Pimples, zits and the array of skin blemishes that acne causes are seriously skin disease that also causes scarring. Skin blemishes hurt when they are forming on your skin. They ruin your complexion and feel horrible once they surface. However, the acne havoc does not stop there. Acne treatment and prevention alone are highly popular for this reason, along with treatment of acne scars.

After blemishes run their course, they also usually leave you a little parting gift in the form of an acne scar. The discolored and sometimes recessive mark is proof of just how much acne causes to your skin and appearance. To better understand acne prevention and treatment of acne scars, we must first look at the underlying causes of why blemishes leave scars.


Put simply, it’s a myth that we get acne scars from popping and picking at the pimples. However, sometimes acne lesions are just prone to scarring whether or not you don’t even touch them. Acne scars are sometimes due to painful cystic lesions that don’t connect with your skin’s surface easily. The inflammation from the lesions gets trapped beneath skin.

Cystic pimples are inflammatory acne, which involves more white blood cells rushing to the area and because there are more enzymes in that area, it leads to more destruction. The skin then tries to desperately heal itself, which results in a scar. This type of acne requires treatment of acne scars with laser.

There is a major difference between acne blemishes and scars. If you have darker skin, you will often be inflicted with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation where the blemish spots turn darker. If you have lighter skin, you will often be inflicted with post-inflammatory erythema that appears as purple or red marks.

Before and After Acne Scar Treatment| Patient's Face Before and After Laser Treatment

Patient’s face shown before and after her laser treatment series for acne and scars with laser.*

Acne scars are deep indentations that are usually caused from picking at a blemish, though not always. These imperfections take much longer to remove and can only diminish with laser treatment of acne scars. Atrophic scars, commonly resulting in an “ice pick” scar, appear as deep indentations in the skin. On the other hand, hypertrophic scars appear as thick, raised bumps on the surface of skin.


There are three common methods using light energy to eradicate acne scars. Your specific course of action for treatment of acne scars depends on the severity of your acne, your goals and your skin tone.

They include:

  • Phototherapy
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and Levulan
  • Laser

Phototherapy is if you have moderate acne. It reduces acne lesions by 64 percent with the 405- to 420-nanometer wavelength and 76 percent with the 660-nanometer wavelength. Dr. Sanusi Umar offers photodynamic light therapy as a preferred acne treatment due to its efficacy, low side effects and simple treatment regimen. Weekly sessions over four to eight weeks are usually required. While it does not specifically treat acne scar, photodynamic light therapy prevents future breakout that contribute to scarring.

PDT is used with Levulan, a topical photosensitizer applied 30 to 45 minutes prior to each treatment. Sessions are either done at seven-day intervals four treatments or done each four weeks for a three to four treatment regimen. After PDT, sunburn-like effects are common and require patient downtime.

Dr. Umar also offers the Spectra VRMIII laser as his laser treatment of choice, which is perfect for the treatment of severe and cystic acne. Sessions are performed every two to four weeks for a three to four treatment regimen. To prevent reoccurrence, a six-month maintenance session is suggested.

For treatment of acne scars, two of Fraxel’s fractional lasers offer superior results. The Fraxel re:pair is an ablative C02 laser with dramatic results after just one treatment. However, since it vaporizes skin downtime can last for two weeks. It’s also only suitable on lighter skin tones. The resulting new skin from this Fraxel laser is ideal for treatment of acne scars since it fills in deep scar depressions.

Fraxel’s DUAL 1550/1927 is non-ablative treatment that induces collagen remodeling by aggravating the skin. The DUAL laser allows for two treatment options of the scars. It also offers dramatic results after one treatment. Downtime is usually under a week and it’s suitable for all skin tones.

Dr. Umar and FineTouch Dermatology have helped countless patients improve their skin and eradicate acne and acne scarring.