There are several in office acne scar procedures that range in severity and price. From professionally administered laser to medi spa microdermabrasion or even cosmetic fillers, navigating the world of acne scar treatments can be tricky. That’s why I’ve made this little guide to help you through the tough decision of deciding what is best for you, your wallet, and your skin.
It’s important to remember that not all scarring is created equal! Sometimes simply being patient and waiting for your acne scars to heal is enough. That being said, most skin will take about a year to fully remodel. After that point in time, the scar tissue is fully formed and the scar becomes permanent.
It is much harder to treat older scarring with DIY recipes and OTC products, and you may find yourself going to more extreme measures (like chemical peels or laser) to get back that even toned glowing skin you once had. It is important to remember that you must fully tackle your acne before you can begin looking into treatments for acne scarring. If you’re prone to inflammatory acne and scarring, reducing your active acne is essential in order to limit continued scarring. If you’re still struggling with persistent acne check out this blog here about acne causing foods or this one about the top essential oils for acne.
Types of Acne Scars
Determining which type of scarring you have is crucial in determining which treatment will be the best for you.
There are four main types of scarring:
Boxcar: Round or square depressions with sharp edges
Icepick: Similar to puncture marks on the skin (often described as an open looking pore or if you were to prick your skin with an icepick)
Hypertrophic: Raised/textured scars that are firm to the touch
Rolling Scars: Wide and shallow indentations, round in appearance. (if you puff your cheeks out like a chipmunk and your scars disappear- they’re rolling)
Type of Scar Treatment
The following listed are treatments based on your specific type of scarring. Sometimes a combination of treatments is used to achieve desired results. “Suitable for” does not necessarily mean the treatments listed below only work for that specific type of scar listed, but that it is considered the most effective procedure to treat that scar.
Suitable for All Types of Scars
Lasers are effective at treating both discoloration and texture. It doesn’t just address the issue of acne scars, but also improves the overall appearance of wrinkles or sun damaged skin. Laser treatments range far and wide but some of the more popular options are fraxel laser, carbon dioxide laser, fractional laser, and pixilation. Lasers do require some down time, a few weeks to a month at the most, and typically result in temporary redness, bleeding and swelling.
Laser resurfacing has an average cost of about $1,500 per treatment. Price fluctuations may occur based on location or provider, multiple sessions are typically needed.
Suitable for Boxcar Scars or Singular Depressed Scars
Dermal fillers reduce the appearance of scars by lifting the scarred area temporarily with a filler or injection. The results typically last months to a year and do require frequent upkeep. Popular dermal fillers are Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane. Fillers are recommended for those who have boxcar or singular scarring because
One vial or Restylane or Juvederm costs about $550-$650, while Radiesse costs $750-$900. Multiple vials may be needed depending on severity of scarring and touch ups are typically needed every 6 months to 1 year to maintain results.
Suitable for Icepick or severe scars:
Punch excision is where the area of skin is removed using a small punch tool. This is generally paired with other types of scar removal processes like peels and laser. Punch excision is generally recommended as a good choice for getting rid of ice pick scars, or other scars which are deep and narrow. Some down time is required with punch excision.
Punch excision can be pricey, ranging at $250 to $1000 per scar.
Medi Spa Treatments: Suitable for Shallow Scarring and Hypertrophic Scars
Microdermabrasion is recommended for evening out skin tone and texture as well as treating hyperpigmentation and minor acne scarring. Microdermabrasion is not an effective treatment for deeper acne scars or wrinkles. When a microdermabrasion machine is used, tiny crystals are sprayed onto the skin to remove the outer layer. It is generally only considered safe for those with fair skin, darker skin tones undergoing microdermabrasion can result in scarring and discoloration.
The average treatment cost for microdermabrasion is in-between $75 and $200 dollars per session, with multiple sessions needed to see results. You can also buy your own microdermabrasion machine to use at home, like the PMD for $159.
Micro needling, also known as collagen induction therapy, uses hundreds of tiny needles that leave invisible puncture wounds on the top layer of the skin. This stimulates the body’s natural wound healing process to produce collagen which can help with fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and uneven tone or texture. It also reduces the appearance of pores and helps your products to absorb better.
The average cost of a micro needling session is between $100 and $700 per session, with 4 to 6 sessions typically being needed to achieve maximum results. Face treatments usually are around $300. Good news is that you can also micro needle at home! With the Banish Acne Scars Banish Kit or Collagen Booster Kit, you can achieve the same great results at home for a fraction of the price ($75 and $95)