Acne Scar Treatment

Acne Scar Treatment NYCYou have options when it comes to treating acne scars. The treatments vary in intensity and invasiveness. You may need only a topical cream, which you can apply yourself, if your scarring isn’t bad. But a good dermatologist in New York City can introduce you to chemical peels, injections, laser treatments and even cryotherapy.

Each treatment has pros and cons and works well with specific cases. Despite the wide variety of treatment options, your New York dermatologist can help you determine the best treatments for your condition. It starts with an initial consultation. If you’re suffering from acne scars, don’t wait any longer.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination  for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Topical Creams

Depending on the severity of your scars, topical treatments may be the first type of treatment your dermatologist recommends. Most creams minimize the appearance of your acne scars, but they don’t remove them. So while it’s a minimally invasive treatment, it offers limited results.

With topical creams, there’s no procedure, just the application of a prescribed cream on your acne over a period of time. You should receive the best acne treatment for any current flare-ups while taking care of your scarring to reduce the chance of developing more acne scars. When using a cream, you feel no pain, nor do you have to work through a recovery. Additionally, side effects and risks are minimal with topical treatments.


A common procedure that uses a diamond wheel with rough edges or a wire brush, dermabrasion removes the top layers of your skin. The brush rotates rapidly, causing your skin to bleed. New skin grows to replace the damaged skin, eventually replacing the scarred skin. The procedure takes up to 30 minutes each time.

Typically, a local anesthetic is applied, so you’ll feel little to no pain. There are few risks associated with dermabrasion, although you need to take precautions to promote ideal healing. Stay out of the sun, keep your face clean, and use healing ointments prescribed by your dermatologist. Your face may appear pink or red for six to 12 weeks.

Chemical Peels

For this treatment, an acidic solution is applied to the affected area, which causes the skin to exfoliate and peel off. New, smoother skin regenerates in its place. Peels come in different strengths. Your midtown dermatologist chooses which, depending on your condition. This procedure takes about 15–30 minutes.

Despite the burning chemical, you feel little to no pain, although your face may feel sensitive afterward. Aftercare includes staying out of the sun and applying prescribed moisturizers. Risks and side effects of chemical peels include scarring, a permanent change in skin color and a reactivation of cold sores.

Laser Resurfacing and Light Therapies

Laser or light therapy is frequently used in combination with other treatments. Both are non-invasive. A laser burns away scarred skin to promote skin cell regeneration. Each treatment takes between 10 –30 minutes, depending on the surface area of the affected area. You’ll feel little to no pain with this procedure and may not even need numbing cream.

After your procedure, your face may be pink for four to eight hours. You may not see results for weeks or even months after treatment. Risks from this treatment are minimal, but include pain, discoloration, swelling, scarring or infection.

Dermal Filler injections

Filler injections are an acne scar treatment that gives great immediate results. Your doctor can choose from among many different filler solutions. During the procedure, your NYC dermatologist numbs the area with a topical cream to reduce pain, but pain is minimal. Then, using one of the fillers, your dermatologist fills your scars by injecting the fillers beneath your skin.

This procedure takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of your scarring.  You may experience slight bruising, redness or swelling on your face for the next two to seven days. These are common but temporary side effects. A rare risk is an allergic reaction or infection.

Intralesional Injections

A common procedure for younger scars, this treatment requires steroids to be injected in your scar, which causes it to soften and flatten. Because a numbing cream is applied first, this procedure isn’t painful. Procedure times can vary from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the treated area.

There are minimal side effects and risks associated with the use of steroids. They include the minor skin irritation at the injection site. Most people tolerate the procedure well.

Punch Grafts

Your dermatologist in Manhattan uses an instrument to punch a hole in your scarred skin to remove the scar. A plug of new skin replaces the removed skin. The procedure itself causes minimal scarring, so it’s typically recommended only for very deep acne scars.

Local anesthesia is often used, but general anesthesia may be necessary. While healing generally takes a week or two, you can participate in daily activities the next day. The duration of this procedure depends on how many scars are being treated. The risks associated with punch grafts involve the anesthesia, infection, scarring and bleeding.

Subcutaneous Incision

A subcutaneous incision is typically performed for older acne scars and deep rolling scars. A local anesthesia is applied to the area before the procedure, keeping your pain minimal. A thin needle is inserted into the scar to break up the fibrous bands that cause the scar. The duration of this procedure differs depending on the treatment surface area.

It takes weeks, sometimes even months to see the effects of this treatment. A few side effects and risks associated with this treatment include mild, temporary irritation and bruising of your skin. It takes about a week to heal from this procedure.

Autologous Fat Transfer

For this treatment, your NYC dermatologist takes fat from another part of your body and then injects it into the scarred area. It’s commonly recommended for deep scars. Because the fat takes time to be reabsorbed by your skin, results often take months to become visible. Sometimes, multiple treatments are needed. The procedure takes between 30 minutes to an hour.

You’ll experience very few side effects or risks from this procedure. But you may feel tenderness both on the site of the treated scar and where the fat was removed. The tenderness subsides, and you’re left with smoother skin where your scar used to be.


Cryotherapy is the process of freezing the scar tissue, which causes it to die and fall off. This is commonly used in combination with other treatments, usually injections. It’s a short procedure, lasting between 10 and 20 minutes.

As with all acne scar treatments, be sure your skin is clean and free of products before procedures. Side effects include pink or red skin during healing. The biggest risk is permanently lightening your skin pigment in the treated area.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.


Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Acne Scar Treatment? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, New York dermatologist, Dr. James Taft of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC office for consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist.

Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
Dr. James Taft (Laser Cosmetic Dermatology of NY)

51 East 25th Street, Ste 411
New York, NY 10010

(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
(212) 889-2402

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class dermatologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.