What are safe and effective non-ablative treatments for acne scars if I have active acne?

Doctor's Answers 2

I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal with acne; it surely can be a frustrating affair.

1. With regards to the current treatment of your active acne, it might be best to have a thorough history of your acne occurrence, your previous forms of management, and your current regime to find an effective solution for it. Oral isotretinoin, together with continued topical management is key.

Other solutions include chemical peels for acne control, as well as more definitive solutions such as AGNES micro-needling radio-frequency treatment to permanently destroy existing sebaceous glands that are causing the recurrent breakouts.

2. Ablative treatments have been deemed safe for use even if on oral isotretinoin, and especially so if on low-doses. These treatments include the traditional CO2 and erbium lasers. If you are looking for something with a lower downtime, however, non-ablative lasers like the Picosecond fractional lasers (also offered at our clinic) are a good option.

A combination of treatments are ultimately key, but that will be decided during consult.

3. I would not recommend attempting acne scar treatment if you are currently facing a severe acne breakout for two main reasons:

i) The stimulation and heat from scar treatment can aggravate active acne
ii) As the active acne subsides, it may leave new scars that were not otherwise treated by the scar therapy, requiring more subsequent sessions to completely manage

Your current issue with acne sounds like a tricky one, and I would advise a a thorough consult to align your understanding and expectations with medical management. Do feel free to contact us should you require further assistance.

Best Regards,

Dr Shane Abucewicz-Tan

It is very frustrating, and I understand it well (had horrid acne in the past). Had solved it with Isotretinoin and now I use selectively good noncomedogenic products to reduce any outbreaks.

Pertaining to your question, low dose Accutane (30mg per week) can allow even fractional lasers based on recent studies. Which treatments would do well will ultimately depend on your acne scars morphology.

Intracel RF with active acne is fine, if the acne isn't pustular or severely cystic as the risk of spread with the needles may result in a wider spread. Isotretinoin also increases the risk of hyperpigmentation from treatments, including CO2 and INTRAcel, from my past experiences. So do it when its a lower dose (currently you are not suitable in my opinion)


Similar Questions

Is it possible to be rid of acne and bumps on my face entirely?

Nothing in life is permanent. It is true! except scars. So you are right, its important that we try to minimise the outbreaks when possible. If you are a male patient, I would opt to do Accutane and then tail down the dose and keep on a very low maintenance dose (which virtually eliminates side effects) and yet keeps the oiliness and pimples at bay. Topical products actually play a huge role in skin care. I have seen so many patients who come completely clueless, and using the most oily Korean moisturisers for their already oily skin--- because Korean stars are using it.

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Answered By

Dr Winston Lee


Is the Venus Viva or Acnexel machine more effective for acne scar treatment?

Hi, As pointed out, individual scars may require different treatments, so it is really wrong to say that TCA cross is the best treatment for acne scars. TCA Cross is really effective for ice pick scars but may not be worth the risk for rolling type scars. Both the Venus Viva and Acnexel treatments use good technology for acne scar treatments, and are able to get some of the best results without the downtime of ablative fractional lasers like the CO2. I still use both fractional CO2 and RF/heat in my practice, but interchangeably depending on my patients' needs and demands.

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