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An all-too-common nightmare for almost all, acne scars haunt us even long after the nasty zit has subsided — from pitted scars and rosy erythema to stubborn patches of pigmentation and more.

Here’s where we start feeling uber-grateful for the slew of safe and effective acne scar treatments and acne scar removal methods available to us.

If you’re yearning to bid farewell to unsightly acne scars that really put a damper on moods, read on as we unveil types of acne scars, recommended strategies, prevention methods, and the best acne scar treatments in Singapore.

What Are Acne Scars?

Acne scars form when acne breakouts damage the skin’s collagen production, leading to indented or raised marks in the healing process. Picking at pimples can worsen this and increase the chance of noticeable scars, especially for deeper cystic acne.

Types of Acne Scars

types of acne scars, how to remove acne scars

Credit: Become Aesthetics Clinic

  • Ice Pick Scars: Deep and narrow scars that resemble small, deep holes in the skin.
  • Boxcar Scars: Broad depressions with sharply defined edges that give the skin a box-like appearance.
  • Rolling Scars: Characterised by wave-like or undulating depressions on the skin.
  • Hypertrophic Scars: Raised and firm scars that develop when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process.
  • Keloid Scars: Similar to hypertrophic scars but extending beyond the original acne site. Keloid scars can be larger and more noticeable.

The Difference Between Acne Scars and Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Most of us often confuse acne scarring with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) as both conditions can result from acne and may coexist in some cases.

Acne scars may appear as indentations, raised areas, or changes in skin texture, while PIH presents as patches or dark spots.

PIH is simply a form of skin pigmentation, like sun damage, and occurs as a result of trauma to the skin. It’s a temporary darkening of the skin due to increased melanin production.

Since it doesn’t damage the follicle, it isn’t considered a form of scarring and can fade over time, especially with proper skincare and topical treatments.

On the other hand, acne scarring involves permanent changes to the skin’s structure, from shape and depth to texture. Hence, treatments with advanced dermatological procedures are usually required.

To avoid confusion and ensure proper diagnosis and treatment, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars

Getting rid of acne scars can be a gradual process, and the effectiveness of treatments may vary depending on the type and severity of the scars.

The earlier you address your acne scars the better, as it’s much more challenging to treat old scars!

Topical Treatments for Acne Scar Removal

The most common way we’d treat our acne scars is with our skincare. Though not the fastest method available, some can be very efficient in achieving a clear, scar-free complexion over time and with a fixed skincare regimen.

Retinoids, one of the most popular products there is, can promote collagen production and help improve skin texture. You can even request prescription options if the ones you find on shelves aren’t suitable.

Another ingredient used to deal with acne scars is vitamin C, which can help brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots.

There are also chemical peels and alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), which can help exfoliate the skin, promote the removal of dead skin cells, and improve the skin texture.

Dermatological Procedures for Acne Scar Removal

While some over-the-counter products may help with acne scar removal, complete removal is often challenging.

If you have congested or acne-prone skin, an extraction facial can be a great way to help clear up your skin, improve overall skin health, and prevent future breakouts too! However, extraction facials won’t be able to help with acne scarring.

Here’s where dermatological procedures for acne scar removal come in!

  • Microneedling: This procedure involves using tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin, stimulating collagen production and improving the appearance of scars.
  • Microdermabrasion: A non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a handheld device that emits tiny crystals or a diamond-tipped wand to exfoliate the outer layer of the skin. It’s more effective for superficial scars and works to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.
  • Laser Therapy: Concentrated beams of light energy are delivered to targeted areas of the skin. The heat generated by the laser stimulates collagen regeneration to smooth out certain types of acne scars.
  • Fractional Laser Therapy: Other lasers are designed for skin resurfacing to remove the outer layer of damaged skin to reveal healthier skin underneath. This encourages faster healing and collagen remodelling.
  • Vascular Laser Therapy: These lasers target blood vessels to reduce redness and inflammation associated with hypertrophic or keloid scars, promoting a more even skin tone.
  • Hyaluronic Acid Fillers: Injecting dermal fillers into certain types of scars can help raise depressed areas and create a smoother skin surface.
  • Intralesional Injections: Corticosteroids can be injected into hypertrophic or keloid scars to reduce inflammation and flatten the scar.
  • Punch Excision or Punch Grafting: This surgical procedure involves removing individual scars and either stitching the wound closed or grafting new skin onto the area.

Best Acne Scar Treatments in Singapore

Now that you know more about acne scars and the types of treatments that can aid in restoring your skin to its former glory, it’s time to check out the acne scar treatments available in Singapore.

Do take note that individual responses to treatments vary — what works for one person may not be as effective for the other — so be sure to consult professionals.

Also, remember that results may take time and multiple treatments may be needed for significant improvement, so be patient!

Acne Scar Treatment FAQs

How Much Do Acne Scar Treatments Cost in Singapore?

acne scar treatment singapore, acne scar removal, how to remove acne scars

Credit: V Medical Aesthetics & Laser Clinic

The cost of acne scar treatments can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of treatment, the severity of the scars, the clinic or dermatologist you choose, and the number of sessions required.

For instance, chemical peels can go from S$150 to S$500 per session while laser therapies are priced from S$800 to S$2,500 per session. Meanwhile, microneedling can range from S$300 to S$800 per session and dermal fillers can cost you from S$500 to S$2,000 per syringe.

It’s important to note that these are approximate costs, and the actual cost for your specific case can vary especially if multiple sessions are required. Additionally, some clinics may offer discounted trial prices or package deals for multiple sessions.

During your consultation with a dermatologist, skincare professional, or the clinic, make sure to inquire about potential additional costs too such as consultation fees or recommended post-treatment skincare products.

How to Prevent Acne Scarring

Of course, early treatment of acne lesions can minimise the risk of scarring, but it’s always the better choice (and the best one) to prevent acne scarring before it gets out of hand!

This involves managing and treating your acne effectively to minimise inflammation and reduce risk of permanent skin damage.

  • Avoid picking: First, and the most important tip of all, avoid picking or squeezing your zits. We know it may be tough to resist the temptation, but picking at acne lesions can lead to increased inflammation and scarring. Instead, allow the acne to heal naturally or with the help of prescribed treatments.
  • Sun protection: Always use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sun exposure can worsen hyperpigmentation and make scars more noticeable.
  • Gentle skincare routine: Use mild, non-comedogenic cleansers and skincare products to avoid irritation and clogged pores. Avoid harsh scrubbing, as it can exacerbate inflammation!
  • Use topical retinoids: These can help prevent clogged pores, reduce inflammation, and promote skin renewal which may minimise the risk of scarring.
  • Avoid harsh ingredients: Be cautious with skincare products containing harsh ingredients, as they can irritate the skin and worsen acne. Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are effective for acne treatment but should be used in moderation.
  • Hydration and nutrition: Stay well-hydrated, as proper hydration supports overall skin health. Maintain a balanced diet with vitamins and nutrients that promote skin healing, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
  • Regular dermatologist check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with a dermatologist to monitor your skin and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

Feature image credit: Caring Skin, Edwin Lim Medical Aesthetic Clinic