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Which types of acne scars can be improved with treatment?

A question that we hear a lot in the clinic has to do with acne scars: can we remove them? While the general answer is ‘yes we can help’, it’s important to realise that there are limitations on what can actually be achieved because there are several factors that can limit the degree of improvement possible.

Depth of scarring

While CO2 Laser Resurfacing can help scars up to a certain depth, scarring that goes deeper than the laser can safely reach can only be improved, not eliminated completely.

Amount of scarring

If you have only mild to moderate acne scarring, you can realistically expect to see an overall improvement of the scarring of around 30-50%.

Type of treatment used

There are a number of different treatments that we can use to remove or lessen the appearance of acne scarring:


    • Filler are often the best option for the so-called ‘valley’ shapes of acne scars.

    • CO2 Laser Resurfacing is probably the most effective tool overall to reduce acne scars.

    • Subcision with/without Filler can be very effective for selected types of acne scars.

    • Surgical Excision of an acne scar that is unlikely to be improved by other methods will totally remove the acne scar but you must remember that it will always leave a surgical scar, so you need to seriously consider which type of scar you would prefer: the acne scar or the surgical scar!

    • Skin Needling stimulates the production of the skin’s collagen framework under the scars with a series of tiny needle punctures.

    • Microdermabrasion, although widely promoted by non-medical clinics, is a very superficial treatment that removes only the very top layer of dead skin cells and therefore cannot effectively reduce the depth of the acne scars.

    Please note that a Chemical Peel, although an effective treatment for other skin conditions, is generally not a treatment option for acne scarring unless the scarring is very fine.

    Are there any reasons that treatments might not be for me?

    If you have been taking the well-known prescription medication for acne (which we are not allowed to mention here by name), you must wait 6-12 months after finishing it before having any resurfacing treatments.

    If you still are have acne outbreaks, you should defer any acne scar treatments until all active acne has been eradicated and there are no more major outbreaks.

    Want more information?

    Find out more about Acne Scars and their Treatments.




    Sydney Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Clinic is no newcomer. In fact, we are one of Sydney’s leading cosmetic clinics established over 30 years ago. These days, we have a team of experienced doctors offering the full spectrum of cosmetic procedures to meet the needs of every patient.

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    • Consultations must be pre-paid at time of booking.
    • Once pre-paid, all consultations are non-refundable and non-transferable but can be moved to another date with at least 3 working days’ notice.
    • Cancellations with less than 3 working days’ notice and ‘no shows’ are not refundable or transferable and will incur a new consultation fee to re-book.
    • All payments by Credit Card & Debit Card attract a 0.3% surcharge and Amex a 1.5% surcharge.
    • The Medical Board of Australia’s new Regulations which came into effect on 1 July 2023 require that:
      • All patients seeking a consultation regarding cosmetic surgery must provide a referral and the referral must be from a GP or other specialist who does not perform cosmetic surgery or non-surgical cosmetic services themselves.
      • If a patient arrives without a referral, the Regulations recommend that the doctor should refrain from seeing the patient – in which event, any pre-paid consultation fee would be lost.

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