Acne Scars Laser and Treatment

Acne scars; just when you think you can put your past struggle with those bright red, prominent blemishes behind you, they never fail to disappear without leaving behind permanent scarring to serve as a constant reminder of those times. There are many different types of acne scar treatments available, but first, let’s find out why acne scars form.

Why Do Acne Scars Form?

Acne lesions are inflamed blemishes due to skin pores blocked with excess sebum, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria. This causes the pore to swell, breaking the follicle wall and causing a rupture. Shallow lesions heal more quickly, but deep lesions can discharge infected substances into the surrounding epidermal layer, causing much destruction to the nearby healthy skin tissues. In order to heal the damage, the skin forms new collagen fibres, which usually result in a rougher surface. As such, the greater the inflammation of the lesion, the higher the chances of acne scarring.

Is It Really an Acne Scar?

After a pimple has healed, sometimes, what is left behind is a dark-pigmented patch. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Acne-related inflammation usually causes an increase in melanin synthesis in the affected area of the skin. PIH will usually lighten on its own with time (weeks to months) or can improve with pigmentation treatment methods, including the Q-Switch Laser technology. True acne scars, on the other hand, are depressed scarring that develops and won’t go away on its own.

What Are the Types of Acne Scars?

There are many types of acne scars. However, they are typically categorised into two main categories – atrophic acne scars and hypertrophic acne scars.

Atrophic Acne Scars

These are referred to as depressed scarring; these acne scars arise due to loss of skin tissue.

Here are a few examples:

Ice Pick Acne Scars

These deep and extremely narrow scars extend into the dermis layer of the skin, making it look like a sharp object has poked it.

Boxcar Acne Scars

These acne scars have the appearance of wide dents with steeply angled sides that resemble pits.

Rolling Acne Scars

These have wave-like depressions that appear on the skin and look like multiple hills.

Hypertrophic Acne Scars

This condition is also known as raised scarring or keloid scarring, wherein excessive scar tissue is produced, causing bumps on the skin.

What Are the Treatment Methods for Acne Scars?

There are numerous acne scar treatment options in Singapore, each of which focuses on a specific type of acne scar.

1) Q-switch ND Yag Laser (pigment laser)

It targets the melanin in the skin and breaks it down, lightening the pigmented area. Hence, this is typically used for PIH marks instead of acne scars.

2) Fractional CO2 Laser (acne scar laser treatment)

This treatment penetrates the skin deeply by using a CO2 laser beam that has been pixelated into tiny light shafts. The skin will then undergo acne scar remodelling to replace the damaged skin, using tissues from the surrounding healthy skin. At the same time, the body will regenerate collagen beneath the surface of the skin to heal the ablated areas. This skin rejuvenation process will take over a duration of weeks to months, resulting in skin that looks smoother and tighter. You might experience a slight tingling sensation and mild redness right after the treatment. Following this, scabbing may develop after two or three days. This scabbing usually peels off in five to seven days, revealing new skin, or “Fresh Skin Under the Shell” as the Chinese refer to it. A majority of acne scars, notably boxcar acne scars, are typically treated using this treatment method.

3) Infini / INTRAcel Fractional Radiofrequency (RF) Micro-Needling

Infini and INTRAcel are two commonly used RF micro-needling treatments in Singapore. Micro-needling involves the use of multiple tiny needles to puncture the dermis. The micro-needles on the devices are insulated except at the end of the tips, which emits RF energy, preventing damage to the surrounding skin while targeting the acne scars directly. These micro-wounds damage scar tissues and boost collagen production of the skin, allowing the skin to heal and fill up depressed acne scar areas, giving an additional benefit of skin lifting. Redness and swelling are commonly observed post-treatment (within two to three days) and are normal responses. The micro-needling treatment method is usually the preferred choice for rolling scars. Rolling scars give the skin a rough and uneven texture giving the appearance of saggy skin.

These acne scar treatment methods are especially favoured by individuals who cannot afford a downtime of up to a week for recovery. They are also known as the weekend treatment’; patients usually come in on fridays after work for the acne scar treatment and find that the redness has mostly dissipated by the following monday. However, do note that this response varies between individuals.

Some improvements in the acne scar can be seen immediately after the treatment; this is usually due to slight oedema (swelling) of the superficial skin surface. Visible results may take up to three months to be seen, as the body requires time to create new collagen tissue for the treated acne scars.

4) TCA Chemical Peel (CROSS technique)

The CROSS (Chemical Reconstruction of Skin Scars) technique uses TriChloroacetic Acid (TCA) to conduct a medium-to-deep chemical peel, causing a local inflammatory reaction that promotes collagen synthesis to heal deep atrophic acne scars. Slight redness and peeling of the skin can be expected a few days after the treatment. As TCA CROSS treatment is a specialised focal technique, it can be used to target individual deep acne scars by causing scar tissue remodelling. Therefore, this treatment is suitable for ice pick or deep boxcar scars.

5) Subcision

This acne scar treatment is used to break down acne scar tissues that are tethered down within the skin layer with the use of a needle. This releases elastin fibres and stimulates collagen growth, thereby improving the appearance of depressed acne scars. Temporary bruising and needle marks may be seen at the end of the treatment. This treatment is typically used for depressed acne scars.

6) Acne Scar Filler

Hyaluronic acid is usually used to fill up depressed acne scars for a quick fix. This is necessary to fill up the volume loss of the skin due to acne scars and blend them in with your normal skin. It is appropriate for all skin types and tones and has one of the shortest downtimes. Therefore, quick results can be expected with this procedure, especially for depressed acne scars.

The filler is injected directly into the acne scar. This method is similar to subcision, and the injection technique somewhat replicates its effect. Depending on the number and depth of acne scars present, one may typically need 1-2 cc of fillers to heal the acne scars.

7) Steroid Injection

Acne may result in thickened, keloidal scars. This acne scar treatment is typically used for raised acne scars to break down excess scar tissues, resulting in a smoother surface. One to four sessions may be required every three to four weeks.

What is the Ideal Acne Scar Treatment Method for Me?

The appropriate acne scar treatment needs to be carefully considered and is usually done with a selected combination of the acne scar treatments mentioned above. This is because each treatment targets a different type of acne scar. Consult a certified medical practitioner to obtain a targeted acne scar removal method in Singapore which is best suited for your skin.

Is One Session of Acne Scar Treatment Sufficient?

It is usually recommended to carry out at least five to seven sessions of acne scar treatments to get better results and smoother skin.

What Are the Post Care Tips I Should Take Note of After Having Acne Scar Treatments?

It is important for you to follow good post-care practice and lower the likelihood of any unfavourable complications because a majority of acne scar treatments may cause surface skin damage during the resurfacing process.

During the first-week post treatment:

  1. Use a gentle cleanser free from microbeads, salicylic or glycolic acid to prevent damaging sensitive skin.
  2. Apply a thin layer of the prescribed antibiotic cream over the treated area to reduce the injection effect.
  3. Apply the Quick Recovery Cream (hydrating cream) to soothe the treated area and provide the required nutrients for skin repair.
  4. Always finish with a layer of sunblock (SPF 50 and above) to protect the skin in the morning.

It is very important for you to avoid prolonged sun exposure, to prevent permanent skin discolouration.

Will My Skin Ever Be Completely Smooth?

Your skin condition will most definitely improve, but there might be some minor visible blemishes.

How Do I Achieve Maximum Results for Acne Scar Treatments?

Usually, you will be able to observe a 5–10% improvement after just one session of acne scar therapy. However, this may vary from individual to individual. As a result, around five to seven sessions of acne scar therapy are typically required to get the best results. It’s crucial that you apply the right acne scar treatment for each specific type of acne scar.

Lastly, there will be a gradual improvement of the skin’s appearance over two to three months after each acne scar treatment; hence time also plays a significant factor.

Get in Touch

Do you need to learn more about acne and how to reduce these unsightly scars with our treatments? Get in touch with Lux Medical Aesthetic Clinic at +65 68159922. Alternatively, you can also reach us by SMS/WhatsApp at +65 88669922  or feel free to email us at consult@luxaestheticclinic.com.

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