After your acne has cleared, and your skin is no longer inflamed, you can consider treating any scars that the acne has left. Continued inflammation can reduce the effectiveness of treating the scars.
Acne Scars’ Appearance?
Acne scars on the face usually cause pits or depressions in the skin where underlying collagen has healed the skin but is insufficient to raise it to be smooth. Raised scars, where the healing response has produced too much collagen, are more common on the back and chest, other sites for acne.
What Causes Acne Scars?
If you have had inflammatory acne, cysts, or nodules, your acne might have penetrated deep into your skin, damaging it. The longer you have inflammatory acne, scarring is more likely. Never pick, squeeze, or pop acne! This also increases inflammation. If people in your family have developed acne scars, you are more likely to also have them. The best way to guard against acne scars is to treat your acne before it becomes severe. If you have been treating your acne with isotretinoin (Accutane, for instance), under a doctor’s care, you must finish that treatment completely before trying to reduce your acne scarring.
Your Body Heals Itself
When your skin and the tissue beneath it are damaged by acne, your body works to repair the damage. In a healing response, your body produces collagen. The right amount of collagen restores your smooth skin; too little, you get a depressed scar or pitting, and too much, you get a raised scar.
Treating Depressed Acne Scars
A few depressed but very noticeable acne scars can be treated with surgery, which can lift the scar and make the subsequent healing scar less visible.
If your scarring is widespread and not too deep, you can consider resurfacing your skin by removing layers of skin and allowing your body to produce new skin cells. These treatments include laser skin resurfacing, chemical peeling, and microdermabrasion.
Dermal fillers can safely and effectively plump up depressed acne scars. The doctor can fill the scars from below with collagen, contained in many dermal fillers, or your own fat. This treatment is best for a few depressed scars.
Skin tightening works well for all skin colors, and can use a radiofrequency technology. The tightening skin makes the scars less noticeable. This treatment requires repeat appointments, and involves some at-home care, which your aesthetician will detail for you.
Collagen-induction, or a way of encouraging your body to make more collagen, is another name for microneedling. A device studded with tiny needles pierces your skin, inducing the healing response to create more collagen. This treatment also can be used for all skin colors with widespread depressed scars, but not for raised scars. You will see gradual changes over 9 months or so, and might require 3 to 6 treatments.
Treating Raised Acne Scars
Raised acne scars are more difficult to treat. Treatments include injections, surgery and injections, surgery and radiation, laser or IPL therapy, cryosurgery, and creams and gels.
Most treatments can reduce the size and visibility of acne scars, and with time they fade and become less noticeable. As with many conditions, the best treatment is preventing the scars from forming in the first place.
If you have acne scars that you would like to treat, call and come in for a consultation.