You have left your teenage years far behind you. No more braces, messy blue eyeshadow, awkward school dances, or Mean Girls-style drama. Even if your acne cleared up, you may still be left with a reminder of your past pustules in the form of acne scars. Don’t worry! If you are plagued by the ghosts of acne past, Qazi Cosmetic Clinic specializes in ice pick scar treatment, as well as scar-erasing treatments for many other types of acne scars.
What is an Ice Pick Scar?
Ice pick scars are one of the most severe and hard to treat types of acne scars. They are characterized by their depth into the skin and are usually visible to the naked eye because of their narrow size and how they are pitted into the skin. Because ice pick scars are small craters in the skin, they can be very hard to hide with makeup.
While ice picks scars are most common among teenagers, people of all ages can experience acne scarring. Many adults have old acne scars left over from their teenage years, but they put off getting their scars treated out of embarrassment.
If you have acne scars, Dr. Qazi can help! Qazi Cosmetic Clinic offers a variety of ice pick scar treatments, including both topical treatments as well as treatments that only medspas are able to offer. Schedule a consultation today to learn which treatment is best for you!
How Do Ice Pick Scars Form?
Ice pick scars are caused by severe acne that reaches deep into the skin, namely cystic acne and papules. When cysts and papules are popped, it causes damage to the surface of the skin. The body then tries to repair itself, but if too little collagen is produced to heal the wound, the result is a pitted scar in the skin.
Acne is most common among teenagers as they go through puberty, but many adults also experience acne throughout their lives. Acne occurs when the pores become clogged, resulting in a white head, a black head, or a sore bump with no head.
The best way to avoid having a face full of acne scars is to take good care of your skin in the first place. This means preventing pimples by:
- Washing your face frequently with gentle cleansers.
- Avoiding abrastic cleansers that may damage your skin.
- Refraining from touching your face during the day.
- Never wearing makeup to bed.
- Never popping, squeezing, or manipulating pimples after they form.
However, some factors that cause acne and later acne scars are out of our control. Things like genetics, stress, diet, and hormonal changes can make acne and acne scarring become worse. If you have concerns about your acne, regardless of your age, Dr. Qazi recommends coming in for a consultation to learn more about your options for reducing your acne.
If you are ready to say goodbye to your ice pick scars, these are your 8 treatment options:
1. Punch Excision
Because ice pick scars extend deep into the skin, they can be challenging to treat. One of the main ice pick scar treatments is punch excision. When you get this treatment, Dr. Qazi will use a small device that looks like a miniature cookie cutter to “punch” around the scar. The scar will then be removed entirely, and the hole will be closed by a tiny suture. During the procedure, you will be given a local numbing agent, so you won’t feel a thing.
Punch excision is an ideal procedure to get rid of ice pick scars because it is suitable for all skin tones, can get rid of scars for good, and the downtime is minimal. After you have your acne scars removed, you can expect to experience some light bruising. The small suture will be mostly healed within a week, so you should avoid any major events until it heals.
2. Punch Grafting
Punch grafting is very similar to punch excision. When you get punch grafting treatment at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic, a local numbing agent will be applied to your skin to keep you comfortable. Next, Dr. Qazi will use a small, sharp instrument to punch out the ice pick scar. Instead of suturing the skin closed as he would with punch excision, Dr. Qazi will take a punch of skin from behind your ear and plug it into the punch out where the scar used to be.
This method is as effective as punch excision because it removes the ice pick scar completely. However, it can require a slightly longer healing time because you will need to wait a week before the new punch will be integrated into the skin. The “donor area” that the punch is taken from will also need time to heal.
This treatment method can leave a small scar on the skin; however, it is significantly less noticeable than the appearance of an ice pick scar.
3. RF Microneedling For Ice Pick Scar Treatment
RF microneedling is one of those procedures that can be used to treat a wide variety of cosmetic concerns. Here’s how it works: the RF microneedling device makes small, controlled punctures in the skin while exposing the underlying layers of skin to radiofrequency heat waves. When the skin is exposed to heat, it naturally constricts and tightens; this is why RF microneedling is so effective for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When the skin is artificially “damaged” by the microneedling device, it prompts the body to heal itself. This means that your body will produce more collagen to heal and smooth out cosmetic concerns on its own. RF microneedling works so well on ice pick scars because this type of acne scar is caused by a shortage of collagen in the skin. When the microneedling device causes your body to make more collagen, those indented ice pick scars can be healed and filled in.
While there are many “derma-roller” devices on the market, Dr. Qazi always tells patients to avoid DIY skin treatments like these. This is because these DIY rollers can cause even more damage to your skin by puncturing too deep, creating more scarring, and spreading bacteria into your pores.
If you are interested in RF microneedling as an effective ice pick scar treatment, schedule a consultation at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic! Dr. Qazi is a microneedling expert, who can give you the results you want in a safe, sterile setting.
4. Hyaluronic Acid Injections
If the phrase ‘hyaluronic acid injections” sounds a little scary, don’t worry! Another word for this treatment is “dermal fillers,” which are completely safe and very popular with the Orange County crowd. Dermal fillers are a common treatment that can do everything from creating contour, balancing the face, reversing signs of aging, and treating acne scars.
Fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, which is a sugar complex that naturally occurs in the human body. This type of filler is the best because hyaluronic acid can be easily dissolved if needed. Fillers are also ideal because the body will naturally dissolve them after 6 to 12 months.
When you get fillers, they work in 2 ways: first, they create instant volume in the area where they are injected. Next, they boost your body’s collagen production over time. Because ice pick scars are indents in the skin caused by a shortage of collagen, dermal fillers can easily erase your acne scars. The best part about hyaluronic acid fillers for acne scars is that there is no downtime after the procedure. You may have slight swelling or bruising, but you are safe to go right back to work or school.
5. Laser Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing is another procedure that can treat a variety of cosmetic concerns, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, melasma, and more. It is also very effective for treating ice pick scars.
Laser treatments work in a very similar way to RF microneedling. The laser – either an ablative or non-ablative – can target the scarred area to resurface that area of the skin. When the top most layer of the skin is removed, the skin will heal itself and correct any cosmetic concerns. When you get laser treatment, it will also promote increased collagen production, which will further reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Please note that most types of laser treatments are not safe for patients with darker skin tones. At this time, the only laser on the market that won’t damage darker skin tones is the Pico laser. Laser treatment is also more involved than other ice pick scar treatments. You may experience peeling, redness, itching, temporary changes to sensation, and small blisters for 5 to 10 days after the procedure.
While some patients require multiple procedures to achieve their desired results, laser resurfacing is one of the most permanent solutions for acne scars. Unlike dermal fillers, which will wear off over time, laser resurfacing can make your acne scars go away for good.
Microdermabrasion is a form of skin resurfacing that is more subtle than other types of resurfacing like laser treatment and chemical peels. When you get microdermabrasion, Dr. Qazi will use a small diamond-tipped device to remove the topmost layers of the skin.
This procedure only works for patients who have shallow acne scars. If your ice pick scars extend deep into the skin, then microdermabrasion may not be effective for you. Dr. Qazi recommends microdermabrasion to complement another ice pick treatment, such as punch grafting or punch excision. Treatments involving punching out the scar can leave behind a small, white scar. If you do not want this scar to be visible, microdermabrasion can lessen the appearance of treatment scars and smooth out your skin texture after punch grafting.
7. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels work very similarly to laser resurfacing or RF microneedling. It removes the top most layer of the skin and prompts the skin to heal itself and to make more collagen. However, the effectiveness of a chemical peel depends on which type of peel that you get. “Lunchtime peels” and at-home kits only have superficial results and may not be able to penetrate the skin deep enough to treat ice pick scars.
Deep peels are the most effective way to completely transform your skin and treat many different cosmetic concerns at once. However, deep peels require more recovery time. You will also experience increased sensitivity, so you may need to stay out of the sun for 3 to 6 months after your deep peel to avoid damaging your skin.
Unlike laser resurfacing, chemical peels are safe for all skin tones and skin types. If you have darker skin and laser resurfacing isn’t safe for your skin tone, consider getting a chemical peel instead.
Accutane is a little different than the other treatments for ice pick scars. The good news is that this one does not involve any chemicals, needles, injections, or face poking. Accutane is a strong acne-reducing drug that can be prescribed to patients as a last resort to clear up their acne.
It is important to understand that Accutane does not fix your ice pick scars. What it does is prevent new acne from forming, including the deep, painful types of acne that result in ice pick scars. If you don’t have new breakouts, you won’t have any new ice pick scars.
If you are in your 20s or 30s and you have newly clear skin and are looking to get rid of your old acne scars, Accutane might not be right for you. Dr. Qazi recommends Accutane for teenage patients and anyone in their 20s who still experiences breakouts.
Once you start Accutane, you can expect to see results within 4 to 5 months. However, every patient is different. This process may require some time as well as trial and error to figure out what works best for your skin.
How Do I Decide Which Ice Pick Scar Treatment is Right For Me?
When it comes to treating ice pick scars, you have a lot of options. If it seems overwhelming, that is okay! Just schedule a consultation with Dr. Qazi and he can explain your options, discuss which is best for you, and make a recommendation.