Looking to reduce blemishes and not just scars? See our page on Surrey acne treatments here!
We are a regular provider of acne scar treatments in Vancouver (we’re located in Surrey). We offer services to patients from Delta (Tsawwassen and Ladner), Langley, Cloverdale, South Surrey, Aldergrove, White Rock, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Port Moody, Abbotsford and beyond.
Acne scars form after deep, inflammatory infections in the pores that don’t heal well. While there are many variations of Acne Vulgaris (the skin condition we colloquially call, acne), not all are prone to cause scarring.
There are also multiple types of acne scars that stem from the same, deep lesions, but appear as different shapes and textures on people’s skin. The kind of acne scars you may have can be different from the next person, even if your type of acne is similar.
Whether you get acne scars, and the kind you get, can depend largely on genetics. To some degree, this condition can also depend on how you care for your skin during acne breakouts in the first place.
Aside from textured scars, people often refer to the dark spots left behind from pimples as “acne scars.” However, these are not true acne scars; they usually clear up within a few months. Real acne scars can form permanent damage to your skin – much like a scar from a knee scab or burn. Though, of course, scars that deform our faces are much more difficult to deal with, emotionally and psychologically.
That said, both dark acne spots and acne scars can be managed, using the right tools and protocols – including lasers, fillers, minor surgeries and topical skin creams. Medical cosmetic technology has advanced quite a bit, in the last decade or so. This has allowed our clinic to perform acne scar treatments in Vancouver (Surrey), with long-term effects.
As long as you’re willing to do the daily (but simple) work of keeping your face, neck and back clear of acne as much as possible, we can help with the leftover reminders of those awful blemishes.
If you are a parent with a teen who has acne scars, we also know this can be an important family decision to make. Clearing up acne scars can result in a better social life, and the regaining of self-esteem. Acne has been known to cause depression, and other mental issues. The scars they leave behind can be permanent, if not treated. Their psychological associations can invade our attitude towards many other parts of life. Treating a marked face is not just cosmetic; it’s an important part of maintaining a good quality of life.
The first step in finding out if our Vancouver acne scar removal treatments (in Surrey) are right for you, is to book a consultation at our clinic. We’ll take a closer look at your skin, plus take advanced, UV scans to see under your skin.
Afterwards, we’ll give you our best opinion on treatment options we think will work on you. Often, especially for acne and acne scars, this involves a mixed-mode approach, and a series of steps towards treatment. It is unlikely that one cosmetic technology can fix all acne scars in one sitting.
Please note: our services for acne scar treatments in Surrey are not covered by MSP, nor most insurance providers. At our clinic, a licensed physician operates in a private, business setting, to help you get safe treatments in the medical cosmetic arena. If you would like to treat your acne scars through covered services, we encourage you to see your family doctor as a first step.
What types of acne scar solutions do you offer at your skin care clinic?
This answer has two parts. Firstly, it is important to know that to treat acne scars, one must be diligent to control acne outbreaks as much as possible. If you have acne scars, it is likely you are experiencing the third or fourth stages of acne, where deep, painful infections are being formed, constantly. The formation of acne cysts and nodules is what can bring about scarring and dark spots.
So, even if we treat your acne scars today, they can return. Now, they can return regardless (since Acne Vulgaris is a hard skin condition to control). But, you can lessen that likelihood a lot, by following regular, routined skin care. We’ll make recommendations on what acne products we think you should use.
Start with professional, deep pore acne treatments at our clinic
You’ll want to follow the prescriptions, or skin care product recommendations, given by a doctor. Then, depending on your case, it often helps to do occasional ‘deep’ cleanses, such as those at our clinic, mentioned above.
To help you keep acne at bay, we offer the following cosmetic, spa-grade services to deeply cleanse pores and exfoliate skin:
- HydraFacial™ (including a popular, non-invasive acne treatment with blue and red light therapies, as options to your treatment package)
- Chemical peels
- Mild laser peels
- Cosmeceutical-grade skin care (including those with broad-spectrum SPF, which is non-negotiable for any skin condition, including acne)
Note: some of the above solutions can not be used on open wounds.
Many of the above treatment options can be done monthly or bi-weekly, depending on your skin type. They can also be alternated, or mixed, in your treatment plan with us.
Next, treat your acne scars in Surrey with professional, medical-grade solutions
When your acne is under control, we can begin treating your acne scars. Treatments for acne scars at our Surrey clinic often require multiple solutions for effectiveness. Example treatments can include:
(Click on the items below to expand for more detail)
Bellafill® is a long-lasting filler. For some people, it can solve pitted acne scars for years. Tiny injections of the solution are applied to scars one-by-one, to help volumize the tissue that forms these tiny concave areas. The reason this solution lasts so long is because of a special ingredient: polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres. These are not absorbed by the body, so your skin forms proteins around it. This builds up new tissue, thus raising the treatment area.
You can read more about Bellafill® here.
This solution is similar to the concept of using Bellafill® to raise acne scars. Depending on the needs of the patient, and the discretion of a doctor, this alternate, long-lasting filler can also be used to raise pitted scars by building up the collagen around them. However, instead of PMMA, Sculptra® uses poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) microparticles.
This method is also used in conjunction with subcision (see below).
You can read more about Sculptra® here.
For raised acne scars, which come in the form of keloids or hypertrophic scars, a steroid formula can be injected to remove the excess tissue that has formed. This can take multiple treatment sessions.
Sometimes, very large, still active, cystic acne or nodules can be treated with steroid injections as well. This is to help reduce the inflammation, so as to prevent a scar from forming, should the lesion burst and break the skin barrier (this breakage is what causes acne scars in the first place).
This is a surgical procedure that intentionally cuts out existing, indented scars with a special tool. They are closed shut with sutures. This does make another scar, but a much smaller one, which is far less noticeable.
Another surgical procedure for indented scars, subcision is also referred to as subcutaneous incision. It is helpful for scars with tissue that form ‘bands’ inside the skin. With subcision for acne scars, a needle-type instrument is inserted beneath the skin where the scar tissue subsides. These fibrous strands are ‘cut loose’ to release the scar tissue from the dermis, resulting in a much less noticeable scar. This is performed one-by-one, like the punch excision method. The post-procedure collagen release, as a result of your body’s natural healing process, also helps reduce scar visibility.
In the past, subcision methods would result in bruising and swelling. However, nowadays, we use a blunt cannula with a large gauge, to help significantly reduce this temporary side-effect.
Often, it is recommended that this procedure be done in combination with other acne scar treatments, to help the collagen build up, and improve skin texture. For example, using dermal fillers like Bellafill®, or even Sculptra®, at the site of the subcision, can help give the skin a foundation to build up its collagen fibers. On top of that, we can use Infini™ RF microneedling or chemical peels, noted below, to help smooth the textured skin after subcision.
This procedure does not work for ice pick scars, which are deeper than other indented scars. It is also not advisable for those who are prone to forming keloids.
This method works for chickenpox scars, and other similar types of scarring. Ask us for details if you have an indented scar you’d like addressed.
Infini™ RF microneedling
An advanced form of microneedling, this fractional, radio frequency, heat-based treatment inserts tiny holes into your skin, called micro-coagulation zones (tiny lesions, basically). It uses up to 49 small needles in a single, square centimetre.
This technology helps acne scars by stimulating collagen and elastin production, the effects of which continue for weeks or months after a treatment series. Deep acne scarring can require 4 to 6 treatments, to start, and possible maintenance thereafter.
The great news is that the same treatment also helps with skin tone, aging skin and general skin rejuvenation needs.
You read more about the Infini™ RF microneedling treatment here.
Fraxel® DUAL laser skin rejuvenation
This cosmetic laser helps acne scars by removing old skin cells through many micro-punctures. When the tiny skin wounds heal, they ‘push out’ the old, dead skin cells, and regenerate a new, fresh layer. This can then remove the acne scars that were residing in the dermis (which were, of course, made up of skin cells).
At the same time, the Fraxel® DUAL has a refining effect on the skin, treating wrinkles and other impurities, too.
You can read more about the Fraxel® Dual laser here.
Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing
A CO2 laser can help to intentionally remove a top layer of skin by making many tiny holes in the dermis. The key that makes this treatment different from radio-frequency microneedling or even a Fraxel® DUAL laser treatment, is that it goes deeper into the skin. So, it is much more intense, and requires longer healing time, too. That said, it can do a lot more in one session, than other laser treatments, which often require a series of treatments to notice significant results.
The intense, resurfacing of skin with a CO2 laser can then deal with acne scars, which of course, usually start from deeper lesions in the dermis (those pesky, acne cysts and nodules).
Overall, skin resurfacing with a CO2 laser helps to give skin a smooth surface and even tone.
This treatment is sometimes referred to as a laser peel, though true laser peels can happen at much lower intensities (which we can also offer).
You can read more about CO2 laser resurfacing here.
Also noted above as being part of acne prevention and control, chemical peels can help with macular acne scars. These are, essentially, the red or brown pigments that remain in the skin after an acne lesion has healed. They can go away on their own, in time. But, by removing a thin layer of skin, the body’s natural shedding process goes faster, thus also removing these dark spots sooner.
This option is usually combined with other technologies for a method called, ‘pigment blending,’ to even out the skin’s colour.
You can read more about chemical peels here.
What causes acne scars?
Acne scars form when the lesions in your skin (i.e. your pimples and blemishes) break open your skin. These are wounds, just like if you were to have cut your skin some other way (like a knife cut, for instance). So, they heal the same way, too.
In order to close up your exposed skin, your body starts producing collagen, to form new skin cells. These are scars. They’re like natural ‘bandages’ for your skin, that stay with you forever. They can also be red or brown for a while, since blood vessels or old skin cells usually take a while to clear out. Sometimes, lingering scars can be pale in colour.
The main problem is, our bodies aren’t great at forming skin back to the way it was – it’s never quite the same with these new, nature-made skin ‘bandages.’
Sometimes, when a large cyst has ruptured, such as with an acne infection, the skin has been opened up too wide for it to heal back to it’s normal level. Your body may not produce enough collagen to replace lost skin cells. So, the acne scar is hollowed out, and looks like a little crater in your skin.
Other times, our bodies over-produces collagen when healing skin. This results in a raised scar, or a keloid. It’s like a hard lump of too much skin.
Thus, acne scars come in three main varieties:
Pitted, atrophic acne scars
These are depressed, or indented acne scars. They come in the following sub-forms:
Icepick scars – these are deeper and narrower than other pitted scars.
Boxcar scars – these are depressed, but wider and uneven in shape.
Rolling scars – these are longer, bumpy and irregular ‘slopes’ of indents in the skin.
Raised acne scars
These are, namely:
Keloids – these are like lifted, smooth and hard ‘hills’ in the skin, which expand their growth over time, even beyond the original wound site. They can become pink, red, purple or other hues in that category. They are more common on ‘hard’ parts of the body than on the face, such as the chest and shoulders.
Hypertrophic acne scars – these are similar to keloids, but are usually red or pink, and less than 4 millimeters above the skin.
Note: it can be hard to distinguish between the above two types of raised acne scars, as they are very similar. They are both more common in darker skin types. Keloids tend to reform after being removed. Therefore, each is treated differently.
Macular acne scars
These are not actually scars, per se. They result from a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, usually from broken blood vessels at the site of the wound. They go away in time, and can look like:
- Red spots (erythematous spots)
- Brown spots (hyperpigmented spots)
Am I eligible for your acne scar treatments in Surrey?
In truth, this is a hard question to answer without seeing you in person. We would not encourage any kind of self-diagnosis for your acne scars. It is great to be educated on what types there are, and how they are fixed, in the general sense. However, there can be a fine line between which type of scar is which, and what can be done about them. So, it’s best if a doctor takes a look, first.
While we could say that those prone to scarring or keloid formation are not eligible for our acne scar treatments, this may not always be the case. Though, this is a common reason we may refuse to treat patients with certain methods.
The best way to know if you are eligible for acne scar treatments at our Surrey clinic is to come in for an initial consultation. We will advise you on cosmetic procedures which are not covered by MSP – please keep that in mind. That said, these treatments are, for the most part, almost all that anyone can do for acne scarring.
What other options exist for acne scarring out there?
Apart from services at our clinic, some doctors may recommend prescriptions, or skin-lightening creams to help, such as products containing hydroquinone, arbutin, tretinoin or over-the-counter, high-strength retinol creams. These can work on pigments in the skin, but not on the uneven, tissue formation of an actual scar.
That said, you can do a lot to prevent acne scars. This involves regular, daily-routines such as:
- Washing twice daily with a made-for-acne cleanser, and exfoliating faithfully, without over-scrubbing or irritating the skin.
- Following a doctor’s orders when it comes to prescriptions that prevent acne formation.
- Always wearing an oil-free, high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
- Avoiding comedogenic (clogging) makeup or skin care products. Look for “non-comedogenic” on makeup and skin care product labels.
- Not picking or popping pimples or scabs (this can worsen the already-deep wound, and lengthen healing times, too).
- Considering medical-grade or spa-grade acne treatments, such as the ones offered at our Surrey clinic (see above for more info).
What are the risks of treating acne scars with lasers, surgeries or injections?
The main risk of treating acne scars, with almost any method, is that the scars may return, or form keloids. This is not so much to do with the technology being used, as it is to do with your body’s genetics. Some people are simply more prone to developing scars and keloids than others.
To avoid this issue as much as possible, we require patients to come in for a comprehensive consultation before beginning treatments with us. We will ask for an entire health history, and also learn more about your skin goals. If anything comes up that suggests you may be prone to further scarring, we may recommend less aggressive procedures for you. This may involve topical skin care products, for instance.
You may also notice, in some cases, we won’t ‘jump’ to use lasers on your acne scars, even if you have undergone these types of treatments in the past. We will need to monitor your skin’s reaction to any new treatments we perform on you, using our own processes. This is for your safety, and to prevent any adverse reactions.
On the other hand, sometimes, lasers alone will simply not do enough to help a patient. So, we can recommend non-laser solutions, or a combination of solutions.
Other possible side effects from our acne scar treatments are rare. However, if you would like to know more, each is described in more detail at their links above. We will also go over all of these details with you during your initial consultation with us.
What is the cost of acne scar treatments at your Surrey skin clinic?
The price of acne scar removal treatments in Vancouver, at our Surrey clinic, can vary a lot. This is not only because there are so many treatment options, but also because each person’s scars can be different in kind and quantity. Even the location of the scar, and a person’s own medical history can affect how this condition is treated. We also know that treating acne scars effectively is not usually possible with just one treatment type, nor with one session of any treatment.
Due to all of the above, pricing for acne scar treatments must be very personalized. We absolutely need to see you in person to be able to give you an estimate. That said, we can tell you that our treatments start at around $150 or so, per session, and go up from there. Though, this starting price can change at any time, and is not meant to be a final estimate by any stretch. Some advanced treatments can cost thousands for a series of sessions.
We encourage you to book an in-person consultation with us, to learn more about how we can help your acne and acne scarring. We will also be able to give you more accurate pricing information at that time.
This educational, one-on-one consultation does have a fee, but that fee is then credited towards any treatment of your choice at our clinic. If you have acne, it is very likely that one of our many acne ‘upkeep’ options will be beneficial for you, anyway. These are noted above, if you’d like to learn more about them.
Looking to reduce blemishes? See our page on acne treatments here!
Prices on this website are to be used as a guide, and not a definite cost for your treatment. Prices can change at any time.
Procedure results are not guaranteed, and can vary from patient to patient.