Acne Scars in Orange County

Diagram and examples of acne scars

Acne scars are a common long-term side effect of chronic uncontrolled acne. Scarring results from the destruction of skin tissue from acne infection. Acne scars are always red in the beginning and eventually fade to a normal or near-normal skin color. Fractional Lasers such as Fraxel, Pico laser, Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, ActiveFX CO2 laser, Genius RF microneedling device and chemical peels are used to lessen the appearance of scars by smoothing the skin.

Some other lasers such as the VBeam can reduce initial redness, as well as the risk of scarring in active acne and inflamed lesions. Patients who want a faster one-time improvement may choose a fully ablative laser such as the Sciton ProFractional erbium laser or ActiveFX CO2, though this does involve a period of downtime and healing. In some instances, fillers are used to lift the “scar floor” making the scars temporarily less visible. Genius RF microneedling is preferred in darker skin types due to less risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation. Any and all of these treatments help minimize the psychological effects of living with acne scars. If you have active acne in Orange County, a control program is extremely important in preventing scarring or preventing the worsening of scars already present.

As both a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Sikorski has the skills and technology available to help patients restore their skin to its most improvable appearance.

Acne Scar “Types” and Treatments to Reduce Scarring

Real Natural Image OC patient.

Red flat “scars”

Red flat “scars” are the result of capillary expansion following any inflamed acne – Treated with VBeam Laser.

Deep rolling or “boxcar” scars

Resulting from cystic acne – Treated with multiple procedures including punch excision, subcision and ActiveFX CO2 laser or Sciton ProFractional erbium laser for full skin resurfacing. Genius RF microneedling is also used, as is the Enlighten Pico laser.

Shallow saucer scars

Shallow saucer scars are the result of tissue destruction which is followed by inflammation and infection. These scars can be treated with DeepFX CO2 laser, Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, Fraxel laser, Enlighten Pico laser, Genius RF microneedling and regular microneedling. 

Raised Keloid scars

Raised firm scars, called raised keloid scars, are occasional responses to acne. Treated with cortisone and 5-FU  injections to the scars. Fractional laser ablation with the Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, DeepFX CO2 with laser assisted medication to the scar may be an option if there are multiple raised scars.

Deep Pit Icepick scars

Icepick scars are the result of deeply embedded cystic acne and can be treated with punch excision, subcision, and spot chemical peels with TCA Cross.

Shallow Pit Icepick Scars

These scars are lesser versions of all the above – Treated with subcision, Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, DeepFX CO2, Enlighten Pico laser, Fraxel laser, and spot chemical peels like the TCA Cross peel.

Enlarged Pores

– Generally treated with chemical peels, PhotoDynamic Therapy, or fractional lasers, such as Fraxel, which helps shrink the oil gland and create a surface peel. Enlighten Pico laser, Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, DeepFX CO2, and Genius RF microneedling can also help with pore size.

Why do I get Acne Scars?

Some of the milder forms of acne don’t result in a scar, but cystic acne will almost always create some type of permanent scar. The infection caused by acne causes inflammation on the affected area that literally kills skin cells and supports tissues destroying that area of the skin. Therefore, acne scarring is the result of tissue destruction on the area affected by acne. It is a cruel reminder of a cruel disease.

Red marks

left behind after acne lesions have healed are not really scars at all, but small broken capillaries caused by acne inflammation. Redness can last 6 months or longer if untreated, but eventually fades to normal. At Natural Image OC, we can use the VBeam Perfecta laser for a quick redness and scar reduction.

Some patients who suffer from acne experience brown marks following acne. In this case, Dr. Sikorski may treat you with repair creams and treatments to reduce this post acne inflammation pigmentation. 

Can Laser Treatments Remove My Scars?

First and foremost, nothing will completely clear up acne scars and that is very important for patients to understand. We can provide improvement with laser treatments and minor surgical procedures such as subcision, but to date, there is not a complete remedy for acne scarring. The most realistic treatment goal is to gain visible improvement, accomplished with lasers such as the Sciton ProFractional erbium laser, which smooths down the area surrounding the depression and helps build up the “shallow” scars by new collagen production so the scars blend better into the surrounding skin. Genius RF microneedling, and the DeepFX CO2 and Fraxel lasers improve acne scar and are especially beneficial in darker skin types to reduce the risk of pigmentation or skin darkening.

What Other Treatments will Help My Scars?

There are several alternatives for more minimal or temporary improvement. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels or Cosmelan, and dermal fillers such as JUVÉDERM® Injectable Gel can be used as well to help to reduce scar appearance.

What is Subcision?

Subcision is performed with a special needle that separates the base of the scar from fibrous “roots” that exaggerate the scar’s appearance. In some patients, subcision is used to free the scar tissue so it is not pulled inward. This allows the tissue to rise closer to the level of undamaged skin. Although subcision is technically a surgical procedure, in some instances it is an effective choice and is quite simple.

Scar Prevention

Preventing acne scars is a primary goal of early acne control, and the sooner you effectively treat and control your acne, the less risk you have of scarring. Early intervention and medication is recommended.

If you suffer from severe acne, the potential for acne scarring is almost a certainty. You may be a candidate for (Accutane (Isotretinoin) if you suffer from Severe and Resistant Acne and Cystic Acne. Dr. Sikorski will assess your acne severity and if deemed necessary and other treatments have failed, may recommend this powerful acne treatment. (The use of this medication requires strict adherence to the FDA-required (I Pledge Program). Photodynamic Therapy is also available for treatment of severe acne, as are the newer 1726 nm wavelength laser that targets subcutaneous glands.

Related Acne Links

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • DeepFX CO2
  • Sciton ProFractional Erbium Laser for Skin Resurfacing
  • Medications for post-acne brown marks
  • PhotoDynamic Therapy
  • Fraxel Laser
  • Genius RF microneedling
  • Ellacor micro-coring
  • TCA Cross spot chemical peel
  • Subcision
  • OmniLux Blue Light
  • AcneNet (Online Acne Resource of the AAD)

Talk With Us About Treating Acne Scars in Orange County

You’ll enjoy a relaxing visit to our office where you can ask questions, meet our staff, take a tour of our office and surgical suite and view additional photo results of our patients.

Your acne scar consultation assessment is with a Natural Image OC provider. Fees and procedure preparations are discussed with our patient care coordinator, who will detail the experience with you.

We look forward to meeting with you and helping you find the simplest solution to achieve the goals you desire. Contact us for more information on acne scars or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sikorski.