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Nonsurgical Procedures to Treat Acne Scars

Nonsurgical Procedures to Treat Acne Scars Nonsurgical Procedures to Treat Acne Scars

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is no single best treatment to remove acne scars. Medical insurance usually does not cover the cost of acne scar removal, so it's wise to get an estimate before agreeing to any procedures. With surgical acne scar removal, several treatment sessions may be needed and there is a possibility of down time.


Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that uses non-allergenic micro-crystals to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells. This encourages the production of collagen and elastin during new skin growth, which enhances the appearance of the skin by improving the appearance of acne scars along with lines, wrinkles and signs of aging. The cost for microdermabrasion may vary based on factors such as the number of treatments needed and fees the physician may charge; however, the fees for microdermabrasion are far less than surgical procedures. Treatments can range from 30 minutes to one hour. Dermatologists recommend 5 to 12 treatments at two- or three-week intervals for optimal results. Skin may be slightly irritated and have a pinkish tint after the treatment, but this usually subsides within a few hours.

Chemical Peel

A dermatologist may perform an in-office chemical peel to eliminate or reduce acne scars, freckles, remove pre-cancerous skin growths and even help fight acne breakouts. On average, chemical peel treatments only take about 10 to 15 minutes; however, several treatments may be in order for stubborn acne and acne scars. In some instances, health insurance may cover a portion of the cost for a chemical peel, but still check before agreeing to any treatments. Chemical peels can consist of three chemicals: alphahydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid and/or phenol. The dermatologist performing the treatment will determine which chemicals and the amount of each chemical to use for a particular patient. According to, some states do not require a medical degree to perform these types of treatments and strongly advises patients to seek a physician who has adequate training and experience.

Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are over-the-counter (OTC) treatments available that will aid in reducing the appearance of acne scars. These OTC remedies include products that contain retinol, glycolic acid or vitamin C. Using these ingredients may help flatten raised scars, reduce acne scars that are not very deep and lighten the appearance of skin discoloration once the acne has cleared. If spots are from discolored skin instead of scars, a lightening cream may help. Silicone bandages or taping the skin can also assist with flattening raised acne scars.

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