Acne Scarring: Treatment and Prevention

There’s more to fighting acne than just stopping breakouts. Once you’ve gotten the pimples, cysts and inflammation under control, you see what’s left behind—and it’s often not pretty. Acne scarring can take many forms, from red spots and dark marks to uneven skin texture and pitting.

Acne and Scarring

Acne results from inflamed skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. When the pore swells, it breaks the follicle wall. Scarring forms as the skin heals; new tissues are not as smooth as the surrounding skin and have a red or brown pigmentation. This scarring can last far longer than any breakout.

Acne scars can include:

Atrophic scars 

Flat, shallow depressions that heal below the top layer of skin usually caused by cystic acne. Atrophic scars include broad, sharp-edged boxcar scars, deep narrow indentions called ice pick scars and rolling scars that cause an uneven or wavy appearance to the skin.

Hypertrophic scars

Raised lumps of scar tissue that build up from previous acne breakouts.

Keloid scars

Scars appear larger than the original acne breakouts and go beyond the borders of the original spot.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Darker red or brown discolored patches of skin. This type of hyperpigmentation may resolve itself over time if you protect the area from sun exposure. Hyperpigmentation is caused by severe acne, or if acne is picked or squeezed.

Treating Acne Scars

IPL: The Ultimate Light Therapy

IPL uses light energy to target acne and acne scarring. The energy penetrates the surface of the skin to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Many patients see results immediately after treatment. Optimal results may take three to five treatments.

Halo™ Laser Treatment

Halo™ hybrid fractional laser is one of the most effective treatments for dark spots, including acne scars. The treatment delivers ablative and non-ablative wavelengths to microscopic areas of the skin. A week after treatment, patients notice improved tone and fading spots. Final results appear in six to eight weeks. Halo™ can be repeated as necessary to maintain or boost your results.

BroadBand Light (BBL)™ Treatment

BBL™ uses short bursts of high-intensity light to target and destroy darker pigment particles in cells beneath the skin's surface. Once skin has healed, the treated dark spots will not reappear.


Microdermabrasion can improve the appearance of acne and the scars left by acne. Microdermabrasion uses a stream of particles to exfoliate the surface of the skin. Dark spots near the surface are improved. Microdermabrasion triggers cell growth in the deeper layers of skin. New layers of unscarred skin come to the surface.

Subcision with PRP

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a newer option for acne scar management and can be used with other acne scar treatments. The PRP encourages the growth of new cells and tissue that can help heal, “fill” and even out acne scars.

PRP improves results offered by subcision treatment for depressed acne scarring. Subcision, or subcutaneous incisionless surgery is a minor surgical procedure for treating depressed scars using a tri-beveled hypodermic needle. The needle is inserted through a puncture in the skin’s surface, and its sharp edges sever tissues that bind skin to the layers beneath. Skin is freed and has a more even texture.

Microneedling with and without PRP

We can perform microneedling with or without platelet-rich plasma. While microneedling alone is a very effective way to treat a wide variety of skin issues, studies have shown that using PRP adds significant improvement. Platelet-rich plasma therapy combined with microneedling improves large pores, acne scars and fine lines.

MicroLaser Peels

The MicroLaserPeel precisely burns away the outermost layers of the skin. Scarring is improved as the marked top layers of skin peel away.

Power Peels

Chemical peels use acid solutions to exfoliate the outer layers of skin gently. Your skin type, specific issues and goals will determine which type of peel will be the most effective.

Dark Spot Removal Creams

Topical treatments can be effective in treating dark spots caused by acne scarring.


Preventing Acne Scars

If you know your skin is prone to acne scarring, the best thing you can do is work to prevent more scars as time goes on.

  • Prevent breakouts with medication or facial treatments.
  • Don’t pick at breakouts; it can spread infection and increase the risk of scarring.
  • Quickly decrease inflammation. Use topical spot sulfur treatments or anti-inflammatories.
  • Use extra sunscreen when you're breaking out. Dark spots caused by acne scarring may get darker with sun exposure.

Schedule your consultation with the expert team at Harmony Healing. We’ll help you erase the scars that acne leaves behind so that you can look forward to a brighter future!