Four Cosmetic Dermatology Options That Minimize The Appearance Of Acne Scars

Health & Medical Blog

Acne scars can serve as long-lasting reminders of the unsightly breakouts from years past. Fortunately, people with varying levels of acne scars can minimize the appearance of these scars in a multitude of ways. Here are four of the most common acne scar treatment options. 


Microdermabrasion is one of the least invasive ways to minimize the appearance of acne scars. Microdermabrasion is the removal of the top layer of skin with rough, crystal-tipped suction. Essentially, it is a very heavy duty exfoliation. Immediate effects of microdermabrasion include improved complexion and smoother, clearer skin, and the long-term effects include stimulated skin cell growth and improved skin health. 

Microdermabrasion is an out-patient procedure, and patients experience very little, if any, pain. Patients that undergo a microdermabrasion regimen must schedule regular appointments, however, ranging from every few weeks to every few months.


Dermabrasion is more invasive than microdermabrasion, so patients usually have light anesthesia during the procedure. It is still an out-procedure. Like microdermabrasion, dermabrasion removes the top layer of skin; however, a rough slough or diamond wand is used instead of crystal suction. 

The side effects of dermabrasion include red and swollen skin, but the worst of these symptoms fade over the course of the next week or two. Patients often experience a pink "flush" for several months while the healthy outer skin layers grows back. 

Chemical Peel

Unlike microdermabrasion and dermabrasion methods, a chemical peel reduces acne scars with a chemical solution instead of vigorous physical exfoliation. A chemical peel is a relatively painless out-patient procedure that improves the outer layer of skin and, with deeper treatments, the mid-layer of skin. 

Mild chemical peels that address the top layer will cause redness and possible scaling for a few days. More intense chemical peels will cause peeling and sensitivity that can last as long as three weeks. The long-term effects of a chemical peel, especially the deeper peels, can be quite dramatic and long-lasting; many patients prefer the longer recovery time over continuous treatments and lesser effects. 

Focal Acne Scar Treatment

One of the most permanent and most effective ways to treat acne scars is with laser technology. There are numerous laser techniques, but for acne scar treatment, two of the most effective methods are fractional laser treatment and focal acne scar treatment.

Fractional Laser: This method has the fewest side effects, but is also the least effective laser technique. The fractional laser targets specific acne scars and, aside from redness, causes very few side effects.

Focal Acne Scar Treatment: Called focal acne scar treatment, or FAST, this technique is a swift out-patient procedure. A topical cream numbs the skin, and then a carbon dioxide laser spot-fixes deep-set acne scars. 

Final Thoughts

A cosmetic dermatologist, like those at Advanced Dermatology Care, can analyze existing acne scars and recommend what treatments will work best to minimize the appearance of acne scars. Different techniques will benefit different patients. For example, microdermabrasion might be the most suitable option for a person wishing to improve overall skin condition and minimize the appearance of mild acne scars a few weeks before a friend's wedding. A chemical peel might be preferable for someone wishing to make more dramatic improvements over the winter months, when sun exposure is minimal. 


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