Will Weight Loss Make my Indented Acne Scars Look Worse?

I am 34, 5'2" & currently weigh 154 lbs. I have moderate acne scarring on my face - currently trying V-Beam/Smoothbeam treatments to help minimize my scars. Not looking for a miracle - just actual improvement. I want to lose 15lbs. But I'm terrified it's going to make my scars look worse. A derm last year told me losing 16 lbs. might have helped my scars look worse & steadily since then I've gained that 16 lbs back. I didn't notice if it was the weight loss, just thought it was getting older.

Doctor Answers 8

Weight loss makes acne scars look worse.

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Weight loss makes acne scars look worse. As the underlying tissue beneath the skin reduces in mass the skin hangs down and creates more shadows making many scars more noticeable.

Chicago Dermatologist

Weight loss and Acne Scars

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Thanks for the question.

It is conceivable that with significant weight loss you will see associated facial devolumization ( fat loss) which could contribute to worsening appearance of deep acne scars. I would recommend maintaining a weight near your ideal BMI.


Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S. 

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Can Losing Weight Make My Scars Look Worse?

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Hi Karyn.  If the weight you lose causes your face to lose a lot of volume, then it's possible your indented acne scars might look worse.

As an aside, for indented acne scars, we would not suggest pulsed dye laser (V-Beam) treatments to help.  That laser is great for red acne scars but there are much better lasers for indented scars including traditional CO2 and Erbium as well as newer fractional laser resurfacing treatments.  Good luck.

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

Fat loss in the face can make acne scars look worse.

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Fat loss in the face can make acne scars look worse, but extra fat on the body is not attractive either. It is better to try to achieve your ideal body weight and then address the acne scars. if needed, you can even have fat injected into the face to plump it up.

William P. Coleman III, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Facial acne scarring

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It is entirely possible that losing weight in your face can make depressed or atrophic (sunken) acne scarring appear worse due to the loss of fullness in your face which can distend the acne scars to some extent. I would encourage you to get to the weight you are comfortable with and then you can consider fat injections or fillers to your face and resurfacing for your acne scarring.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Age and sun destroy the collagen

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It is certainly true that lipoatrophy (loss of facial fat) worsens the appearance of dermal scars since the skin loses its subcutaneous fat support of the dermis where the acne scars are located. You are correct, however, that photoaging destroys the dermal collagen even more and that is the more significant impact. Weight loss to get to your healthier body weight has many health benefits, so lose the weight. I would then consider more aggressive scar correction with Fraxel Restore or Active/Deep FX fractional CO2 resurfacing, and perhaps dermal scar correction with fillers.

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

Acne scars

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this is a difficult outcome to predict.  I have indeed seen women/men over 50, for instance, tend to appear older if the lose significant weight.  Facial volume is a marker of youth.  I have not seen acne scars appear worse after weight loss.  It is unlikely that you will lose 15 lbs overnight.  You can keep close observation of the acne scars as you gradually lose the weight.  If you do not like the outcome, you can maintain your current weight.  Like everything else in life, you must weigh the positives versus the negatives.  And, in general, it is better for appearance and overall health to be relatively thin.  Good luck! 

Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Fat is nature's clooagen

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If you get thinner, it is possible that the natural plumping of the facial fat may disappear making the contour irregularities more noticeable.

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.