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Treating Acne Marks

Even after your skin clears up, acne scars and pimple marks can be a painful reminder of past flare ups. Luckily, there are expert-backed tips to help reduce their appearance and boost self confidence. Dr. Fishman recently spoke with UpJourney to provide her insight on reducing those stubborn scars.


Why do acne scars occur?

Scarring is a normal part of the body’s healing process. When trauma occurs, such as acne, the skin launches an inflammatory response, releasing new epithelial cells and collagen to repair the damaged dermis. Unfortunately, this inflammation, combined with excess collagen can lead to thick, raised scars. 

Typically, scars take about a year to fully “heal” and reach their final stage. How the scar looks will also depend on the area of the trauma, tension the scar is under, and individual characteristics. 


How can they be treated?

Acne scars can be treated in a number of ways, depending on their appearance. 

Atrophic scars appear thin and are typically the result of decreased collagen and elastin in the area. Topical retinoids can be used to boost collagen production. In addition, microneedling (with or without protein rich plasma) can be used to stimulate collagen production. Many patients at Aviva Plastic Surgery have used this treatment with excellent results!

Ice pick scars, which appear as small pits in the skin, are the result of inflamed acne and picking. Subcision can be used to cut underneath the bound skin to help it “pop” back up. A TCA cross can be used as a spot treatment to help close the pits, reducing their appearance. Some physicians recommend micro-droplet injections of filler into the scars, helping the pits appear less deep.

Pock marks are larger than ice pick scars, but are also the result of inflammatory lesions or picking. Treatment is typically similar to that of ice pick scars.

Rolling scars are the raised bumpy edges of flattened scars, usually the result of chronic cystic acne. CO2 lasering can help with skin texture and pigmentation to reduce the appearance of this scarring. Additionally, TCA acid spot treatments may be beneficial.


While acne may come and go, scarring does not. To prevent scarring, it’s important to utilize a comprehensive, personalized skin care routine to help treat acne and avoid picking at it. The appearance of scars can be worsened by UV damage, so it’s important to wear SPF when in the sun. 


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