How to Treat Acne Scars the Right Way, According to Dermatologists in Singapore

A young girl with acne scars

Acne breakouts are considered as common but the fact that it could lead to scarring is quite annoying and irritating. ¡Qué horror!

Imagine a porcelain jar full of dents and scratches. Now, imagine a restored jar that looks brand new. Lovely, right? Our skin is as delicate as a porcelain jar so we should make sure that it is taken care of. Having blemishes and apparent scars lower our self-esteem and we do not want that. We all want skin free from blemishes and acne scars.

So maybe now you are asking, “Is it possible to have these scars removed?” Let me tell you that it is. This article will help you have a quick rundown on what acne scars are, why they should be removed and how to finally say goodbye to those zit marks you have been stressing about!

What are acne scars?

Close up of acne scars on face

Acne scars are the manifestation of inflamed blemishes and these are caused by skin pores filled with excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. These scars can either be mild or severe.

What are the factors that cause acne scars?

There are several factors that could cause scarring. One of the most common is by popping your pimples. If not done professionally, expect a permanent scar on the way. Doing this may increase inflammation and attract a lot of bacteria.

Types of Acne scars

  • Keloids (Hypertrophic scars) appear as thick bumps or lesions over the skin and are usually discoloured and raised. This can occur during the acne healing process.
  • Macules are flat blemishes or little red spots on the skin where the acne was once located. This persists for a few days after the acne is healed.
  • Atrophic scars are thin and indented depressed scars (anetoderma) which can leave imbalanced scarring on your skin.
  • Rolling scars are broad depressions that appear like sloping and wavy-like edges. You might notice that the edges are soft and round. These depressions are usually the cause of long-term inflammatory acne.
  • Ice-pick scars are quite severe because they are deep and narrow and appear as sharp indentations that are caused by acne outbreaks.
  • Boxcar scars look like craters and would appear like indents on your skin. They are defined by their shallow and sharp edges.

Types of acne scars vector illustration

Does acne scar removal hurt?

This will surely depend on what kind of procedure you will undergo and the severity of your acne scars. And of course, your pain tolerance! Some people may not feel a sting and some may. Worry not! Most of the procedures use local anaesthetics.

Acne Scar Removal Procedures in Singapore

Take note that acne scars can be mild or severe so the removal procedure may vary depending on the kind of scars you have. Dermatologists will tell you that different scars call for different procedures and that is the only right approach to it. It is always best to have a talk with your physician prior to getting the procedures you will be reading about down below.

We talked to Cambridge Therapeutics and here is what they shared with us. Currently, these are the most common acne scar treatment procedures they use in Singapore.


Dermabrasion is a facial resurfacing and exfoliating technique that is used for deeper acne scars. This is an invasive type of procedure and treats the deeper layers of the skin. It is sometimes called “sanding” because it sands the outer layers of the skin. This procedure will allow new skin cells to grow in the treated area. 

For this procedure, a hand-held high-speed brush is used and can be utterly painful so local anaesthetics are used before the treatment to numb your skin.

Good for: Icepick scars; Rolling scars; Atrophic scars


Microdermabrasion is similar to dermabrasion but is usually painless and non-invasive. It is non-surgical and focuses on treating the dead layers of the skin. A spray with very small crystals is used to remove the surface skin.

Good for: Depressed acne scars that lie flat on the epidermis

Chemical Peels

Chemical peel treatment for acne

Chemical peeling helps reduce the appearance of acne scars and is an inexpensive option. This procedure is like a cleansing type and helps improve mild acne scarring by using a chemical solution. Usually, patients feel a burning and stinging sensation during the peeling session. Take note that this can sometimes cause redness and swelling that could last for a few days following the procedure.

Good for: Mild to moderately severe cases of acne

Laser treatments for acne

Laser treatments are one of the most common and effective procedures in treating acne scars. This can safely treat raised bumps and scars. However, this is not advisable for deep depressions such as ice pick scars.

Types of Laser Treatments:

  1. Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)
  2. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are used to safely fill in depressed acne scars with collagen or the patient’s own fat. There are permanent and non-permanent fillers. The latter gives temporary results that last between six to eighteen months.

Good for:  Depressed scars except for Ice-pick scars

Skin tightening

Skin Tightening is a good procedure for all types of skin colours. For this treatment, they use radiofrequency technology to tighten the skin. Tightening the skin will help depressed acne scars become less apparent. This is said to be more affordable than the rest of the treatments and treats deep acne scars effectively.

Good for: Ice-pick and Boxcar scars

Last reminders

Yes, it is truly nice to have blemish-free skin but always remember that going through one of these procedures is a personal decision. If it truly affects you emotionally or if your scars are utterly disfiguring, then go ahead and get one. Lastly, do not forget to consult your doctor. It is important to have a consultation with a dermatologist before jumping into a treatment or procedure. It is good to understand the causes of the type of scars you have, the pros and cons and how you should prepare before undergoing one.