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Acne Scars


What are Acne Scars?

Acne scars are the marks left on skin that has been affected by acne. They can be triggered by cystic lesions, picking and scratching. Acne scars most often appear as red or brown marks on the skin and can also look like indentations, giving the skin a pitted appearance. Acne scars can worsen the mental and emotional stress caused by the condition of acne.

Signs and Symptoms of Acne Scars

Acne scars stay on the skin in the long term and can often appear worse as we age due to the loss of collagen in the skin and the subsequent loosening of the skin. There are treatments, however, that can significantly reduce the appearance of acne scars.

What Causes Acne Scars?

Acne conditions that penetrate the skin damage both the skin and the underlying tissue. As the acne begins to heal, the body produces collagen which provides support and elasticity to the skin. When too much or too little collagen is created by the body, this leaves a visible scar.

Certain conditions or behaviors can increase acne scars, including:

  • Inflammatory or cystic acne
  • Avoiding or delaying treatment of acne
  • Picking at, scratching or squeezing acne
  • A close blood relative with a history of acne scars

The stress of having acne can also increase behaviors such as picking or scratching.

How Acne Scars Are Treated

Doctors and dermatologists have made some significant headway in treating acne scars in recent years. Options for treating this skin condition include:

  • Acne scar surgery – A minor surgery involving the lifting of pocketed scars.
  • Resurfacing procedures – Procedures that smooth the surface of the skin and include laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion.
  • Fillers – Injected fillers that can reduce the appearance of depressions in the skin. A dermatologist might use cosmetic fillers, collagen, or a patient’s own body fat.
  • Skin tightening – Techniques such as radiofrequency treatment are used to tighten the skin and reduce sagging and dips in the surface of the skin.
  • Collagen-induction therapy – Sometimes referred to as micro-needling, this intervention encourages production of collagen in your skin. The affected area is subjected to small pinpricks; as the area heals, it produces more collagen, improving the tone and evenness of the area.

How Long Do Acne Scars Last

If you have experienced acne scarring, you might find yourself wondering— how long do acne scars last? Typically it can take anywhere from three to six months for acne scars to fade. More severe scars might take as long as six months to fade, while lighter ones can fade in as few as three months.

When acne scarring involves pitting in the skin, these dips in the skin can remain after the discoloration of a scar has faded. Treatments for acne scars can significantly reduce the time it takes for them to fade.

Do Acne Scars Go Away?

Can acne scars go away with time? Very often, they do. When acne scarring is particularly severe, however, it can leave permanent marks on the skin. In these scenarios, a wide variety of dermatological procedures can help the situation, including laser treatments, topical retinoids and microdermabrasion.

How to Prevent Acne Scars

One of the best ways to prevent acne scars is to avoid picking at the skin when acne develops or scratching at scabs if they form. It is also a good idea to avoid popping pimples whenever possible. Taking preventive measures against the formation of acne is also one of the best ways to limit scarring in the long run.

Related Treatments


Bellafill is a dermal filler is used to replace lost volume and recreate the smooth, full appearance of skin when the body’s slowing collagen production leads to deep smile lines and wrinkles around the mouth or to improve the appearance of skin that has been scarred by acne.  Learn More

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel works to hasten this process, revealing newer and healthier cells below the skin’s surface. Learn More

CO2 Laser Resurfacing

CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers vaporize thin layers of skin with a high-energy beam of light. As the skin heals, collagen is produced which creates improved skin elasticity. Learn More


Similar to microdermabrasion, Dermalinfusion is an exfoliation treatment to create smoother, more youthful skin. Learn More


DermaPeel is our signature aesthetic treatment, which combines a chemical and physical exfoliation. Learn More


Dermaplaning is a physical form of exfoliation that sloughs off dead skin cells on the surface and as an added bonus also removes most of the surface “peach fuzz.” Learn More


DiamondGlow is a customizable treatment for rejuvenating skin, typically the face, lips, eye area and other body areas. It extracts and exfoliates your skin by infusing SkinMedica serums into pores, cleaning and hydrating them. Learn More

DOT Laser Skin Resurfacing

Dermal optical thermolysis (DOT) therapy uses fractional, micro-blative CO2 laser resurfacing to treat acne scarring, sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles and other skin issues commonly caused by sun exposure and aging. Learn More

Eclipse MicroPen Elite™

The Eclipse MicroPen Elite is an innovative tool that makes automatic microneedling easy and effective. Learn More


A Fraxel laser is used primarily in the cosmetic treatment of the face. Learn More


Hydrafacial uses mild chemical exfoliants, water jets for “hydra dermabrasion,” and vacuum-like suction to open pores for a deep cleanse to extract impurities and dead skin cells. Learn More

Infini Treatments

Infini treatments use a combination of micro needling and radiofrequency to energize and reinvigorate the skin. Learn More


IPL is a light treatment used to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. IPL is different from a laser which uses only one wavelength of light. Learn More


Isolaz technology is an alternative that combines vacuum with a broadband light to address acne below the surface of the skin. Learn More

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a dermatological procedure that uses lasers to smooth and refine the surface of the skin while also reinvigorating the layers of skin below. Learn More

Light Therapy

Originally developed for Navy seals to help wounds heal quicker, light therapy has been shown to be highly therapeutic for skin. Learn More


Microdermabrasion, also known as microderm, uses tiny crystals that are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of the epidermis. Learn More


Fractionated laser resurfacing and microneedling are used to decrease the appearance of sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Learn More

VI® Chemical Peels

VI Peels are effective for addressing hyperpigmentation, acne and acne scarring, oily skin, melasma and other skin issues. Learn More

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