Acne can be highly embarrassing, regardless of your age. While it mostly affects teens, many adults also suffer from acne. Even worse, acne can leave scars behind that may seem permanent. No one wants to be left with these scars for the rest of their lives, which is why many people ask experts who focus on acne treatment in northern Colorado what they can do about these marks. Are acne scars permanent? The good news is that in most cases, no, they are not. There are a number of ways of treating acne scars and restoring your skin to its unblemished state.


Understand What Causes Acne


Acne is caused primarily by four different things: bacteria, inflammation, excess oil on the skin, and clogged hair follicles. When hair follicles are clogged up by excessive oils, bacteria, and debris, they can either bulge outward to create a whitehead or open up, creating a blackhead. Both are types of acne that can scar, especially if you pop the pimples. Popping or otherwise attempting to drain pimples on your own often makes the scarring worse because it increases the amount of damage done to the skin.


woman checking her face for acne in a mirror


Anyone can a clogged hair follicle like this, but there are some factors that can make acne worse. Hormone changes, including those changes that occur during puberty and during pregnancy, can increase the amount of oil your sebaceous glands produce. There are also some medications, including testosterone and corticosteroids, that can make the body produce more oil.


While you may not be able to control either of these issues, you can control two factors that also play a part in how bad your acne is: your diet and stress. A number of studies have shown that some foods, including those high in carbs, can make acne worse. These foods can vary from person to person, too. What foods cause a major breakout for you may not do anything to someone else. Being stressed out can also cause your acne to worsen, though it is important to note that stress by itself does not cause acne. It only makes it worse.


There are some myths about what causes acne, too. Despite what you may have heard, chocolate doesn’t affect acne. Wearing a lot of makeup also doesn’t have a large effect on acne, either, especially if you remove it at night and use cosmetics that are oil-free. Finally, dirty skin won’t cause your acne to get any worse. In fact, scrubbing and washing with certain soaps can actually make your acne worse.


Why Does Some Acne Scar?


When seeking acne treatment in northern Colorado, one of the questions many people have is why they have acne scars. Why do some acne sites scar while others do not? The difference is in how deep the acne has penetrated into the skin. Once the blockage has been cleared and the whitehead or blackhead is gone, the body begins repairing the damage. It does this by producing extra collagen. Unfortunately, sometimes the body produces either too much or too little collagen. When that occurs, the acne site scars.


acne scars on a woman's cheek


There are a few different ways that the site can scar. If there is not enough collagen there, the follicle won’t be able to fully heal up. The result is a scar that looks like a pit and is sometimes referred to as a rolling scar. On the other hand, if there’s more collagen than is necessary, the follicle will overflow, leading to a raised scar. Sometimes, even if you don’t pick at the acne, it can scar simply because the body doesn’t properly manage the collagen production. If you have several pimples, cysts, or other forms of acne near each other, their scars may merge into one single mark.


The Type of Acne Also Plays a Part in Scaring


Most people only have mild acne. This means you will occasionally get some blackheads or whiteheads, but it’s generally not a major issue until you have a poor diet and are stressed a lot. Washing your face to remove built-up oil and occasionally using over-the-counter products for acne treatment may be all you need.


Moderate acne, however, is more likely to scar. This type of acne is characterized by papules, or inflamed pimples, and pustules, which have a white center to them. If you have moderate acne, you will likely need to treat it. You may need prescription medication, too, especially if you tend to have bad breakouts.


The worst type of acne is severe acne. It is categorized by the appearance of nodules, cysts that are filled with pus and can be quite painful. These nodules remain under the skin. You will definitely want to seek treatment for this type of acne due to the pain. It is also the most likely to leave scars, so you may want to consider acne scar treatment options if you have severe acne.


Prevent Acne


What’s better than treating acne scars? Never getting them in the first place. The first step to dealing with acne is to understand what causes it and how you can prevent it. This allows you to at least reduce the amount of scarring present or prevent future scarring. While it may not be possible for you to eliminate all acne, you can at least know what is likely to lead to an outbreak.


The best way of preventing acne is to wear sunscreen and make use of other acne creams. You may even want to seek out a dermatologist or other professional to learn more about your particular acne and how it can be dealt with.


Treatment Options


There are a number of different ways to deal with acne scars. The right treatment for you depends on how deep your scars are and how old they are. Here are some of the options out there that may work for you.


Salicylic Acid


If you have used many different acne treatment products in the past, you recognize salicylic acid as one of the key ingredients. This acid can also help with scars. It reduces inflammation and can make the area around the scar look less red. Salicylic acid can help reduce the look of all types of acne scars, but it works best with newer scars or as a way of preventing scars. There are a few other at-home treatments, but remember that these options are typically not as effective as professional scar removal. In many cases, these treatments will not work at all. That is often the case if the scar was caused by medium or severe acne and is fairly deep.




woman receiving a dermabrasion procedure from a dermatologist to remove acne scars


Many people think of dermabrasion as polishing the skin. That’s because it uses a spinning disk or brush to remove acne scars. This disk helps to actually wear down your skin’s surface. The body then begins healing up this worn down layer, replacing the lost skin with a new layer that can cover or replace the removed scar tissue. This process works best for raised scars. It can take some time for the skin to fully heal, however, and it may not be as effective on deeper scars.


Chemical Peels


A chemical peel is like a wax for your skin. The area around the scar is coated with a special solution that is then peeled off. Again, this causes the skin to begin the healing process, replacing the lost skin with new, healthy layers. Chemical peels can be deep, medium, or mild. Typically, doctors do not recommend getting more than one deep peel due to the damage that could be done to the skin. However, you can have as many medium or mild peels as necessary. Deeper scars may not necessarily be erased through chemical peels, but they can be made less noticeable.


Corticosteroid Injections


Injecting a corticosteroid into the acne scar can help, but this treatment is generally only effective with raised scars. You will usually need several injections given a few weeks apart in order to achieve results. The worse the scar is, the more injections it may take before you see the results you want.




Microneedling uses very, very small needles to stimulate collagen production. It is useful in cases where scars were caused by the body producing too little collagen. These tiny needles are placed in the skin around the scar. According to one study, every patient in the study who had microneedling done saw at least some improvement in their acne scarring. That makes it one of the most effective options for acne scar removal, but you do need to be aware of the side effects. Some patients have some redness or inflammation around the areas where the needles were placed, though these side effects tend to vanish over time.


Laser Resurfacing


Laser resurfacing uses a special laser to remove the top layer of the skin on top of the scar. For raised scars, this can reduce the height of the bump. This process also affects the middle layer of the skin by making it tighter. That, in turn, also reduces how much of the scar is raised. Overall, your skin will look smoother. This process usually doesn’t take more than an hour, though it does depend on how many scars you have. Your skin will need some time to heal following a laser resurfacing treatment, but normally the healing process takes two weeks at most.


Fractional Laser Therapy


Another laser treatment option is fractional laser therapy. This is a deeper type of treatment, so it is often used when laser resurfacing has either failed or does not look like a good option. Fractional laser therapy actually doesn’t damage the upper layer of skin at all. Instead, it works on the deeper layers, removing the source of the scarring. This can leave you looking sunburnt for several days.


Dermal Fillers


Dermal fillers can be used to replace the body’s lack of collagen and fill in a pit scar. The filler is typically a collagen-based agent, though it can also be made from fat removed from your own body. Commercial fillers are also an option. You do typically need to do an allergy test first to make certain whatever filler is being used will not cause an adverse reaction. Once that is done, you can have the filler injected into your scars. Note, however, that this filler may break down over time. You may have to have regular injections to maintain your appearance.


Surgical Procedures


In worst-case scenarios, surgery may even be required to remove acne scars. This surgery is a subcision procedure, and it is normally only used for very deep scars that have resisted other forms of treatment. The surgeon cuts the fibers under the scar, which actually pushes it up towards the surface of the skin. This raises the pitted scar, making it look less noticeable.


Another surgical option involves removing raised scars. This can be risky because it will leave a scar where the acne mark was. However, these smaller scars typically do fade over time. Because these surgical procedures are more invasive than other options, you may want to try a different procedure first and leave surgery as a last resort.


Why Have Your Acne Scars Removed


Why should you have your acne scars removed? Many people seek to have their scars eliminated or at least reduced because they hate how they look. They want to have smooth, unblemished skin. This can be especially important for those who are on television or who often speak before large groups of people. Those in the modeling industry may also seek treatment for their acne scars.


before and after treatment of acne scars


For others, it’s simply a self-esteem issue. Your eyes may immediately focus on an acne scar every time you look in the mirror. Even if others tell you it’s not that bad, you may always be aware of the scar. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help in removing the scar. Why let yourself be affected by it when it can easily be removed? If you have acne scars you hate, don’t let them impact your life any longer. Seek out professional treatment to have them removed.


Schedule your appointment today.