Severe nodular or cystic acne can lead to acne scars. Even less serious pimples can lead to scarring if they are treated improperly.
Acne scar removal is a cosmetic dermatology procedure. At this time, there aren't any at-home treatments you can use to remove an acne scar. No, unfortunately, acne scar removal can only be accomplished through more serious procedures.
There are six basic methods of acne scar removal. Each will be briefly covered here and more deeply explored on its own page.
Dermabrasion is the removal of the top layer of the skin. It is sometimes known as "resurfacing" (not to be confused with laser resurfacing, below). Dermabrasion is expensive, can require multiple treatments, and is most effective on shallow acne scars.
Laser resurfacing ablates the tissues of the skin using a laser beam (as opposed to physical abrasion). Laser resurfacing is more expensive than dermabrasion but less invasive, with a shorter recovery time. It is most effective against shallow, rather than deep, acne scars.
Chemical peels remove acne scars through a similar method, but in this case skin tissue is removed through acidic reaction. Chemical peels very greatly in strength and can have a long recovery period. On the plus side, they're less expensive than laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. Unfortunately, chemical peels are helpful only in cases of mild acne scarring.
Subcision is a technique that involves cutting away the tissue under the scar, which allows new connective tissue to form. This method is effective against deeper acne scars and is frequently combined with one of the resurfacing methods mentioned above. Swelling from subcision can last up to two weeks.
This more drastic method of acne scar removal that involves either removing scar tissue or replacing it. These punch techniques are most frequently used to treat the deepest, most severe acne scars and are combined with resurfacing.
Collagen or fat injections are used to raise the skin under the scar, resulting in a more natural, smooth appearance. This can be a very expensive method of acne scar removal but fortunately there is a very short (sometimes instant) recovery time. The injections may last as long as six months -- they are temporary solutions, rather than permanent ones.