Acne is a disorder resulting from the action of hormones and other substances on the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands) and hair follicles. Although acne can be a chronic condition, even if it occurs only during adolescence, it can leave lifelong scars. Acne scars can be depressed due to the loss of tissue and look like "ice pick" pits, or can be rolling, creating a wavy texture in the skin or boxlike, sometimes referred to as "boxcar acne scars."
scars can also be raised due to excess tissue in the form of a keloid or hypertrophic scar. Lastly, acne can leave colored spots referred to as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. These spots can be purplish, red and pink in lighter skin, and tan to dark brown in darker skin. These are technically not scars and will commonly fade over time. Although proper treatment for acne may help minimize scarring, several dermatological procedures may help to further minimize any acne scars.
The purpose of cryotherapy treatment is to freeze scar tissue, causing it to die and eventually fall off. Sometimes, this is used in combination with intralesional injections. One potential risk of cryotherapy, however, is lightening the skin, causing the treated area to be lighter than the surrounding skin.
Injections are commonly referred to as intralesional injections. These involve injecting a medication, usually a steroid, directly into a raised scar, causing it to flatten and soften. Topical creams with retinoids or silicone can also help reduce the appearance of scars.
An autologous fat transfer uses fat taken from another site on your own body and it is injected into your skin. The fat is placed beneath the surface of the skin to elevate depressed scars. This method is used to correct deep contour defects caused by scarring from nodulocystic acne. Because the fat may be reabsorbed into the skin over a period of months, there may be a need for the procedure to be repeated.
Punch grafts are small skin grafts used to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar, which is then replaced with unscarred skin (often from the back of the earlobe). Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars.
Dermabrasion may be used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars, and acne scars. As the name implies, dermabrasion involves removing the top layers of skin with an electrical machine that abrades the skin. As the skin heals from the procedure, the surface appears smoother and fresher. You will typically need 5 to 7 days at home to recover.
is a less invasive option typically performed in a series of treatments that do not require the same downtime.