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Facelift for Acne Scars

Acne scars are a common dermatological condition that may occur due to severe acne breakouts. These scars develop when the skin is damaged by the acne lesion, creating a wound that the body attempts to heal. This healing process sometimes leads to the formation of scar tissue, which can present as either raised or depressed, and may vary in color and texture. The type of acne scar that forms is dependent upon the severity of the acne and the way in which the skin heals. Common types of acne scars include ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars.

Treatment Options for Acne Scars

Acne scars may negatively impact your individual’s self-esteem and confidence, but there are a variety of treatment options available to help improve their appearance. These may be minimally invasive facial rejuvenation surgery as well as non-surgical treatments such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, microneedling, and dermal fillers, among others. It is essential to consult with a seasoned Houston facial plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or skin care professional to determine the best treatment for your individual’s specific needs.

Surgical Treatments for Acne Scars

While Dr. Wu offers some of the best facelifts in Houston, this procedure is not designed to address acne scars. However, dermatologists and skin care specialists may be able to use a variety of minimally-invasive surgical procedures to get rid of pesky acne scarring:

  • Punch excision – this procedure removes individual scars with a small, circular instrument. The resulting wound is then stitched closed or allowed to heal independently. Punch excision is the most effective technique for isolated, deep ice pick scars.
  • Subcision – in this facelift treatment for acne scars, a dermatologist inserts a needle under the scar tissue to break the fibrous bands tethering the scar to deeper layers of skin. This  helps raise indented scars and improve their appearance. Subcision is often combined with other treatments, such as fillers or laser resurfacing for a more effective outcome.
  • Scar revision – this is a more complex plastic surgery procedure that may be used to improve the appearance of large or irregular scars. Scar revision involves techniques such as excising the scar tissue, grafting healthy skin from another area of the body, or using flaps of nearby skin to cover the scar.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Acne Scars

Skincare specialists offer a variety of non-surgical treatments to address your acne scars:

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing treats the outer layer (epidermis) of the skin to improve its tone, texture, and appearance. It uses light to induce tissue repair and regeneration, which can improve the appearance of wrinkles and scars.

There are two major types of skin resurfacing

  • Ablative lasers use thermally controlled injury to remove the top layer of the skin, which normally contains damaged and dead cells and tissues.
  • Non-ablative lasers use thermal controlled injury to heat up the underlying tissues/dermis. This will trigger skin internal repair response to reawaken dormant skin cells.

Chemical Peels

This is a procedure where a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top unwanted layer. This is usually done more than once to achieve the desired result. Chemical peels address wrinkles, discolored skin, and scars.

Micro Needling

Commonly known as collagen induction therapy, this technique entails using a fine needle or a pen device to poke tiny holes in the surface of the skin to stimulate collagen production. This helps improve the skin’s texture. To attain the best results, a patient must attend up to six micro-needling treatment sessions.

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are best known to treat wrinkles but may also be used to treat sunken acne scars. Hyaluronic acid fillers can plump the skin and lift the sunken areas, whereas collagen fillers lift the acne scar area. Polylactic acid fillers (Sculptra) work by stimulating collagen production, which will raise and heal the sunken acne site. Your skincare specialist should be able to select the best technique based on your unique needs. 


Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing procedure that uses a rotating device to remove the outer layer of the skin, allowing the growth of smoother skin. It usually decreases the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. Dermabrasion may be done alone or along with other procedures.

Steroid injections

Cortisone shots are one common steroid injection. They involve injecting a synthetic form of hormone into an acne cyst to quickly reduce inflammation.

Results and expectations

Having realistic and achievable expectations will go a long way when researching practitioners for facial acne scar treatments. You need to know what is possible and grasp the cost of the treatment. While Dr. Wu is known to be a leading facial rejuvenation plastic surgeon, she only focuses on plastic surgery approaches. The surgeon is, however, always happy to help out and offer advice to her patients whenever she can.