If you’ve suffered from acne in the past, acne scars can be a source of discomfort or shame. After all, once your active acne is behind you and your skin health is better, it can be difficult to feel good about your skin condition when acne scars serve as a reminder of a difficult time for your skin. Fortunately, the experts at Metro Dermatology in New York know all the best methods to get rid of acne scars, even stubborn or deep scars that haven’t responded to at-home products or treatments.
How Long Does It Take To Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Healing any type of scarring takes time and patience because your skin structure will need to be revitalized layer by layer. Various factors will determine how long it will take to get rid of acne scars, but you can generally expect it to take several months to see significant improvements in your appearance. Usually, you will need three to six consecutive treatments to greatly reduce the appearance of your scars.
What are Acne Scars
But first, what is an acne scar? Acne scars can take two forms, either atrophic or pigmented. In general, acne scars form when the skin heals incorrectly from an acne breakout. When the follicle wall of your pore is broken by inflammation, bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil, it’s possible the wall will not heal correctly. Most acne scars cannot heal themselves and will need aesthetic treatment to get rid of acne scars for good.
Some factors that will determine how many treatments you will need include:
The type of acne scar you have is a big factor in determining the number of treatments you will require. Pigmented scars typically rest on the upper layers of the skin, so post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may require fewer treatments than atrophic scarring. Atrophic scars include rolling scars, icepick scars, and boxcar scars. For atrophic scars, icepick scars are typically the most difficult to treat.
The location of your acne scar may also affect how long it will take to reduce the scarring. This is because the location of the scar may determine the depth of the scar, and deeper scars will typically require more treatments to achieve desired results. Scars on the cheeks may be more difficult to treat scars on the forehead.
The severity of your scar refers to the size, coloring, and depth of the scarring. Deep scars require more collagen restructuring, so it’s more likely you will need more than three treatments to achieve your desired results than a shallow scar. However, even shallow scars can be difficult to get rid of on certain areas of the face, so it’s important to select the right treatment method so you can get the results you want.
Many treatment methods are used to correct the appearance of acne scars and each treatment method has a different treatment timeline. Energy-based treatments will generally require three to six treatments spaced about a month apart, and you may not see results for about three to six months after your last treatment. Superficial treatments tend to produce faster results, so you may be able to reduce the appearance of scars within only a few months or weeks.
What Are Common Treatments To Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Some common treatments include CO2 lasers, Pico lasers, IPL treatments, chemical peels, microneedling, dermabrasion, and dermal fillers. We will help you select the treatment method that matches your skin type, scar type, and scar severity so you can quickly get rid of acne scars. Sometimes, the most effective treatments for acne scars are laser treatments.
Laser treatments work by resurfacing and restructuring the sub-dermal layers of the skin. Each treatment stimulates new collagen production, which then smooths the appearance of the skin. Other treatments, such as microneedling and chemical peels, work in a similar way. Treatments for pigmented scars, on the other hand, accelerate the cellular turnover cycle to improve the superficial layer of the skin.
Why Does It Take So Long for Scarring Treatments To Work?
The goal of most acne scar treatments is to increase collagen production within the skin to reduce the appearance of scars. However, rebuilding collagen in the skin will take several weeks or months to accomplish depending on the type and location of the scarring. The collagen maturation process can take up to four weeks after new collagen is produced. Your age and the severity of the scar will determine how much collagen needs to be built to improve the appearance of your skin.
Likewise, for the treatment of pigmented scars, the cellular turnover cycle naturally takes 28 to 40 days to complete. Skin resurfacing treatments speed up this process to turn over new skin cells, so it may only take a few weeks to lighten the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other blemishes.
Are There At-Home Treatments To Consider?
Yes, there may be at-home treatments that you can consider to smooth or lighten the appearance of acne scars. In fact, it’s not uncommon to combine different types of treatments to address different types of acne scarring. While some laser treatments may be able to correct atrophic and pigmented scars, if you are using another type of treatment or you need to treat a localized scar, using at-home treatments may make your aesthetic treatments more effective.
We can recommend products or a skincare routine that will help you manage your acne and reduce the appearance of pigmented scars between your acne scar treatments. Because everyone has different skin needs, creating a personalized treatment plan is the best way to ensure that you get the results you want from your treatment.
When Should You Use Dermal Fillers?
The use of dermal fillers for acne scars is an innovative technique that can be very helpful to treat localized or very deep acne scars. If you have scars that have not responded to laser treatments, such as icepick scars, you can use a dermal filler to smooth the appearance of the scar for several months at a time. However, the downside of a dermal filler is that the results will not last for as long as the results of an energy-based treatment.
When Are Chemical Peels Appropriate?
Chemical treatments, either peel at a medspa or as part of your at-home routine, can resurface your skin to erase or lighten the appearance of acne scars. However, these treatments are usually only used to address pigmented scars or very shallow atrophic scarring. Chemical peels and other facials can be a good option to maintain your results after successful laser treatments.
How Should You Maintain Treatments?
Regardless of the type of treatment you use, you will likely need to have maintenance appointments to achieve your desired results. Annual appointments will keep your collagen production high so your skin texture will remain smooth and even-toned. You can also maintain your results by making new skincare habits, such as treating your acne breakouts and limiting unprotected sun exposure.
Acne breakouts happen because of a combination of excess oil, dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria. By managing your acne breakouts and preventing new acne, you can also prevent new acne scarring. Similarly, by limiting unprotected sun exposure, you will avoid pigmentation concerns and keep the tone of your skin even between your appointments.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Treatments for acne scarring are versatile and highly customizable, so most people are good candidates for at least one treatment. Based on your skin tone, skin type, scar type, and scar severity, you can select the treatment that is most compatible with your needs. The best candidates are committed to managing new acne breakouts and are willing to keep up with a skincare routine that will maintain the results of the treatment. People of all ages may be qualified for this treatment.
Reduce Your Acne Scarring Today
It’s easier than you think to get rid of acne scars, particularly when you choose a treatment that is appropriate for your specific needs. Although acne scarring can be difficult to treat, there are multiple treatment options that can be part of your personalized treatment plan so you can improve the appearance of your skin with only a few treatments so you can refresh your skin quickly. Please contact Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, Flushing, and the Bronx, New York, and Englewood, NJ to schedule your consultation appointment today.