Getting rid of your acne can be a great burden lifted off your shoulders (not to mention off your face, neck and back!). However, if your severe acne has left permanent acne scars, you might feel just as distressed as you did before. The worst forms of acne; often pus-filled cystic acne, can cause serious acne scarring.

Most Common Acne Scar

The most common type of acne scar is often referred to as an “ice-pick” scar. This is because ice-pick scars are small indentations (often in the cheeks) with jagged edges and steep sides – similar to the marks made by an ice pick.


The best way to avoid acne scarring is to be proactive.

  • You should deal with your severe acne as soon as possible by consulting a dermatologist or medical spa professional when large acne nodules are forming.
  • You should also devise an acne treatment plan that is recommended based on your skin tone and skin type.


Early, minor scarring can be treated by using a product like Retin-A, which can help speed up your skin’s healing process by generating new skin cells while sloughing off dead cells.¬†Even staying out of the sun can help your acne scarring healing process.

For more permanent scarring, however, a non-surgical cosmetic might be in order. The best skin care treatments for acne scar removal include Microdermabrasion, Fractional Skin Resurfacing, Dermal Fillers, and Chemical Peels.

Chemical Peels

Chemical Peels are an effective treatment for acne scarring. Chemical peels work as a deep exfoliation; by removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, often improving its appearance. Chemical Peeling is one of the modern methods used in the treatment of acne scars and blemishes. Here are three of the most effective chemical peels for acne scarring:

  • Glycolic Acid Peels: This is a mild peel which removes just the outer skin layer. It may not be too effective for deep rooted scars. But consistent usage over a period of time can show a good reduction of the scars. Glycolic acid peels come in various concentrations or strengths varying from 10% to 70%. This type of peel is also effective against fine lines.
  • TCA Peels: TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) is a medium level peel. It can reduce pigmentation and mild wrinkles. It consists of strong acid that burns the outer surface of the skin it comes in contact with. Hence, it has to be used by a certified dermatologist. It is not recommended for home use. It results in severe irritation of the skin on applying. This treatment can help remove deep rooted acne scars. However, multiple treatments might be needed to have the scars removed completely.
  • Phenolic Peels: Phenolic peels are the strongest of the peels. It is toxic and hence not the one recommended for the treatment of acne scars as of today. However, it can be used effectively for treating wrinkles and heavy skin pigmentation. Anesthesia might be used during the treatment. Skin irritation and pain is normally observed during the administration of Phenolic peels.
Chemical Peel Treatment Precaution: The skin has to be clean and oil free before getting a chemical peel. It is good to wash the face a few times with a mild oil removing soap.

The treatment process involves the application of a chemical solution on the affected area of the skin. After leaving the solution in the skin for a while, the outer layers of the skin blisters up and can either flake off or can be helped by washing off with a soap solution. The old outer layers of the skin are removed in the process exposing the inner skin layers. A new layer of skin grows back on top of the peeled off skin.

If the scars are not deep, the new skin grows back clear. But if the scars happen to be deep spanning several layers of skin, repeated periodic administering of the peel would be recommended to get rid of the scar permanently.

After the peel, the new layer of skin that appears is very sensitive to UV light. Hence, sun exposure should be avoided for a few days if possible. If not, a sun screen lotion should be used.

Most acne scar treatments can be completed in about 30 minutes. Chemical peels and take a bit longer because of their application, and dermal fillers usually require 15 minutes.

All acne scar treatments require multiple treatments, but once they are completed, the results are considered permanent. However, there is a catch. If you’re still dealing with active acne or your acne is not under control, future breakouts can still cause scarring. This is precisely why getting your acne under control is vital to maintaining smooth, blemish-free skin.