What Treatments Do You Recommend for Atrophic Acne Scarring?

I have several areas on the cheeks and temples with pink to brown atrophic acne scarring. Lasers: The risks, and the recovery time associated with them are scary. Dermabrasion: Painful. In addition, I have extremely fair, sensitive skin to the point where even retinoids irritate it. Could I see gradual improvement (over months) using a combination of mild chemical peels and microdermabrasion? I also looked at Fraxel non-ablative but the results seem questionable to me. Any other options?

Doctor Answers 3

Fraxel or fractional CO2 is the best treatment

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Fraxel or fractional CO2 is the best treatment for acne scars. Acne scars are very deep so the other procedures you mentioned will only work if you scars are very superficial.  Fraxel or any brand name of fractional CO2 laser would be my recommendation.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Acne scar treatment

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Acne scars come in many shapes and sizes.  Very deep acne scars are best treated with subcision or excision.  Smaller, less deep acne scars often respond to laser treatment.  Lasers that have proven to be helpful range from those with a short downtime, to more aggressive procedures that may take weeks to recuperate from.  These include:  Smoothbeam, Fraxel, Fractionated Erbium (Pixel), Fractionated CO2, and even combo Fractionated and full CO2 resurfacing.  Find a dermatology office in your area that has expertise in various lasers and have a consult with the physician.  Do not expect 100% improvement.  With acne scarring, this is almost impossible to achieve.  With many of these procedures, multiple treatments are necessary.  Weigh cost, down time, discomfort and expected improvements, and be prepared to wear a hat and sunscreen outside for the foreseeable future.

Hope that helps.

Madeline Krauss, M.D.

Madeline Krauss, MD
Boston Dermatologic Surgeon

Subcision is often the best treatment for atrophic facial scars

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Subcision is often the best treatment for atrophic facial scars. This can often be followed with fractional laser resurfacing for best results.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.