Acne Marks and Scars

What are acne marks and scars?
Acne is one of the commonest skin conditions seen by dermatologists. There are many effective treatments that are available to help patients control active acne. However, some patients may still have to tackle the problems of acne marks and scars after the acne has subsided. The red and brown marks are temporary and generally improve over time. Scars are permanent and do not fade over time. Scars may be depressed below the skin or protruding above the skin (hypertrophic scars or keloids).

What is the treatment for acne marks and scars?
Acne marks may be left alone to fade over time. Lightening creams and intense pulsed light may help to speed up the fading of brown and red marks. Hypertrophic scars and keloids can be flattened by steroid injection into the scar tissue. Depressed scars can be improved by microdermabrasion (mechanical exfoliation), chemical peels (exfoliation with chemcials applied on the skin), filler injections (injection of substances e.g. hyaluronic acid under the scar to elevate the depression), scar excision (where deep pitted scars are surgically removed and stitched), subcision (where a fine needle is introduced beneath the depressed scars to break the tethering scar tissue) and lasers such as ablative laser resurfacing, non ablative laser rejuventaion and fractional laser resurfacing. The type of treatment selected will depend on the depth and width of the scars, the downtime involved, and the patient’s preference. Occasionally, a combination of treatments may be needed for best results.