Other Facial Acne Scar
Treatment Options

Atrophic acne scars are pitted scars that
occur when fibrous tissue replaces
healthy tissue damaged by acne
and not enough replacement
collagen is formed.

Several treatment options are available for
this type of acne scarring, depending
on the type and severity of the scarring.

Two similar alternative treatments for
acne scarring include radiofrequency (RF) and plasma treatments.

Both are non-invasive options for treating acne scars whereby the skin is
heated using a device that delivers pulses of energy. The heat produced by these
pulses causes the tissue to tighten by 1) heating collagen so that it shrinks and 2) stimulating collagen-producing cells to make additional collagen — all without damaging the outer layer of skin. The skin can become smoother and tighter which is why RF is typically used to tighten the skin on the cheeks, jowls and neck and around the eyes. But it can also reduce the appearance of acne scars. In a study done on subjects with active acne and scars, the investigators noted an improvement in the appearance of scars in some of the subjects.1

There is minimal downtime associated with RF treatments but you should still consult a professional in order to avoid skin injury. The biggest downsides are that the results tend to be subtle, multiple treatments may be required, and each treatment is somewhat painful.

Neither a chemical nor a laser treatment, plasma generates an ultra-high frequency energy that can be directed at the skin without making physical contact. Because plasma generates energy vibrating at a frequency higher than laser light, it does not interact with individual components of the skin, blood, or tissues beneath the skin in the way that laser therapy does.

These treatments are most effective when administered multiple times, but even then results may be modest. In a study using plasma resurfacing on 8 subjects with acne scarring, there was a 23% improvement in scars at six months after treatment.2 Common side effects may include bruising, bleeding, acne flares, and could include nerve damage or overall worsening of the scar.

Note: Always consult with a medical professional to make sure you have a proper diagnosis and plan of action to safely achieve healthy skin.

1Ruiz-Esparza J, Gomez JB. Nonablative radiofrequency for active acne vulgaris: the use of deep dermal heat in the treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris (thermotherapy): a report of 22 patients. Dermatol Surg 2003; 29:333-9.

2Potter MJ, Harrison R, Ramsden A, Bryan B, Andrews P, Gault D. Facial acne and fine lines: transforming patient outcomes with plasma skin regeneration. Ann Plast Surg 2007;58:608-13.

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