Acne scars are the biggest nemesis to smooth and healthy looking skin. These facial scars are difficult to hide even after piling on heavy concealers; thus many patients are seeking solutions for this problem.
There is much confusion regarding the cost of acne scar treatments in Singapore because:
There are too many establishments offering acne scar treatments. The options run the gamut from beauty salons, aesthetic clinics, to plastic surgeons.
There is a big price discrepancy among treatments offered, e.g. “scar creams” at $50 vs treatments that can go up to the thousands.
The complicated trade names of scar removing laser machines confuses people.
Let us have a comprehensive look at the cost of acne scar treatments (that actually work).
1. How much does acne scar treatment cost in Singapore?
Spoiler: creams and superficial chemical peels are NOT effective for deep acne scars.
Effective acne scar treatments usually require lasers and minor skin surgery procedures. These have to be performed by a trained doctor in a clinic.
|AESTHETIC PROCEDURE||TREATMENT NAMES||COST IN SINGAPORE|
|Fractional CO2 lasers|
$400 - $1000/session
3-6 sessions required
|Fractional erbium lasers|
Mosaic by Lutronic
$400 - $800/session
2-5 sessions required
|Fractional micro-needling Radio-frequency Laser|
$900 - $1500/session
2-3 sessions required
|Fractional Picosecond Laser|
$600 - $1200/ session
2-5 sessions are required
|Chemical peels||TCA Cross|
$150 - $500/ session
2-3 sessions are required
|Punch Biopsy||$500 - $2000/ session depending on severity and area of scars|
|Subcision (+/- filler)|
$400 - $1000/ session
Filler costs are usually separate. From $500 onwards.
$800 - $1500/session
$250 - $1000/ session
2. Why are there so many types of acne scar removal treatments?
Not all scars are created equal. There are several types of acne scars, and each type requires a specific type of treatment. Most people have scars that require a combination of different treatments to effectively remove them.
3. What factors affect the total cost of acne scar treatments?
Effective removal of acne scars requires several sessions of treatments. This is why the total cost of treatment can range from $3000 - $10,000.
1. Area, type, and severity of acne scars
Deeper scarring that affects a larger area of the face would require a more intensive type of treatment with multiple sessions. This translates to higher total cost.
For example, shallow acne scars affecting a tiny area of the cheeks may only require 1 session of subcision, and one session of Fractional CO2 laser. That will not cost more than $800.
However, deep acne scars affecting the full face and neck may require more than 6-10 sessions of different types of treatments. This can bring the cost closer to $10,000.
2. The type of laser machine:
Lasers range from $50,000 to $300,000. The price is often determined by the “brand” of the laser.
3. Experience of the doctor:
Laser technology is important because it is a valuable tool that enables your doctor to deliver results. However, the experience of your doctor in treating acne scars also matters.
An expert acne scar specialist can advise on the most suitable treatments (usually a combination) for you so that you do not waste unnecessary money on treatments that are inappropriate for your scar type.
4. Post-laser care:
Post-laser recovery creams, antibiotics, and sunblock are essentials for good recovery and to minimise complications.
Tip: Ask for any hidden costs! For example, find out from your doctor if your post-laser recovery creams and sunblock are included in the treatment price.
4. Why are some acne scar laser treatments so cheap?
As the old adage goes “Cheap things are never good. Good things are never cheap.” Especially so for medical aesthetic treatments. There are two possible scenarios:
1. There might be hidden costs
Sometimes, clinics offer low prices at the beginning. However as you progress with the treatment, you might have to top up because some of the medication you need (e.g. post-laser creams) are not included in the inital price.
2. They might be using bad machines
If the cost of the treatments is really cheap with no hidden costs, you should find out the brand of the machines they are using, and check with the clinic if they are HSA (Health Science Authority) approved.
5. How do you choose your acne scar doctor?
a. Experience in scar removal
Experience really counts, especially in scar removal. Look around for experienced doctors who have helped many patients to achieve satisfactory results. You should also choose a doctor who has a keen interest in scar removal.
b. Technology is key
Acne scar removal is heavily dependent on technology. In this field, even top aesthetic doctors cannot function without these tools. Find a clinic that offers a good range of acne scar removal laser so that you get the most comprehensive range of treatment options.
If a clinic only has a Fractional CO2 laser, they will only offer you Fractional CO2 Lasers and that might not help you with your acne scars.
Tip: Don’t be thrown off course by trade-names of lasers. Ask the clinic for the generic name of the type of technology. For example, Fractional CO2 lasers can be marketed as Edge, eCO2, SmartXide.
c. Price of treatments
The total cost of acne scar treatments is in the thousands. Look for a clinic that is cost-effective and has your best financial interests at heart.
This is one of the most important factors but it has always been overlooked. Acne scar treatments requires a long term commitment. The treatment duration usually spans over several months to a year.
Choosing a doctor at a convenient location helps you save travelling time for the multiple clinic visits.
6. Can you use insurance or Medisave to pay for acne scar treatments?
Unfortunately, no. Not even in government hospitals/clinics. You can only claim active acne treatments through insurance.
7. Are there any subsidies or discounts for acne scar treatments in Singapore?
Unfortunately, the Singapore Ministry of Health doesn't allow clinics to give "discounts" on any medical procedures to prevent inducing patients to seek unnecessary treatments.
To help patients, some clinics allow payments by instalments.
Acne scars are a highly treatable condition. There are many effective ways to go about treating it but it is costly. You should definitely do your research before committing to a treatment plan.
Dr Justin Boey’s practice of Aesthetic Medicine centres around the busy modern individual. His special interests are scar treatments and non-surgical facial rejuvenation with thread-lifts, Botox, and lasers.
- Clark, A.K., Saric, S. & Sivamani, R.K. Am J Clin Dermatol Acne Scars: How Do We Grade Them? (2018) 19: 139.
- Fabbrocini, G., Annunziata, M. C., D'Arco, V., De Vita, V., Lodi, G., Mauriello, M. C., Pastore, F., … Monfrecola, G. (2010). Acne scars: pathogenesis, classification and treatment. Dermatology research and practice, 2010, 893080.