Acne Scarring: The 6 Best Treatments
Even after you’ve gotten rid of a stubborn pimple, you may be left with an unpleasant reminder in the form of a scar. These scars form when the dermis is damaged, typically from picking at or popping a zit. Acne scars may not be as physically irritating as acne itself, but they can reduce ones confidence and linger for years. Its important to find the best treatment to get rid of those pesky pigmentations as quickly as possible.
Just as there are several effective treatments for acne, there are a number of ways to get rid of acne scars. We wont list every single method, brand, or product here, but we will go over the 6 best treatments for acne scarring.
Why Are My Acne Scars Getting Worse
What makes acne scarring worse? Your own DNA plays a role in your scars! Your genes determine how well your skin heals, the amount of collagen produced and the depth of the acne lesions also controls the severity of the scars. However, you can make the scarring worse by smoking, squeezing the acne and picking at it.
A Second Option For Treating Acne Scars
Our more aggressive strategy is to use a combination of both TCA chemical peels and non-ablative fractional laser treatments for acne scar reduction.
- TCA peels assist in removing several layers of superficial skin to thin the epidermis and soften the depth of acne ice-pick scars.
- TCA peels will also help correct acne based post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin residual from an acne breakout, also known as acne dark spots.
- We alternate TCA chemical peels every other week with fractional laser energy which is delivered into the skin causing an inflammatory response leading to the creation of new collagen fibers.
The two treatments complement each other with the goal of thinning the top layers with peels and thickening the dermal layer with the laser. Treatments in this combination produce significant improvement.
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What Are The Features Of Persistent Scarring
Unfortunately, true acne scars never completely disappear, although their appearance usually improves with time. They can be disguised with make-up .
The following types of scar occur in acne:
- Ice-pick scars these are deep, narrow, pitted scars
- Rolling scars broad depressions with a sloping edge
- Boxcar scars broad depressions with sharply defined edges
- Atrophic scars flat, thin scars or depressed scars
- Hypertrophic or keloid scars thick lumpy scars.
What Are The Side Effects Of Laser Acne Scar Removal
Expect redness and swelling similar to a bee sting in the skin immediately following your laser acne scar reduction session. The swelling puffs out the skin and creating an illusion that the pock mark scars are gone. Swelling will fade over the next few days while the regeneration of collagen will continue to remodel the skin for up to six months following treatment.
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How Do Dermatologist Get Rid Of Acne Scars
Deep scars often require skin surgery and resurfacing. Dermatologists use fillers to safely and effectively plump depressed acne scars. A dermatologist may fill acne scars with collagen, the patients own fat, or another substance. Many fillers give us temporary results, which last between 6 and 18 months.
Whats The Best Topical Acne Scar Treatment Cream
There are myriad of choices for acne treatments, some of which prove to be less effective as options when it comes to treating acne scarring.
Most scar treatments require invasive treatment via a small surgical procedure or even in the case of lasers, create deliberate punctures and new controlled wounds to help even out skin texture. Creams and gels alone cannot remedy deep scarring because the problem lies in the deep tissue healing structure and not so much a surface level malady.
However, for the case of hyperpigmentation that appears after your acne has healed, there are a few possible topical treatments you can consider that have been shown to be quite effective.
Hyperpigmentation occurs near the top of the skin, which can be reached more readily by topical applications, which is why creams and gels are able to address pigment related scarring. Not all topical gels work well, so a lot of money has gone into research to find the most effective combination of ingredients that work in concert to deal with pigment-related scarring.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is a highly-recommended formula by many skincare professionals and experts. It has potent antioxidants as well as vitamin C which is known to lighten darkened brown spots. It also contains vitamin E which is a known natural preservative and protective qualities for skincare.
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Can Acne Scars Be Removed Permanently
Yes, acne scars can be removed permanently but not in all cases. Most doctors agree that the complete removal of acne scars can depend on several different factors. Milder acne scars cause by whiteheads, and blackheads almost always disappear completely. Acne scars caused by pimples and cysts are not that easily removed. Depending on the position of a scar, its looks, and severity, some of these scars cant be completely removed.
Acne scars that appear on the places where skin has more fat usually disappear faster than those formed in places with less fat, i.e. forehead. Collagen works faster in areas where cystic acne hadnt destroyed skin and fat.
All in all, none can guarantee that acne scars can be removed in every patient. Based on different factors at hand, one should always consult their dermatologist on what is the best route to take in removing acne scars, and the ways to prevent new ones from forming.
Raised Acne Scars: Treatment Can Ease Pain Diminish Scars
Other treatments that a dermatologist may use to treat raised acne scars follow.
InjectionsYour dermatologist may recommend injecting medicine directly into the scars. This can soften and flatten raised, thick scars.
Getting the best results often requires repeat visits. These injections are usually given once every few weeks. How often you will need to return for treatment depends on the scar and many other considerations. You may need to return once every two to six weeks for a while.
Many patients receive injections of corticosteroids. A chemotherapy medicine known as fluorouracil can also be effective in treating raised acne scars. Some scars respond best when injections of both 5-FU and corticosteroids are used.
Interferon, which is also used to treat cancer, can be effective. Our bodies naturally produce interferon.
If the scar does not respond after you receive the 4th injection, acne scar surgery may be recommended.
Best for: Painful, raised scars
Acne scar surgeryDermatologists perform acne scar surgery to reduce raised acne scars. This surgery can be performed in a dermatologists office.
To obtain the best results, acne scar surgery is often followed by another treatment.
Acne scar surgery, followed by radiationStudies show that radiation can prevent raised scars from returning after acne scar surgery. Due to the potential for radiation treatments to cause problems years or decades later, some doctors do not recommend radiation treatment.
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Its Never Too Late To Treat Those Scars
Although its not possible to get rid of your acne scars quickly, its never too late to treat them. Teenage patients may have to wait until their early 20s before undergoing treatment to make sure theres little risk of future acne flare-ups.
While theres no real way to get rid of acne scars naturally and at home, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of getting acne scars:
- Quit smoking or dont start smoking.
- Keep your hands off of your face. Resist the urge to pick or squeeze your pimples.
- Treat your acne as soon as possible to reduce the chance of scars.
Scarring can happen at any age, no matter if youre a teenager and your hormones are changing or youre an adult. Sometimes when adults lose weight or lose elasticity in their skin as they age, scarring from years past becomes more evident.
Occasionally, we will actually remove a pitted scar that we know wont heal well with standard treatment using a technique called punch excision, she says. This is where the whole scar and hair follicle are removed prior to resurfacing.
Another treatment that may be helpful before any of the lasers or peels is called subcision, a procedure that involves releasing a scar thats bound to the muscle or deeper tissues so that it can move freely again. Both of these techniques are used with deeper scars to bring them to the surface to enhance their response to the laser, chemical peel or microneedling.
How Long Will The Effects Of Laser Acne Treatment Last
One of the most common questions about laser treatment for acne scars is whether the results will be permanent. If youre paying for private treatment to get rid of your scars, then you will want to be sure that the effects will last as long as possible.
- Ablative laser acne treatments should produce permanent results, but the effects of the treatment will depend on the severity of the scarring and how well your skin heals. Additional treatment is rarely needed for this type of laser therapy, but the scar can sometimes re-appear.
- Laser resurfacing can produce permanent results, especially when the scarring is mild. It can take some time for the full effects of the treatment to become apparent as collagen is produced, but once these are visible they will usually be long lasting. In some cases, further treatment sessions may be needed in the future.
- Laser acne treatment can help with some kinds of pigmentation changes caused by acne. The effects should last for a long time, but they arent always permanent. The discolouration can sometimes return after many months. This is the least permanent type of laser treatment, although it can have long lasting effects for many people.
It usually takes multiple sessions to complete the laser treatment. You may need to wait weeks or months to see the full effects of the treatment. Since you are committing a substantial amount of time to the treatment, you will want to know beforehand how long the effects will last.
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Can A Scar Be Removed From Your Skin
Keep in mind that while scar removal creams can greatly reduce how prominent a scar is, your scar cannot be completely removed from your skin since it is a part of it. Scar removal creams are made with a number of different ingredients. Each one is selected to give you the most skin healing benefits possible.
Some Common Acne Scar Treatments Include:
- Microdermabrasion: A specialist machine applies tiny rough particles to remove the uppermost layer of skin.
- Chemical Peel: Probably the best-known treatment, this removes the outer layer of old skin by using a chemical solution, encouraging new skin to grow that is usually less scarred.
- Laser Resurfacing: A laser is used to remove scarred upper layers of skin, thereby encouraging new healthy collagen to grow in its place.
- Microneedling: Under this procedure, small needles are used to create controlled micro-injury to the skin, which helps to stimulate the body’s collagen production & smooth acne scarring.
- Subcision: This economical, simple treatment is for severe acne scarring a needle is used to break apart the fibrous bands of tissue that prevent the skin from laying in its natural position.
- Laser/Light Therapy: An intense yet gentle beam of light treats the acne without damaging surrounding tissue.
- Dermabrasion: This is the surgical sanding of the outer skin layer on acne scars.
- Soft-tissue fillers: A filler is injected directly into the acne scar to improve skin appearance.
- Excision & Punch Replacement Graft: This involves cutting into the skin to remove the acne scar & then stitching the wound. In punch replacement grafting, the scar is removed with a special tool, & a skin graft usually taken from behind the ear fills the wound.
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What To Do First
Acne scars are created when skin tissue is damaged. Doing things like picking at and popping pimples can definitely damage your skin and cause scarring. But even if you’re really careful with your skin, scars can still develop.
Severe blemishes, those that are very inflamed, are more likely to scar. And for people who are very prone to scarring, even minor blemishes can leave scars.
If you have noticed some scarring, there are a few things you can do. First things firstacne needs to be brought under control. If you haven’t seen a dermatologist yet, do it.
Don’t waste time using over-the-counter products. If acne is scarring your skin, getting on a prescription acne treatment ASAP will help minimize scarring.
If you’re already being treated by a dermatologist, follow their directions exactly and let them know if you have any concerns. Once your skin is fairly clear, then you can decide on what steps to take next for treating your scars.
Why Do Acne Scars Occur
Why do some people have acne scars, while others dont?
The reasons vary, but genetics is one risk factor for scarring. If a blood relative struggles with acne scarring, you might, too, according to the American Academy of Dermatology . Also, scarring tends to happen more as the skin loses collagen with age.
Because collagen plays a role in the healing process, your skin produces new collagen as it repairs itself after a breakout. But sometimes, it produces too little or too much, resulting in a scar.
Keep in mind that acne is an inflammatory condition. Scar development has a lot to do with the extent and duration of skin inflammation, so delaying acne treatment raises the risk of scarring, according to the AAD.
Acne scars result from a complex and abnormal inflammatory response, which results in poor wound healing, says Kara Shah, MD, a board-certified general and pediatric dermatologist with Kenwood Dermatology in Cincinnati.
Because scarring is a complication of acne, anyone who experiences a breakout can have temporary or permanent scars, according to the NHS yet scarring is most common in those who suffer from inflammatory acne characterized by numerous pimples and cysts, says Dr. Shah.
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What Should I Expect After Treatment For Acne Scar Reduction
Within about 4 weeks you will begin to see acne scars reduce after your first Laser and TCA peel. The collagen in your skin will continue to create improvement for up to 6 months following sessions. You can also expect dark spots to start fading within one week after using acne scar treatment creams.
How Does Laser Scar Removal Work
Energy-based treatments are unique cosmetic interventions for a wide variety of appearance concerns, particularly concerns related to the skin. For the removal of scars, the most common type of laser treatment is laser skin resurfacing with a non-ablative laser.
Laser skin resurfacing is an umbrella term for many cosmetic treatments that treat the surface of the skin to help diminish the appearance of superficial skin concerns, including scarring. Skin resurfacing can use an ablative laser, which removes the topmost layer of skin, or a non-ablative laser, which does not injure the surface of the skin. At our office, we use a non-ablative laser to reduce the appearance of scars by removing the dead cells that make up scar tissue.
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Get Rid Of Scars For Good
Removing scars and stretch marks with a scar removal treatment can help you get back to a more youthful and healthy skin appearance. We can permanently remove scars or just reduce the visibility of scars with a treatment. If you are ready for a more flawless and confident appearance, visit Westover Hills Dermatology in San Antonio, TX today for a consultation.
What Is A Scar
When wounds heal, they often result in scarring. Collagen fibers help heal the skin and result in discoloration where the wound was. Scars can range from barely noticeable to large, attention-grabbing marks on the body. Scars can also have a raised appearance due to excess collagen. Acne scarring on the face is a common scar that people often want to remove or reduce. Scars can also be the result of injury and accidents, and skin conditions and diseases may also cause scars.
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Acne Scar Treatment No: Radiofrequency With Microneedling Treatment
This powerful combination is designed to rebuild collagen and elastin using pulses of light energy from radio waves with microscopic needles that gentle puncture skin to help fill the indentation acne scars tend to leave behind.
The idea is to leave skin looking brighter and firmer with scars looking smaller and lighter in colour, whilst skin texture is left touchably smoother.
Unlike with IPL, this can work no matter what your skin tone and has minimal downtime, with redness only sticking around for an hour or two after.
How To Prevent Acne Scars
The best prevention for acne scarring is to optimize acne treatment with a good skin-care routine, a healthy diet, and an appropriate treatment regimen, says Shah.
Since reducing skin inflammation can lessen scars, dont ignore an acne problem even if its mild.
You should treat acne with over-the-counter creams or facial washes containing active acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If these dont work, see a board-certified dermatologist, the Mayo Clinic advises.
Regular use of a topical retinoid like tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene has been shown to both prevent and reduce the appearance of acne scars, and these are commonly prescribed by a dermatologist as part of an acne skin-care regimen, says Shah.
Prevention also involves being gentle with your skin and avoiding practices that could irritate your skin and exacerbate inflammation.
Dont pick at your acne, and avoid using any skin-care products that are abrasive, like scrubs and loofahs or washcloths, warns Shah. She also encourages daily sunscreen use to reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
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