Acne Scarring

Do your scars or acne scarring prevent you from enjoying the simple things in life?

Acne scarring or scars can impact on your self-esteem and can keep you from getting out there and enjoying life.

Acne, cuts, scrapes, stretching of the skin, burns or any kind of skin injury can leave permanent scars on your skin. Occasionally these scars can become raised, lumpy and discoloured and these are known as hypertrophic scars, or in the worst case scenario, keloid scars which contain thick fibrous tissues that spread above and around the injury area.

Unsightly and disfiguring scars usually occur on the back, arms, upper hands and chest but even mild scarring on the face can cause social embarrassment and have a negative impact on one’s self-esteem.

Abnormal collagen production during the healing process is a major cause of acne scarring and it can be difficult to treat, but the presence of acne scars can be infinitely improved with specific cosmetic treatments.

You don’t have to live with scarring or acne scars let us help you to regain your confidence and alleviate the emotional and psychological effects that acne scars can often leave you with.

Frequently Asked Questions

More information on Acne Scarring

Why choose Cosmetic Image Clinics for your Acne Scarring treatment?

Cosmetic Image Clinics is owned and operated by former AMA Qld President and TV Medical Journalist Dr Ingrid Tall who has over twenty years of experience in the cosmetic medicine industry. Our clinic is medically supervised and if experience, credibility and a ‘natural look’ is what you are looking for, then make Queensland’s largest cosmetic clinic, Cosmetic Image Clinics your preferred provider.

What are the various methods for treating scarring including Acne Scarring?

Acne scars and scars can be treated by the following various methods:

Topical Application: Creams that contain Retinoids can be applied on the affected area which can increase new cell turnover. Silicone sheeting or gels can also be used which is placed over the scar helping to retain moisture and aiding in the healing of damaged tissues.

By Injections: Steroid injections can also be used to help reduce swelling and assisting in shrinkage of the scar tissue. Results are often seen within two weeks and multiple injections of corticosteroid are usually required.

By Surgery: The last option to treat keloid scar tissue is through surgery. Silicone sheeting and pressure is often applied after surgery to minimise the risk of regrowth of the scar tissue.

By strong chemical peels known as the Cross Technique: The application of very strong chemical peels such as high concentration Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Peels result in significant cell renewal which can be very helpful in the treatment of acne scars. This is sometimes used in dermatological offices in preferences to expensive laser treatments. Numerous treatments are required and results can take up to a year to finally appear.

Click here to read more about Chemical Peels.

Watch this video to see Dr Tall explain the use of cross technique for the treatment of acne scarring:

By Platelet Rich Plasma injections: This method can stimulate the growth of healthy tissue which can minimise scarring. Numerous treatments are required.

Click here to read more about Platelet Rich Plasma injections.

By Dermal Rollering often known as ‘micro needling’, ‘skin needling’ or ‘CIT’ using the Dermapen:  This method builds up the connective tissue in the lower skin layers (dermal layers) and promotes healthy tissue growth by the use of fine pins or needles.

Click here to read more about Dermal Rollering.

By cosmetic injection therapy: This is the latest development in the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scarring as pioneered by plastic surgeon from Singapore Dr Woffles Wu.  Regular injections for scarring are now available at Cosmetic Image Clinics.

By Fractional Resurfacing ‘Fractora™’: The pitted forms of acne scars respond best to fractional resurfacing whereas the shallow, gently sloping ‘valley’ scars respond less well. Please note that if you have taken Roaccutane for acne you must wait for at least 6 months after finishing Roaccutane before having any resurfacing treatments for acne scarring.

Click here to read more about Fractional Resurfacing ‘Fractora™’ Skin Rejuvenation.

By Laser Microdermabrasion: With no downtime this laser treatment can exfoliate the skin, assisting in treating acne and acne scarring, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, exfoliation of the skin, pigmentation, sun damaged skin, enlarged pores, black and white heads.

Click here to read more about Laser Microdermabrasion.


What causes Acne and what are the different types of scarring?

Acne is a skin condition characterised by areas of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, greasy skin, and there is the possibility of scarring.

While acne mostly affects teenagers, it can affect adults till their late 30’s. It is estimated that 80% of cases are related to genetics. However, smoking can intensify the risk of developing acne and exacerbates its severity.

Acne is caused by a combination of genetic, hormonal and local factors acting on the sebaceous glands of the skin causing acne. Sebaceous glands are the oil-producing glands of the skin and they are most numerous on the face.

In the development of acne four major changes occur in these glands to produce the lesions commonly referred to as “pimples”:

1. Skin cells block the openings of the glands at the skin surface (the pores).

2. There is an increased production of oil by the sebaceous glands.  This is related to the sharp increase in androgen (male) hormone production which occurs at puberty and during adolescence.  (Small amounts of androgen are normally produced in females as well).

3.  Bacteria, which normally live in the sebaceous glands, begin to multiply when the glands become blocked and distended with material.

4. The multiplication of these bacteria and the attraction to the glands of white cells from the blood then produce the inflammation which we recognise as red acne lesions or “blind pimples”.  Some of these will in turn develop into pustular lesions.

Despite popular opinion acne is not often related to dietary factors such as eating chocolates and sweets, nor is it a result of unclean skin, although recent evidence suggests diet does play a mild role.

Acne, cuts, scrapes, stretching of the skin, burns or any kind of skin injury can leave permanent scars on your skin. Occasionally these scars can become raised, lumpy and discoloured and these are known as hypertrophic scars, or in the worst case scenario, keloid scars which contain thick fibrous tissues that spread above and around the injury area.

Hereditary factors are implicated in the formation of hypertrophic and keloid scarring. Generally, people who have darker skin tones such as Afro-Americans and Asians and who have higher amounts of melanin are more vulnerable to the formation of hypertrophic scars and keloids.

Keloids and hypertrophic scars have a raised appearance and are of irregular shapes. Itching and pain are commonly experienced symptoms as the scars develop. These scars can develop after surgery or even after a simple insect bite. They can even develop even after a few months of an injury.

What can aggravate acne?

Many moisturisers:
Most moisturisers contain oils or similar occlusive agents which can block pores and cause acne. The skin of most acne sufferers already contains enough oil, so a moisturiser is rarely necessary. If you believe that you do need a moisturiser, choose one that is oil-free.

  • Oil-based Cosmetics (foundations, powder compacts, oily cleansers etc.)
  • Sunscreen Creams (choose a sunscreen milk, lotion or gel instead)
  • Some oral contraceptive pills or injectable contraceptive agents

Squeezing spreads the inflammation deeper into the skin and can lead to scarring. Do not pick or squeeze.

Stress and Sleep Disturbance:
These probably act via hormone release.

Poor and Unbalanced Diets:
Our diet has a huge effect on the flora of the gut which is needed to break down certain chemical components that are used in different systems in the body.

How do you treat acne?

General Treatment

Skin Care:

  • Do not wash your face excessively
  • Wash your face only once daily with a gentle cleanser or a mild soap
  • Use only a non-oily cleanser to remove make-up at the end of the day
  • Do not use antiseptics
  • Do not pick or squeeze

Avoid all oil-based cosmetics. These include oil-containing moisturisers, night creams, collagen and elastin creams, oil-based foundations and powder compacts.

Use only water-based, oil-free foundations. Do not rely solely on the salesperson’s verbal advice.  Check that the cosmetics you are buying are labelled either “water-based” or “100 % oil-free”.

Some oral contraceptive pills and injectable contraceptive agents can help control acne by reducing the production of oil by the sebaceous glands.

Use only alcohol-based lotions, milks or gels. Avoid sunscreen creams which are greasy and block the pores.

Sun Exposure:
The effect of sunlight on acne is variable.  Some people improve but this effect is not consistent.  If sun exposure is planned an appropriate sunscreen should be worn.

Eat a well-balanced diet.

Adequate and restful sleep is recommended.

Medical Treatment:

Topical Therapy Options include:

  • Tretinoin Lotion
  • Glycolic Acid or salicylic acid lotions such as Obagi Exfoderm or Synergie Exfol.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Antibiotic Lotions

Glycolic and salicylic acid preparations are very popular.  They work by loosening the skin cells that block the openings of the pores.  In this way the pores can drain normally and not form whiteheads and blackheads that are the precursors of the inflamed acne lesions we call ‘pimples’.

Oral Antibiotics:
If indicated, these should be taken for at least three to six months.  Oral antibiotics work best when used in conjunction with topical treatments.  However, when given for prolonged periods oral antibiotics can trigger intestinal yeast infections or vaginal ‘thrush’.  If this occurs, appropriate treatment can be added.  Tetracycline based antibiotics must not be taken during pregnancy.

If there is a suggestion that the acne may be due to hormonal imbalance then an anti-androgen hormone, or a higher oestrogen containing oral contraceptive pill, may help to control the acne.

The oral contraceptive pill can help to control acne by reducing oil production.  As a result, the skin becomes less greasy and acne precursors such as whiteheads and blackheads become smaller and fewer.


Which treatment do I need?

Depending on the history and state of your skin, Dr Tall or our clinical aesthetic team will decide which treatment or combination of treatments is best indicated for your acne. A referral to a dermatologist may be required for the prescription of Vitamin A medication in some severe cases.

Whatever treatment is advised, it is important that you be very patient as significant improvement may take months to occur.

Moreover, in order to obtain optimum results from your treatment, you must follow all the advice given, not just parts of it, and adhere strictly to the treatment plan.

If you are unsure of any aspect of the treatment or wish to depart from any of the instructions, then please check with Dr Tall or our clinical aesthetic team.

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