Best Way to Remove Ice Pick Scars?

I was one of those lucky kids who developed terrible acne as an adolescent and have several ice pick scars on my face because of it. If it's at all feasible, I would very much like to get rid of them permanently, but understand it's not always such a simple process. Is that true though? Wouldn't the right peel take care of them, or am I dreaming in Technicolor thinking this? And if it could only be done with lasers or some other more involved technique would I have to sell my first born in order to pay for it?


F, 45, Tennessee

Fraxel laser resurfacing with punch excision is a possible option for some people, but you would have to consult with a professional experienced in this technique to determine if it's suitable for your skin. The cost of Fraxel resurfacing varies by geographical area, but you can expect to pay a minimum of $900 for a full-facial treatment. The resurfacing occurs after an excision to surgically remove the wound and seal the skin. Excision may still leave a small scar, but it's generally less noticeable than the initial scars.

There are also some treatments options that slowly promote the growth of fresh collagen in and around the scars, but it can take a year or longer to see the results of those treatments. This is a good alternative if you don't want to pay for expensive resurfacing that may or may not work.

I read chemical peels don't always work. I even read they sometimes make things worse. I had acne during my teenage years. My life would have been perfect if I had perfect skin. Acne is double jeopardy because it also leaves behind scars that I had almost for the rest of my life. After trying out many different products, All Purpose Hydroquinone Cream was the one that removed my acne scars. I'm still recovering from years of having ugly skin.

You can try it yourself and it's not expensive. Just ask your doctor first before trying it out, because hydroquinone isn't good with certain medicines.

I understand how it feels to finally recover from acne only to learn that it has left behind bad scarring! I had acne on my face and back as a teenager, and the acne on my face left behind some pitted scarring while my "bacne" left me a couple of keloid scars. 

When I was first left with the scars, I was young and really didn't have the money to try anything other than at-home creams. I used a 10-percent alpha hydroxy acid cream for a couple of years and then later switched to a prescription tretinoin cream. Neither healed the scars completely, but it got them to a point where they are much less noticeable. 

However, I have looked into other treatments for them, and I have heard good things about TCA peels, punch excision, and suturing. TCA peels are much stronger than at-home facial peels, and I know someone who had one done professionally and did not pay too much for it. It worked very well to even out her skin. I have read that punch excision and suturing is a better, yet likely somewhat more costly, treatment for ice pick scars that works very well. 

If I were you, I would schedule a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon and see what they recommend and how much it will cost. Good luck!

Chemical peels and lasers aren't all that effective in this situation because ice pick scars typically extend deep into the skin. Surface treatments may improve the overall appearance of the skin, but they usually can't get deep enough to fully repair ice pick scarring.