5 Ways to Reduce the Appearance of Acne Scars

Acne is the skin condition that keeps on giving. Once an active breakout calms down, you may be left with pitting or dark marks that remind you of its presence. These scars can make you feel self-conscious and mar an otherwise smooth complexion.

Scars form when the pimples, blackheads, and cysts of acne damage the skin and prompt abnormal collagen production. Scars may appear as depressed – like craters or pits – or raised and firm.

You don’t have to live with acne scars or wait for them to possibly fade with time. Many treatments help reduce their appearance so you can enjoy a smoother, more even-toned complexion today.

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel involves applying a chemical solution to the skin, causing it to exfoliate and slough off. Different intensities of chemical peels are available, ranging from a superficial peel that addresses mild acne scar discoloration to a deep peel that can remove shallow acne scars. The peels promote cell turnover and remove old, dull skin to reveal a fresh, smoother complexion.

How quickly you heal from a chemical peel depends on the intensity of the treatment. Superficial peels take just 1-7 days to heal, while deep peels may require up to 21 days. Dr. Aguirre can help you understand which peel is the best approach for your particular skin type, scarring pattern, and aesthetic goals.


During microneedling, a device with many tiny needles is used on your face. You end up with hundreds of minute puncture wounds that don’t trigger scar production but do stimulate your skin’s natural wound-healing mechanisms. The small injuries encourage your body to produce more elastin and collagen, natural compounds in your skin that boost firmness and texture.

The healing helps reduce discoloration and the appearance of mild scars produced by acne. It also makes your skin temporarily more receptive to topical products, such as platelet-rich plasma or hydroquinone, that can also help improve the appearance of acne scarring.

Microneedling can also be used to deliver radiofrequency energy to stimulate the production of deeper collagen.

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers use natural compounds, such as hyaluronic acid, to fill in shallow depressions and hollowing spaces on your face. Certain depressed acne scars can be plumped with these injections. And by resolving the depressions, shadows that look dark on the skin also fade.

Fractional resurfacing

This type of resurfacing uses fractional laser energy to rejuvenate your skin and eliminate imperfections, including acne scars. The laser energy is delivered in micro-beams rather than as a wide sheath. This allows for columns of your skin to be left untreated, to aid in healing and reduce discomfort. You’ll experience some redness and minor swelling following laser treatment, which usually resolves in about five days.


A photofacial uses intense pulses of light to penetrate the surface of your skin and stimulate collagen production and proliferation of blood vessels beneath. The treatment can improve skin texture affected by mild acne scars and discoloration. It involves no downtime, making it convenient if you can’t take time to heal.

Photofacials work best on people with light-colored skin that’s not tanned. If you have heavy scarring, fractional resurfacing may be a better option.

Dr. Aguirre is happy to consult with you about which treatment is best for your particular skin type and severity of scarring. Call her office in Fullerton, California, or book online to set up an appointment.

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