What is an acne scar?
Acne scars are typically the result of acne blemishes becoming inflamed. It happens when the acne pore swells. Afterward, the wall of the pore begins to break down. Depending on the acne blemishes, some are small ones that leave shallow scars which then heals fast.
In some instances, the blemishes’ contents can spill into the surrounding tissue. This causes severe scarring. The skin responds by generating new collagen fibers to mend the scar.
What are the different types of acne scars?
The four different types of acne scars are:
Icepick acne scars
The shaft of an ice pick tool is broad and narrows as it approaches the tip. Similar to the tool, icepick acne scars have a large opening at the top that narrows to a point as it penetrates further into the skin. This type of scar is prevalent. Additionally, it’s amongst the most difficult to heal. Moreover, icepick acne scars are usually found on the upper cheeks and forehead.
Rolling acne scars
Rolling acne scars can usually be seen on the jaw and lower cheeks, where the skin is thicker. In general, the skin will appear wavy and uneven. This is due to the sloping edges of the indents.
Boxcar acne scars
Indents with sharper edges are known as boxcar acne scars. The edges pierce deep into the skin. This type of scar is typically found on the jaw and lower cheeks.
Hypertrophic acne scars
Hypertrophic acne scars appear as scar tissue lesions that protrude from the skin. They are a result of fibrous tissue overgrowth in the area where the acne lesion is formed. These scars can be painful, sensitive, or itchy. In addition, they are generally seen on the jawline, shoulders, back, and chest.
What causes acne scarring?
Scars develop as your body attempts to heal the acne. The amount of scarring you get depends on how your body reacts to a wound. Collagen is produced as part of the healing process. Raised scars form when there is too much collagen. Other types of scarring are produced by tissue loss. This results in indentations or pits in the skin.
Why early intervention is important
The more you wait to treat your acne, the more probable it is that scarring may develop. Your scars are influenced by your own DNA. How well your skin heals is determined by your genes. Moreover, the depth of the acne lesions and the quantity of collagen produced determines the scars’ severity.
However, other factors such as picking and squeezing the acne as well as smoking can exacerbate scarring. Thus, early intervention is recommended to prevent more acne scars from forming.
What’s the secret to getting rid of acne scars?
Blemishes, Pigmentation, and Red Acne Scars
After acne has subsided, a common consequence is to see a red or brown spot, mark or blemish left behind. This is caused by the inflammation and tissue damage done during the formation of acne.
To effectively remove them, a combination of lightening agents and laser treatments can gradually lighten and improve these acne scars with no downtime. Both the Q-switch and V-beam lasers are effective in treatment brown and red marks respectively, and our doctors can employ both of these lasers as part of a holistic treatment plan.
Rolling Acne Scars
This type of scar develops as undulations in that skin that resemble rolling hills, and hence its name. For milder cases of acne, there is a better chance of the skin healing well. However, acne that recurs in the same spots can cause shallow pits to form in the skin.
To treat this type of acne scar, collagen production is induced to develop fresh collagen under the epidermis layer. This will help thicken the skin and fill in skin imperfections, which results in a smoother skin surface.
The Edge Fractional CO2 laser can break down the scar fibres to improve the appearance of depressed scars. At the same time, it can help to shrink the pore size and promote collagen regeneration for healthier-looking skin. Both the Infini, Secret RF and Fraxel lasers are also popular and effective methods for rolling acne scar treatment in Singapore.
Boxcar and Ice Pick Acne Scars
While boxcar scars resemble craters with almost vertical walls, ice pick scars appear much narrower and deeper. Ice pick scars are known for being the hardest acne scar type to treat since they often develop deep within the skin.
Mostly caused by severe nodular and cystic acne, these types of scars can be improved using more potent treatments like Infini Fractional Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment, Secret RF, Fraxel Dual Laser, Pico MLA laser or Edge Fractional CO2 Laser which deliver faster results.
Call us today at (65) 6532 2400 to book an appointment on any of our cosmetic services and treatments.
Infini Fractional RF Treatment
This minimally invasive treatment works best to address very deep acne scars. Utilising patented microneedles which are pressed against your skin, it delivers precise RF energy up to 3.5mm deep below the surface of the skin. As a result, it helps to stimulate collagen production and the skin’s natural healing process for effective results.
The treatment also has the additional benefit of providing a lift to the face and reducing the appearance of wrinkles with minimal downtime and risk of side effects. Overall, INFINI is a skin rejuvenation procedure that brings significant improvements and durable results.
Fraxel Dual Laser
What makes the Fraxel Dual Laser stand out as an acne scar treatment is that it features two wavelengths (1550nm and 1927nm) which effectively resurfaces scarred skin through a partially ablative skin resurfacing technique. In turn, this minimises downtime and provides maximal results.
Edge Fractional CO2 Laser
The gold standard for improving skin texture, ageing skin, acne scars and fine lines and wrinkles, the Edge Fractional CO2 laser is also ideal for depressed acne scars with a depth of 1.5mm in the skin. Using laser beams delivered with extreme precision to target spots, the skin’s collagen production process is triggered to accelerate healing and provide an improvement to the appearance of acne marks.
Overall, the skin will boast a fairer and smoother look, combined with tighter skin that looks more young and radiant. Our clinic uses the latest generation of the laser – Edge Pulse to greatly reduce the downtime and side effects, all while keeping it at a reasonable cost.
PICO + HEXA MLA Laser
PICO MLA Laser is an effective treatment for enlarged pores, acne scar removal and skin rejuvenation. As one of the latest technological advancements in skin laser equipment – HEXA MLA (Microlens Array Technology) is an advanced extension of the PICO Laser that allows for more delicate and precise treatments.
How does it work? When combined, the PICO laser and HEXA MLA provide higher peak power that is delivered at extremely fast speeds and ultra-short pulse durations for better and faster acne scar removal!
The handpiece comes with a wide range of spot sizes (3 – 10mm), allowing our doctors to more accurately target and treat enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, and acne scars. Unlike other more aggressive lasers, PICO MLA does not breach the superficial skin – minimizing the occurrence of micro-injuries to the skin’s surface and promoting better healing times.
Available at The Clifford Clinic, our Picosecond lasers can distribute energy at a staggering rate (one billionth of a second). The shorter bursts of energy disrupt the pigment-containing cells within the skin, resulting in the successful fading and clearing of the affected area.
Employing controlled, fractional RF energy with the aid of minimally-invasive microneedles, Secret RF helps to tackle acne concerns and the first signs of ageing. By improving the skin’s overall texture, you can expect this treatment to not just get rid of acne scars, but also bring your skin back to its youthful and radiant state.
Designed to promote tissue coagulation and hemostasis, Secret RF transmits controlled heat to specific areas of the skin. This process then triggers collagen and elastin remodelling – two important ingredients for youthful-looking skin.
Using the finest and most precise gold-coated microneedles, our doctors will deliver heat energy at various depths (reaching up to 3.5mm) into the skin to stimulate a tissue tightening effect almost immediately, effectively lifting small areas of saggy skin on the jowls, double chin and even the undereye area!
Unlike other lasers, Secret RF works to restructure and rebuild the affected areas that are damaged by ageing and acne scarring. This is a great treatment for those who wish to achieve minimal side effects and maximal results that last. Our doctors have found this to be one of the best acne treatments in Singapore for deep and depressed acne scars to its tightening effect – giving us absolute confidence in the results.
For filling depressions associated with acne scars, dermal fillers provide equally great results as a possible solution. Essentially, dermal fillers are small injections of gel that mimics what is naturally found under the skin and are administered to fill in wrinkles and add volume to soft tissue.
Experts say that at around age 25, collagen and elasticity levels tend to decline at a rate of about 2% per year – making this treatment ever more valuable to those who desire smooth, younger-looking skin.
Our Ellansé filler is a popular choice that involves a non-invasive and quick procedure providing instant results. Unlike others in the market, Ellansé fillers work differently by stimulating collagen to fix the problems from the source.
Dermal fillers are typically injected in small amounts to reduce the appearance of certain types of scars – particularly rolling scars and less defined boxcar scars, all while improving the texture of your skin. Over time, the body absorbs the gel, which is why you will continue to see improvements in your skin’s appearance weeks and even months into the treatment.
Each injection has to be performed by a meticulous and experienced doctor in order to minimize any pain and maximise its natural-looking effects that can last up to 4 years. For synergistic effects, our doctors like to combine the use of dermal fillers with manual techniques like subcision.
TCA Cross is the chemical reconstruction of skin scars (CROSS) with the use of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) at high concentrations to stimulate the formation of collagen fibres to raise the scar.
For patients who were unable to achieve satisfactory results with other laser treatments, TCA Cross has been successful in delivering optimal outcomes. This is because not all lasers can penetrate beyond a certain depth in the skin. In this case, TCA Cross is the most preferred acne scar treatment for tackling deep acne scars and enlarged pores – particularly ice-pick scars that are known to be notoriously hard to treat and get rid of.
A strong dosage of TCA is deposited onto the surface of the deep pitted scars, thus causing a local inflammatory reaction. In this process, the new formation of collagen fibres helps to raise the scar – which increases dermal volume and encourages the restructure of the skin’s dermal elements. Depending on the individual’s skin condition, most patients report a 1 to 2-grade improvement in their acne scars over a short 6-month period.
While it might look painful, it is a safe and painless treatment that give results for those who weren’t able to get satisfactory results from CO2 laser treatments alone. At The Clifford Clinic, our doctors perform TCA Cross with other treatment modalities for a more extensive acne scar removal procedure.
Deep Chemical Peels
Deep chemical peels using the TCA Cross technique is a more potent but effective method for treating acne marks. The scar tissue is removed, leaving behind granulation tissue which helps remodel acne scars.
For very deep acne scars, subcision can be used to break down the scars and add in fillers for an immediate lifting effect. During the procedure, a fine needle is injected under the scar to break up the tight collagen bands underneath the skin. This triggers the healing phase and activates collagen growth and repair, which leads to a progressive improvement of the scar over time. Subcision should be used selectively – it is only suitable for certain patients and depends on their skin condition.
With so many acne scar removal options with different pros and cons, it is best to consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis of your skin before starting treatment. If you’re thinking about how to get rid of your acne scars once and for all, book a consultation with our doctors and embark on your journey for smoother skin today!
Our Certified Acne Scar Doctors
Dr. Gerard Ee
MBBS (UK), MRCS (EDINBURGH), DP DERMATOLOGY (CARDIFF)
Dr. Gerard Ee is the founder and medical director of The Clifford Clinic. He is fully accredited in cosmetic treatments including fillers, Botox, light therapies, and more. Driven by his passion for sharing his expertise across the medical community, Dr. Ee has accumulated his surgical experiences internationally from working in the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, National University Hospital (NUH), and Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
Dr. Chow Yuen Ho
Dr. Chow Yuen Ho is the founder and medical director of The Clifford Clinic. With over 10 years of clinical practice experience, the reputable aesthetic doctor specializes in non-invasive aesthetic and acne treatments. Dr. Chow has accomplished so much in this field. He served as the founding Director of Medical Informatics at SGH and then as the Managing Director of the Asian division of Alert Life Sciences Computing.
Having acne scars and marks can take a huge toll on one’s self-esteem and also be exceptionally stressful to deal with on your own. The majority of people with acne marks will notice that they do not have just one type of acne scar. Trying to resolve acne scars by yourself can sometimes backfire and worsen scarring, which is why it is important to consult a doctor who can recommend the best solutions. Our doctors have assembled probably the largest collection of acne scar treatment devices in Singapore. Each different device offers different effects on different types of acne scars so that we can effectively cure even the most stubborn acne scarring where patients have failed with over-the-counter creams and medications.
Depending on the type of scars you have, these are the recommended solutions:
|Pigmented scars and blemishes||Rolling, boxcar and ice-pick scars|
|– Q Switch Laser|
– V Beam Laser
– Chemical Peels
|– Edge Fractional CO2 Laser|
– Pico MLA Laser
– Infini and Secret RF
– Fraxel Dual Laser
– Chemical Peels (for very shallow scars)
You will usually undergo a combination of treatments as multiple types of acne scars typically occur together. Should you be dealing with active acne, we recommend treating it first with our acne spot treatment. Our doctors will assess your condition during the consultation and recommend a customised treatment plan for you.
This is highly dependent on the treatment as well as your current skin condition and body’s natural healing abilities. In general, patients with more severe acne scarring will require more treatment sessions and time to see their scars clear up.
Simply drop us a call at (65) 6532 2400 to book an appointment or learn more about our treatment cost.
From over twenty years of experience in treating acne scars, our doctors have managed to build a protocol that combines our various treatments into a comprehensive treatment plan that leverages the advantages of each. Our doctors are also constantly researching new and more effective ways of delivering you great results in the area of acne scar treatments and acne scar resurfacing, so you know you are in great hands!
Depending on the treatment, surface scars can be entirely removed. Deeper acne scars can become less apparent over time.
The treatment costs vary depending on the patient. The intensity and type of scars can have an impact on the treatment’s final cost. Acne scar treatments typically start from $150 on average.
Yes. It is more expensive to remove deep acne scars as they typically require laser treatments. These treatments are relatively more costly than other acne scar treatments.
The acne scar treatments at The Clifford Clinic are suited for all types of acne scars. This includes icepick acne scars, rolling acne scars, boxcar acne scars, and hypertrophic acne scars. Depending on your situation, our highly certified and experienced doctors will employ a combination of fillers and lasers to obtain the best results for an enhanced appearance.
This depends on the type of acne scar treatment you undergo. One session can last between 15 minutes to 2 hours.
One of the most effective treatments for acne scars is laser treatment. It removes damaged tissue and helps your body substitute it with new skin cells.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for acne scars. There are a few factors that you will have to consider, such as the type of scar, the degree of the scarring, and your skin type. One or a combination of treatments may help you enhance the look of your skin.
There are two ways that laser treatment for acne scars works.
The laser’s heat works to eliminate the top layer of your skin. This is where the scar has developed. As the top layer of your scar peels away, your skin becomes smoother. The scar also becomes less visible.
Alternatively, the laser’s heat and light foster the growth of new, healthy skin cells. This occurs as the scar tissue breaks away. The laser’s heat then draws blood into the region. Blood vessels in the scar are then targeted. In turn, this reduces inflammation.
Depending on the location, the cost for an acne scar laser treatment in Singapore begins at $350 on average.
The Clifford Clinic does not treat your acne scars with only one form of acne scar treatment. We recognize that each patient’s scar type and skin condition are unique. Therefore, we utilize a mix of fillers and lasers to produce the best results possible. In addition, our doctors are equipped with the necessary expertise and resources to treat all forms of acne scars effectively.