Options To Treat Your Ice-Pick Scarring

Posted on: 30 August 2017

If you have gotten over acne, you may be pleased to have clear skin but disappointed with any depressions in the skin tissue. Sunken pits on the skin, or ice-pick scars, can thankfully be minimized or eliminated with cosmetic dermatology. Here are some options to consider.

Fat Transfers

Officially called microlipo-injections, this procedure is where a dermatologist takes fat cells from another area of the body and uses them on the scar tissue. Usually a patient will have fat cells removed from their thighs, navel, or buttocks. During the procedure, your dermatologist will remove the cells with a small needle-syringe instrument, clean them, and then inject then into the scar tissue.

Like any procedure, there is some risk of infection, swelling, bleeding, and even uneven skin texture. However, you'll be prescribed antibiotics to reduce these risks.


If you have many shallow ice-pick scars, this may be a good option. This treatment is also better for some people since it is non-invasive. During this procedure, your dermatologist will use either an abrasive tipped instrument or aluminum oxide crystals to "sand" your face. This action will bring up new layers of skin, thus smoothing out any scarring. The biggest downside is that you may need to go in for multiple sessions to get the results you want.

Punch Excisions

During a punch excision, your dermatologist will take a tool with a rounded blade and cut out the scar. After the scar is removed, he or she will stitch up both sides of the wound. For larger scars, a replacement graft—often taken from skin behind the ear—may be used to fill the wound.

This is a cost-effective cosmetic procedure compared to other options. The big downside is that while your pitted scar will be removed, you will be left with a light, tiny scar from the punch tool.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be used as gentle exfoliators with mild acids (e.g. alpha-hydroxy acid) or they can be used for deeper scars. Ice-pick scars need acids that can penetrate deeper layers of skin, like glycolic or tricholoracetic acid. These peels remove damage and smooth skin like dermabrasion.

Chemical peels can sting, especially when stronger acids are used. However, your dermatologist will use special gels to reduce this irritation. Chemical peels are best for people with lighter skin tones. While patients with darker skin tones can see some improvements, other procedures for ice-pick scarring are usually better.

There are many more cosmetic options that can help your scarring, so talk with a local dermatologist for more information.