Acne Scars

Ducharme Dermatology, Inc

Erin Ducharme, MD, FAAD

Board-Certified Dermatologist located at the junction of Waukee & Clive, Iowa

Dealing with acne is irritating enough, it’s worse when your breakouts leave behind ugly scars that not only damage your skin but your self-esteem as well. To get help improving your appearance and your confidence, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Erin Ducharme, MD at Ducharme Dermatology, Inc. in Clive and Greater Des Moines Area, Iowa to discuss an acne scar treatment plan.

Acne Scars Q & A

What are the different types of acne scars?

The most common acne scars include:

Atrophic or depressed scars

Most often found on your face, depressed scars form when your skin doesn’t produce enough collagen while your wound heals. There are three kinds of atrophic scars that sit below the surrounding skin:

  • Boxcar: Wide, U-shaped scars with sharp edges
  • Ice pick: Narrow, V-shaped scars that go deep into your skin
  • Rolling: Wide depressions with rounded edges and an irregular appearance

Hypertrophic or raised scars

Most commonly found on your chest and back, hypertrophic scars result when your skin produces too much collagen during healing and stand above the surface of your surrounding skin.

Dark spots

Discoloration left behind after a blemish heals isn’t a scar, and the purple, red, or brown marks fade on their own over time. Sunscreen is important to help these dark areas fade and Dr. Ducharme can recommend over the counter and prescription lightening creams as well as chemical peels to hasten the process.

How are acne scars diagnosed?

To diagnose your acne scars, Dr. Ducharme reviews your acne history and examines your skin.

How are acne scars treated?

For best results in getting rid of your acne scars, Dr. Ducharme first helps you eliminate your breakouts. This first step is vital because new acne breakouts lead to additional acne scars, and blemishes also indicate that your skin is inflamed. Inflammation reduces acne scar treatment effectiveness.

Acne treatments include topical medications and oral medications. Topical medications include:

Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs

These creams, gels, and lotions derived from vitamin A work by preventing hair follicle plugging.


Used in combination with either retinoids or benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics work by killing excess skin bacteria and reducing inflammation.

Azelaic acid

Naturally occurring and found in whole-grain cereals, azelaic acid has antibacterial properties and is even more effective when used in combination with antibiotics.

Salicylic acid

Available as both wash-off and leave-on products, salicylic acid helps prevent your hair follicles from becoming clogged.

Some of the oral medications Dr. Ducharme prescribes include:

  • Antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation
  • Combined oral contraceptives
  • Anti-androgen agents block androgen hormones if oral antibiotics don’t help
  • Isotretinoin when severe acne doesn't respond to other treatments

Once you’re blemish free, Dr. Ducharme offers several methods to reduce the appearance of your scars including: 

  • Chemical peel: repeated applications of salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid.
  • Microneedling
  • Extraction of white and blackheads: using special tools
  • Steroid injection: for nodular and cystic lesions 

For clearer skin through acne scar treatment call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Erin Ducharme, MD at Ducharme Dermatology, Inc. in Clive, Iowa.