How can I get rid of the acne scars left from popping pimples? (Photo)

I used to pop pimples every time I saw them for a year straight now I'm left with chaos on my face.

Doctor Answers 8

Treatment for Acne and Acne Scars

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On the single photo it looks like there is still active acne present.  It is usually best to get any active acne under control before doing any treatments for acne scarring.  I would recommend that you make an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss treatment options for your acne first.  Once the acne is under better control, you could look into treatment options for any residual acne scars.

Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Scars from popping pimples

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I would recommend that you see a board certified dermatologist.  First you need to have your acne under control and I would suggest Accutane.  The redness can be fixed with the V-Beam laser and the scars will need many sessions of lasers such as Fraxel or eMatrix but you need to wait at least 6 months or more depending on the laser for such treatment.  Please consult a specialist.  Best, Dr. Green

Treat acne first

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There appears to be active cystic acne which may require cis retinoid acid or accutane for treatment .This will clear up the acne and calm down the redness. at that point the actual scarring will less evident and can be dressed.

Morris Westfried, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


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Fraxel is a laser skin rejuvenation treatment that resurfaces your outer skin, erasing imperfections. It also encourages the production of collagen, a protein found in connective tissue.The result is clearly visible lines, folds and wrinkles. Fraxel laser skin rejuvenation is a non-invasive technique that affects only about 20 percent of the facial skin exposed to it. The most common side effects of Fraxel laser treatment are swelling and skin redness, which should subside within a couple of days. Other temporary side effects may include minor itching, dry skin, peeling or flaking, and a bronzed skin appearance. The risk of infection or scarring is very limited. You should stay out of the sun 2-4 weeks.

Elliot M. Heller, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Acne Scars

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Based on your photos, you have a combination of active acne and different types of acne scars.  The first step I would recommend for you is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist to address the acne. For the scars, you will like benefit from a series of fractional laser resurfacing treatments.  There are several other treatments available, such as microneedling, TCA Cross, chemical peels, and PRP; and often acne scars require a combination approach.

Sejal Shah, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


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It is really good you are asking this question.  Acne treatment is all over the place.  It is difficult to find something simple that works for everyone.  Sometimes the solution is simple and other times it is complex.
Having said that, I recommend you get a consultation with a physician and get started on a skin care regimen. You need to be supervised until the active acne is gone. Yes, I said gone. Skin care, topical antibacterials, vitamin A derivatives, oral antibiotics, lasers, peels, and finally if appropriate accutane. I have not listed all the medications because there are too many.  A good physician would be able to guide you through the maze. As a physician you do not know exactly what will work.  You need to have a base level of skin care and try different things until you find something that gets rid of the acne.

George Orloff, MD, FACS
Burbank Plastic Surgeon

Acne scars

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Acne scarring can be dealt with multiple types of treatments. If there is still a small amount of acne occurring, I recommend doing salicylic acid peels or TCA peels. If there is a lot of acne occurring, then there are oral antibiotics, topical treatments, and even accutane. 

For the scarring part, you can do chemical peels, micropen and FRAXEL treatments. For staining of the skin (redness or hyperpigmentation), there are topical products that can be used. 

Some of the above treatments can help even with the "pock marks" but sometimes you have to fill those areas with HA fillers or Bellafill. 

Anita Arora Gill, MD
The Woodlands Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Control of acne, steroid injections to cysts, revise scars.

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For the best results, one should target the acne scar type with ideal treatments. For example deep ice pick scars, and narrow box car scars can be treated with TCA CROSS peels, mixed scars, rolling, and atrophic scars treated with fractional devices such as Fraxel, fractional lasers, and INFINI radiofrequency. Atrophic scars (depressions) can be treated with either fat grafts, or with HA dermal fillers. Tethered and anchored scars are best treated with surgery.

The majority of patients will have a collection of different scar types, and hence a tailored treatment METHOD will be best. Careful examination, especially under angled lighting with scar mapping will give you an understanding of what are the best options for your scars. In your case control of your acne is the first step. It looks like you can also benefit from a few injections to some cysts. Once this is under control, we can take steps forward to treat the residual scars. 

All the best,
Dr Davin Lim
Laser, surgical & aesthetic dermatologist
Brisbane, Australia

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.