I remember looking at my dad’s face when growing up and wondering why he had such rough, thick skin. His pores were large, and he had tiny, dark potholes all over his cheeks. I asked him about it one time, and he said he had bad acne when he was in his teens and twenties. I prayed I didn’t inherit his skin type. Unfortunately, I did.

Eventually, my acne cleared, however, years of mindless pimple popping, and the effects time has undoubtedly left their mark on my complexion. I am now on a mission to find the best treatment options to erase these scars and restore my youthful glow. Fortunately, there are several options available to lessen the scars that acne can cause over time.


The process of exfoliation is superficial. Exfoliation for acne involves using a mildly abrasive substance or material to scrub the superficial dead skin cells, dirt, and oil off the skin’s surface. These cells, along with dirt and oils, block pores and create blackheads leading to enlarged pores. The combination is also great for bacterial growth causing pimples and pustules. Exfoliation is very effective in cleansing pores, preventing further breakouts. Although skin discolorations and texture may improve, this process is least effective in correcting scarring. Mild exfoliators are available over-the-counter and through cosmeticians.


Women showing before and after treatment of acne scar

A Women face showing before and after treatment of acne scar

Microdermabrasion for acne is a more aggressive form of exfoliation. The process involves the use of a crystallized abrasive substance. Many over-the-counter microdermabrasion products are applied using manual friction, or by using a battery or electrical scrubbing appliance. Professional microdermabrasion is provided by trained dermatologists, cosmeticians, or plastic surgeons using professional grade substances and equipment. The goal is removing the top layer of dead skin cells for smoother and more even skin tones. The process can produce a warm, tingling feeling, and redness and irritation are common for several days after the procedure. Micro-dermabrasion is proven to remove discolorations and minimize superficial scarring, however, its effects are limited to deep scars and tissue damage. Subsequent treatments are required to achieve the maximum benefit.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels for acne involve peeling the top layers of the skin to encourage regeneration of new skin cells. Various acids are used depending on how deep of an effect is required. Light peels involve the outermost layers of the skin and are mild enough to use on a regular basis. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are most commonly used. Mild irritation, redness, and sensitivity can occur after use. Medium peels involve concentrations of glycolic and trichloroacetic acid or TCA. The procedure is performed by trained personnel, and redness and sloughing occur after the procedure exposing raw skin. This depth is used for moderate discoloration and pockmarks caused by acne scarring. Deep peels affect several outer skin layers and lead to more redness and shedding of the skin. They are performed by a doctor or cosmetic surgeon as permanent complications may result. These peels are indicated for moderate to deep acne scarring.

Dermabrasion and Dermaplaning

These two procedures go hand-in-hand for treating deep discolorations, pockmarks, and ice pick scarring. The process involves the physical use of a blade to scrape and resurface the skin. It is most commonly performed in a surgical typesetting. Most times, fillers are injected into deeper scars to even out the skin texture from the inside. Risks include infection, further scarring, and permanent changes in skin texture and pigment. In rare cases, filler injections can cause reactions or disfigure. The procedure is effective for deep and widespread scarring and damage due to acne.

Laser Resurfacing

This process is very similar to dermabrasion. The procedure involves the use of lasers to resurface the skin. Professionals performing this procedure undergo specialized training and additional certifications in laser cosmetic surgery.

Consulting a licensed cosmetic provider is the best way to determine which treatment is right for you. When choosing a provider, it is important to consider their licenses, certifications, on-site facilities, experience, and success rates.

Glasgold Group Plastic Surgery is one of the best cosmetic surgery practices in New Jersey, providing various skin care treatments for both men and women. Drs. Robert and Mark Glasgold are dedicated to using both chemical and modern technology for innovative approaches to preserving and protecting the skin’s integrity, beauty, and youth.