Can Weight Gain Stretch Facial Acne Scars?

I had a some very minor acne scars on my cheeks. You really couldnt tell. Within 2 years, I gained and then lost around 50lbs. The past few months my scars have gotten a lot worse. They are spreading terribly and it seems I have more than I thought I did. I havent changed anything in my skin care regimen, so I have no idea what is going on. I thought that maybe the weight gain made the scars stretch, and when I lost the weight it made them more noticeable. Its driving me crazy and Im puzzled!

Doctor Answers 3

Weight gain can affect appearance of skin irregularities

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Although it is unlikely that weight changes affect the acne scar itself, weight changes affect the volume of fat below the surface of the skin in the facial tissues.  Loss of volume in the face can accentuate surface irregularities such as acne scars, making them appear worse.  Volume restoration in these areas with fat, fillers, or volumizing agents such as Sculptra or Radiesse can mitigate the appearance of the scarring.  Fractionated laser resurfacing may be considered as an alternative therapy--realizing that the appearance of these scars is the result of a combination of surface changes and volume dispersion underneath the skin.

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon

Can Weight Gain or Loss Affect Acne Scars?

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Hi Hollie.  While the weight gain or loss should not affect the acne scars themselves, the weight may affect the amount of fatty tissue (thickness) in the skin on your face.  This in turn, may make the scars more visible.

If your acne scars are bothering you, consider the following options.

  • Traditional CO2 or Erbium Laser resurfacing
  • Fractional CO2 or Erbium Laser Resurfacing
  • Punch Excision
  • Subcision
  • Dermabrasion

All of these procedures carry different risks and benefits so make sure to attend several consultations to get an understanding of what they will mean to you.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fat loss in face can worsen scars

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It often depends on your age. If you lose the weight when you are under 30, the elasticity of the skin is still good so the skin will spring back. As we age, loss of fat exaggerates the aging collagen and elastin, making scars look worse. But don't get too upset. With safe and durable fillers, and lasers like the Fraxel and Encore (to list just a couple) you can dramatically improve those scars.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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.