the scar’s tone and texture. New collagen formation will raise depressed acne scars.  Because only a fraction of the skin is actually touched by the laser, healing time is usually limited to a few days.  A series of treatments may be recommended depending on the amount of correction you need.

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers can lift depressed scars immediately with no downtime. Performing a subcision procedure for depressed acne scars while injecting filler into the depression will increase collagen production, release the scar, and the filler itself provides immediate volume and lift. Filler for acne scarring offers a safe and effective treatment choice with minimal to no downtime.

Surgical revision and excision

Deep severe acne scars can be improved with surgical scar revision. Depending on your specific case these modalities can be used individually or in combination. Treatment diminishes the appearance of scars and improves self-confidence.

Chemical peels

Multiple physician strength chemical peels made of various formulations of  alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) are available to improve the appearance of acne scarring. The choice is based on your needs and goals.

Radiofrequency Microneedling

Microneedling is an office procedure using tiny needles and radiofrequency energy to eliminate acne scars.

We understand acne scars can be a source of embarrassment. Fortunately, there are many effective solutions and combinations of options to improve acne scarring so that scarring blends with the surrounding skin. Each of these procedures offers consistent improvement in the appearance of your skin with high patient comfort and satisfaction, and little to no downtime.

The right treatment depends on factors like the type of scar, its location, thickness, age and your skin type. Contact Dr. Sheila Farhang at Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics in Tucson and the Oro Valley Arizona area to schedule a consultation.


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