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Acne scars: causes, symptoms and treatments

PHI Clinic is a specialist centre for the safe and effective treatment of acne scarring. Its expert team offers the latest advances to address both fresh and mature acne scars.

Acne scars: causes and symptoms

It is estimated that 80% of people aged 11-30 will be affected by acne, a condition most commonly triggered by hormonal changes in puberty and pregnancy. When the acne has subsided, scars are often left behind. Scarring is usually caused by scratching and picking at active acne, which can lead to crater-like depressions, pitted indents or raised lumps and bumps. Scars can also be very red in appearance, particularly when they are newly formed. Quite understandably, those affected by acne scars can be very distressed by the appearance of their skin.


Acne sufferers are often prescribed medication or FDA approved acne treatments to clear their spots but little attention is paid to the scars left behind. This is an opportunity missed because it is best to treat acne scars when they are fresh. If scars are left untreated, they can be more stubborn and more difficult to treat later on.

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Acne scar treatment

Unfortunately, treatments for acne scarring are regarded as cosmetic in Britain, and are largely unavailable on the NHS. Scarring is also a very specialist area, requiring a bespoke approach for optimum results. Different types of scarring respond better to different types of treatment, and it is common for a person to have more than one type. Therefore it often requires a combination of therapies to make the biggest impact on acne scars.


Our team of acne scarring experts at PHI Clinic London specialise in treating all scar conditions, and offers the very best treatments for acne scars. We offer the latest and most proven technology, with treatments led by our highly-qualified experts. We can treat scars that are both freshly formed or mature, creating a treatment plan tailored to you.


Acne scarring is a widespread concern among individuals with a history of severe acne, and its impact on one's skin can be profound. Various types of acne scars, such as ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars, can result in permanent scarring, affecting both light and dark skin types. The ideal treatment for acne scars often involves skin rejuvenation methods that address the damaged skin tissue and promote the growth of healthier skin. The suitability for treatment depends on factors such as skin tone, type of scars, and individual preferences. Choosing the right treatment is crucial for achieving smoother skin, as it involves removing dead skin layers and stimulating the production of collagen, leading to the replacement of scarred tissue with rejuvenated, pink skin.

Secret RF PRO: CO2 laser energy treatment

Secret RF PRO is an advanced treatment used to reduce the depth of acne scars and create a smoother, more uniform appearance to the skin. This high-tech skin regenerating device combines the proven technologies of fractional CO2 laser and radiofrequency microneedling to safely and effectively treat acne scarring. Secret PRO is a specialist treatment led by one of our highly skilled doctors.


During a Secret RF PRO treatment, a CO2 laser is used to fractionally ablate the epidermal layer of the skin, and radio-frequency micro-needles is used to heat the deeper dermal layer. Secret PRO is essentially a controlled injury which triggers a healing response across multiple levels of the skin. This regenerates collagen and elastin, and stimulates tissue remodelling to dramatically improve the appearance of acne scarring.


The treatment is well tolerated thanks to a combination of numbing cream and a cryocooler which blows cold air on the skin to minimise discomfort. Patients should expect redness, swelling and crusting skin afterwards, with downtime depending on the intensity of the treatment.

UltraClear laser treatment

UltraClear is a ground-breaking new laser that can be used to treat acne scarring, among many other skin concerns. It stimulates tissue regeneration to smooth out pitted skin safely and effectively. It is the first resurfacing laser to be FDA approved for treating all skin types and tones. It uses a new wavelength developed to be more comfortable for the patient, as well as safe for all skin tones.


UltraClear is a unique ‘cold laser’ beam which minimises post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other thermal-induced side effects which are common in darker skin types. The deeper setting is used to treat acne scarring as well as deep lines and wrinkles. The laser ablates the surface layer of the skin, which triggers a healing response. This stimulates new collagen production to fill in pitted scars, which gives skin a smoother appearance and texture. Downtime for acne scar treatments with UltraClear is far less than traditional ablative laser therapy.

V Beam a Pulsed Dye Laser treatment

V Beam is a pulsed dye laser which reduces redness in acne scar tissue. It is therefore most effective on relatively fresh scars as these are typically more red in colour.


Treatment is quick, safe and comfortable. V Beam is a non-ablative laser which delivers gentle pulses of light to selectively target, shrink and destroy the damaged blood vessels responsible for redness in scar tissue. The surrounding tissue is left undamaged.


Patients feel a warm sensation during the treatment, but topical anaesthetic is not required. The device simultaneously releases cool air during the procedure for maximum comfort. Downtime afterwards is minimal.


For more information about acne scarring treatments and to discover which would be the most effective for you, please get in touch to book a consultation with one of our specialists.

Safe and effective treatment

Your safety is our top priority and making our patients feel welcomed and reassured when entering PHI Clinic. To ensure maximum standard of patient care, all of our treatments are only ever carried out by our experienced and highly qualified team, who receive regular in-house and external training from industry experts.

At PHI Clinic we do not offer same day treatment as initial consultation to ensure patients have time to reflect on their bespoke treatment plan before choosing to proceed. 

inside PHI Clinic London

Acne scars frequently asked questions


PHI Clinic
102 Harley Street,
W1G 7JB,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 7883 317963

Opening Hours

Monday & Tuesday - 9:30am to 6:00pm
Wednesday & Thursday - 9:30am to 8:00pm
Friday - 9:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday & Sunday - Closed

Opening times can change, if your appointment is outside of these times please contact the clinic for confirmation.