Acne Scars

Effective Ways to Get Rid of Your Acne Scars

There are many levels of acne scar reduction – from simple vascular laser for reducing redness to ablative laser for a “power hit” to lessen depressed acne scars. At Total Dermatology your choices are not limited to a single type of solution.

You Can Improve Your Skin

If you’ve had cystic acne and suffer from depressed scars that give the skin a crater-like or orange-peel appearance, there are ways to improve your skin. Scars are a result of collagen and epidermal damage and can only be improved with some type of medical treatment. Frequently acne scars also retain a red appearance that causes them to be even more noticeable.

Customizing to Your Needs and Your Skin

Each individual has specific needs when it comes to scar treatments.  What must be considered:

  • Depth of the scars
  • Amount of tissue loss
  • Scar profile (wide, icepick, etc.)
  • Location of the scarring
  • Ethnicity
  • Lifestyle
  • Budget

So many variables play into the final choices, that successful outcomes demand a wide selection of options.



Dr. Pilest – Training Physician

***Dr. Pilest is a training physician for the Fraxel Repair laser and has used lasers in his dermatology practice since their inception.

Changing Your Skin and Your Life

Acne and acne scars have some of the most profound negative psychological effects of any skin condition. Acne scar improvement most often requires special combinations of treatments. Some will respond well to a collagen-building laser, while others will need a combination of lasers such as Fraxel and Vbeam.

Smoothing and sculpting the scar with the use of lasers, chemical peels, fillers or micro-surgical procedures dramatically alter the appearance of acne and other scars. We’ve introduced the new Intensif RF Micro Needling system for acne scarring that is the most effective and safest for skins with mixed ethnic backgrounds. Combined with PRP, you can see more acne scar improvement with faster recovery with the Intensif system.

Each “scar profile” can be improved, whether the scars are dense, isolated, red, “ice-pick” or the more common crater shaped. Smoother clearer skin with vastly diminished scar appearance can be achieved with a wide array of highly effective treatments.*

11 Acne Scar Treatment Options

Fractional Radio Frequency

eMatrix is a unique “non laser” system for skin resurfacing. Especially kind to skins with more pigment, eMatrix avoids the post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation response frequently seen with lasers. eMatrix uses Radio Frequency to resurface the skin, no laser.

Intensif is Micro Needling with Radio Frequency. A new tool for sensitive ethnic skins which might otherwise hyper pigment following laser procedures.

Fraxel re:store: The Fraxel re:store laser is a hybrid system using a fiber laser. It is unique in that it does not affect all the top layer of skin at once. Treatment areas are  miniature “dots’. This allows the skin surface to heal almost overnight with very minimal downtime or side effects. Most patients only experience slight reddening similar to a sunburn. Fraxel re:store is delivered in a series of treatments.

Ablative Fractional Laser

Ablative lasers are reserved for more serious scarring or for those who wish for fewer treatments and can also accept some downtime. Because fractional ablative lasers actually remove columns of skin, recovery time is longer, but results affect the skin at the deepest level.

The Gold Standard CO2 laser, Fraxel CO2: This laser produces more heat than Erbium: YAG lasers, allowing energy to penetrate deeper into the skin to tighten and smooth the skin’s collagen. Recovery time takes 4 to 7 days.

Dermal Fillers

Hyaluronic gels or other filling-material injections are also used for the treatment of acne scars. The scar is first lifted and then filled with these products. This procedure is great for patients with severe scarring caused by acne, chicken pox, or scars from previous surgeries. This is a quick procedure performed in our office that causes little discomfort and minimal downtime. Bellafill “non-degradable-component” filler is an FDA approved filler for acne scars;  Restylane filler;  Juvederm filler

Micro Needling is gaining tremendous traction for treating acne scars. It’s especially useful for shallow scars with a saucer-like appearance. There’s no heat, so there’s no big worry about pigmentation. It’s comparatively more comfortable than laser as well. Plus it’s a more affordable option when the budget is a big concern.

SmoothBeam: A non-invasive way to treat acne scars. Non-invasive lasers do not cut or remove the skin surface. Instead, their action occurs underneath the outer layers of the skin. Because the laser works at a deep level, you won’t experience prolonged pain or peeling.

The SmoothBeam laser employs a revolutionary, patented process with DCD (Dynamic Cooling Device). This device first deep-cools the area of skin to be treated with a short blast of cryogen spray which protects the epidermis. This is instantly followed by the laser beam which targets the upper dermis. This combined cooling/heating process protects the outer layer of the skin while allowing the heat to reprogram the collagen-building process within the deeper layers of your skin. Improvements occur “inside out” by the production of this new collagen. Multiple treatments are necessary to stimulate collagen and minimize the acne scars. We can never promise total removal of scars, so please set your expectation to one of improvement.

Smoothbeam is also used as an “active acne” treatment. Double benefits of lessening active acne lesions – which helps prevent future scarring – and scar reduction are provided in the same treatment. Another new system for active acne that many patients are benefiting from is Isolaz which cleanses the pores by suction and kills bacteria with special light.

VBeam: Taking the Red out of Acne Scars

The “red” left behind in acne scars is a result of tiny broken capillaries at the site of the healed acne lesion. This redness is more common to “newer” acne scars and is hard to conceal, making the evidence of acne more pronounced, even after it has healed. Lasers that target these broken capillaries cause the small vessels to coagulate and be reabsorbed by the body. This effectively reduces the redness.

Vbeam (Pulsed Dye Laser) is commonly used for the treatment of red acne scars, stretch marks, and keloids, which are thickened scar tissue. It is also useful in treating the redness and broken vessels in the skin caused by Rosacea. The Vbeam laser usually requires three to five treatments. Because the VBeam uses a similar cooling and deep heating process to that of the SmoothBeam (though the target is the broken vessel) the treatment is well-tolerated and protects the outer surface of the skin.

The combination of VBeam and SmoothBeam lasers are commonly used during the same session to improve acne scars. There is no down-time for either SmoothBeam or VBeam laser treatments. Procedures are generally very tolerable and laser pulses are only microseconds long…the laser pulse feels somewhat similar to the light “snap” of a rubber band.

Chemical Peels

Peels work well for mild to moderate acne scarring and also help even out the skin’s tone. A physician-strength peel, such as the Blue Peel or High Concentration Salicylic Acid Peel is used. These chemical solutions are applied to the skin causing a reaction similar to sunburn. After the skin completely peels over several days, new, smoother skin will replace the damaged skin. Chemical Peel link

Surgical Scar Removal

Punch excision surgery is an option for individuals with deep “ice pick” scars that have not improved with laser surgery. In this procedure, the scar is surgically removed and a patch of skin from elsewhere on the patient’s body is placed into the space, the wound is then closed with stitches.

Subcision is a procedure that involves using a needle to get underneath the scar disconnecting the fibers under the scar that are holding the scar down and keeping it indented.

Silicone gel pads are an option for patients who are not good candidates for the above procedures due to the current or recent use of Accutane or a tendency to get keloids. Silicone gel pads are similar to bandages in that they can slightly reduce the appearance of scars but seem to work best on fresh scars.


We love our patients at Total Dermatology! Read what our satisfied patients have to say about their experiences with Dr. Pilest and our team.

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*Individual Results May Vary

Take the First Step – Request A Consultation

Ready to try out Qwo® for yourself?

Schedule your consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nissan Pilest at Total Dermatology in Irvine, CA today by calling (949) 408-1982. 

*Individual Results May Vary