How much recovery can I expect for my acne scars? (photos)

Doctor's Answers (6)

Hi JC.

Regarding the acne scarring:

1. Scar response to treatment depends on the type of scarring present and the corresponding treatment modalities selected to  tackle then issue. You seem to have a combination of different types of atrophic scarring (box scars, icepick scars, etc), and these unique scars respond differently to different treatments.

2. Treatments available include ablative lasers for resurfacing, non-ablative resurfacing and even picosecond lasers, spot TCA chemical peeling, subscision, and even subdermal filler placememt. While the best way to manage these issues is with a combination of the above, budgets can force you and your physician to come to a practical decision on your treatment plan.

3. Most of such scars can conservatively have 50 to 70% improvement after a period of 5 to 8 treatment sessions over 5 months to a year. While it is unrealistic to expect baby smooth skin once more, patients can have up to 90% resurfacing of scars if managed well. That being said, response can vary between individuals and close followup will be necessary.

4. The treatments work by causing deliberate controlled damage to existing skin, forcing collagen growth and remodelling, subsequently translating to resurfacing of the scars. Do note that this process takes time (months) and scar improvement will be noted over that duration. There is much misconception that the lasers burn away and level the scars in a single session, leaving many patients discouraged and unhappy. Long term followup has shown improvements carrying on for up to a year after the last laser session.

5. Cost can vary largely from clinic to clinic and of course depending on the type of lasers used. It would be best to speak to your doctor and enquire on the most suitable treatment plan for yourself suitable to your budget.

I hope that answers some of your questions. 

Acne scar treatment is indeed an investment; it may cost seemingly substantial amounts at the outset but the results stay and can positively affect your self-confidence drastically into the long run.



1) What can be done to cure my acne scarring? 

There are several options, such as carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, Infini needling radiofrequency, and subcision. A combination of techniques is usually necessary, and I always combine different treatments. 

2) What percentage of recovery can I expect on average? 

That will depend on your skin. anything between 50-70% after 3-5 sessions is realistic. 

3) How much would it roughly cost?

That will depend on the treatment option. A rough gauge would be anything from $2,000 - 4,000. 

From your pictures, you appear to be suffering from mainly box scars. 

1. I would use a mix of subcision with collagen stimulators, combined with laser treatments for your condition. Fractional resurfacing lasers are the ones you want to go for.

2. I agree with Dr Siew that the percentage of improvement will be 50-70%. There is no complete cure for acne scars unless you do a skin transplant. They key is to treat them optimally, and maintain the results.

3. I would set aside an investment of at least S$2000 for your condition.

The inflated scar in the chest area sound like a hypertrophic or keloid scar. That may require regular lasers and/injections to resolve. 

Thank you for your question.  

From your picture, you have atrophic acne scars, mainly box scars, which tend to respond well to combination treatment. So thats great news.

1) What can be done to cure my acne scarring? 

As Dr Siew has explained, you have many options. Different doctors have different preferences. The take home message is that combination works best. There is no single magic bullet treatment. You would need an average of 4 sessions for good results.

I would recommend lasers + subcision + Rejuran.

2) What percentage of recovery can I expect on average? 

50 - 70% 

3) How much would it roughly cost?

From $2,000 onwards. 

I hope this helps!

=) Daniel

Treatment of acne scars is multi-modality based: mainly subscision +/- filler and laser-resurfacing procedures. 

The first and most important step is to have your scars examined (both seen under proper lighting and felt) by a physician.

1) Purely based on the photo, you appear to have mainly box and ice-prick scars. 

For box scars: If upon examination (felt) the scars seem to be tethered to the deeper layers of your skin, then you would benefit from subcision +/- filler treatments. Subscision involves a needle inserted through a puncture in the skin surface to break up scar tissue. It is a lunch-time/ office procedure that is tolerable with the use of local anaesthesia. Results are immediate and generally will improve further with the use of fillers. This helps to elevate your scars so that subsequent laser re-surfacing treatments will be more efficacious. 

2) Realistically you can expect an improvement between 50-70%, optimising the most cost-effective treatments offered by your physician upon examination. 

3) Costs varies from procedures and practitioners but a good estimate starts from $2K.

Hope this helps!

With warm regards,

Well, I probably won't chime in with anymore of the various scar treatments available since my colleagues have already done so.

But more importantly is - it sounds like your acne isn't stable at all, since you are still getting some chest acne and body acne tends to be awfully stubborn.

I would suggest seeking help, solve your acne issues first, then work with the same doctor whom you would have built some trust to decide on the best acne scar treatment modality.


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