Acne scars most frequently occur on the face and neck areas, however patients who have a tendency to scar can present with acne scars on the back, shoulders and chest areas.
These scars are usually different compared to the scars on facial areas, and are usually raised, lumpy and red.
This type of scarring is called hypertrophic or keloid scars, and are more difficult to treat compared to scars on the face. Very early scars can be softened with Vascular laser, however steroid injections work best.
Most patients will notice improvement with a series of steroid injections.
I had my scars on the shoulders and back treated with injections and laser. My scars are still there, but much less lumpy. I had 4 treatments over 6 months- overall very happy with the results.
We still don't know why some patients with trunkal acne (or bacne - back acne) scar and others don't. Genetics play an important part in acne scarring, additionally patients with severe acne seem to scar more easily. This applies to cases of cystic acne.
Acne causes inflammation in your skin, breaking the ordered scaffolding of collagen fibres, this disorder of collagen, coupled with an altered healing process forms scars. Most cases of acne scars on the body are lumpy, hard, raised and red- this is known as hypertrophic scarring or keloid scarring and is most common on the upper back, shoulders and chest area. In many cases, this type of scarring is itchy or can be painful.
It is very important to treat active acne in these areas, to prevent scarring.
The best treatment for raised or hypertrophic acne scars is NOT laser treatment. A simple method of reducing scars on the body involves a series of injections. Injection with corticosteroids reduces inflammation and slows down the overgrowth of tissue causing scars. One treatment should decrease the lump by 30-40%. Most patients require 2-4 treatments depending on the severity of acne scarring.
The discomfort of this procedure can be reduced with the application of ice or with our special Zimmer Cooler applied to the treated area before injections.
The redness of acne scars can be decreased with the use of V Beam vascular laser treatment. This laser can target the blood vessels in red acne scars.
- Steroid injections for acne scarring are partially covered under Medicare
- V Beam Vascular laser for acne scars are NOT covered under Medicare
Laser can be an excellent method of treating acne scars on the face and neck areas, however they are of limited value for treating acne scarring on the trunk and shoulders. As a rule, we do not encourage Fraxel or Fractional lasers for lumpy scars. Hypertrophic or lumps should be treated with steroid injections, or with Vascular lasers such as V Beam. The aim of scar treatments on the body is to firstly decrease the lumpiness, then the redness. In some cases scars can be painful and itchy, and corticosteroid injections can help.
Creams have limited efficacy for acne scars, however creams and washes maybe effective in reducing the amount of back acne or bacne. Washes containing Benzoyl Peroxide can reduce the amount of acne lesions.
Bio Oil and Vitamin E cream can be used on early scars, and in some cases may help reduce the amount of scarring. Massaging the scars firmly with Bio Oil may reduce the lumpiness over time. You will need to continue for several months to notice a mild to modest difference.
Apart from treating acne scars on the back, it is very important to treat any active acne to help PREVENT scarring.
If your acne is mild, treatments such as Doxycycline or Minocycline antibiotics coupled with Benzoyl Peroxide washes (Benzac AC) can be effective.
If you have severe bacne with lumps and cysts, Roaccutane maybe indicated.
Treatments will vary in depending on the extent of scarring, as a guide-
- Injections of corticosteroid costs between $90-180.
- Vascular laser treatments are between $180-$280 per treatment.
- Initial consultation with Specialist $198
In most cases patients will require at least 2-3 treatments for optimal results. Treatments such as corticosteroid injections are partially claimable via Medicare.
Our acne scar clinic runs from Monday to Saturday at the Westside Laser Dermatology. A referral from a GP will enable patients to claim a percentage of the consultation fee as well as any procedures from Medicare.
For more information on booking times and the referral process call 07 3871 34 37. Saturday appointment spaces are limited.
Acne scars on the body are very difficult to remove, but easy to treat! The best way to reduce the likelihood of scarring is to start an effective scar reduction program and acne treatment program. If you are starting to scar up- seek help early. Acne can be cured!
Dr Davin S. Lim
Acne Specialist Clinics
Westside Laser Dermatology
Scarring secondary to acne on the body is much harder to treat compared to acne scarring on the face. Never the less, treatments are possible. The most commonly affected areas on the body are the upper back, shoulder, chest and sternum areas, and most scars are either hypertrophic or nodular- red, lumpy, hard scars. Prevention is better than cure, and treating acne early is very important to reduce further scarring.
Hypertrophic scarring can be reduced with the use of corticosteroid injections. Injections do not remove the scars, but make them less lumpy, and less visible. Most patients will require at least 2-3 injections, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Red scars can be treated with vascular laser such as V Beam. Laser therapy may soften the scars over time.