After enduring acne for years, many patients are relieved to see an end to breakouts, but when scarring has occurred, patients search for an effective treatment to restore a smooth complexion.
Surprisingly, 20% of adult women suffer from acne. Although it is difficult to predict which patients will experience scarring, prevention of acne can reduce the numbers. Approximately 95% of patients with acne develop scarring to some degree. If you’re worried about scarring from acne, there are a few steps you can take to prevent the initial problem. These steps include minor lifestyle modifications and use of medications to treat acne. Your cosmetic dermatologist can help you determine the best regimen to reduce occurrence of acne.
There are a variety of different types of unsightly acne scars. Rolling scars result in a wavy appearance to the skin, and are caused by damage under the skin surface. Boxcar scars are similar to scars that result from chicken pox: they are angular and they have sharp vertical edges. Ice pick scars are unsightly deep pitting scars that extend deep into the layers of your skin. Some people have a genetic predisposition to form hypertrophic scars, which are raised, lumpy scars that result from hyperproliferation of the skin. Finally, some patients will develop long-lasting hyperpigmentation, which refers to darkening of the skin pigment after an acne pimple heals. Hyperpigmentation is not a scar, but a discoloration, and your dermatologist can recommend skin treatments to fade these dark macules.
For acne scars that refuse to fade away, you should seek consultation with a dermatologist to explore the wide range of treatment options currently available. When you have a scar, connective tissue formation can result in acne “pits” – these frequently occur in patients who have cystic acne. There are several different methods available to treat these lesions. Laser skin resurfacing over one to three sessions, using fractionated laser technology, can smooth the surface of the skin and increase the formation of the essential protein collagen. As new collagen forms, it fills in acne scars. Non-ablative laser treatments can activate collage production without resulting in damage to the top layer of skin. This will provide results without a long downtime associated with ablative laser technology.
Cosmetic dermatologic fillers are as useful for filling in indentations left by acne scars as they are for smoothing wrinkles and lines in your skins. Fillers are a temporary solution, because collagen is resorbed into your body through natural processes, usually over six to twelve months. There are several longer lasting fillers that have become available. Your cosmetic dermatologist can advise you of the best dermatologic filler to treat your acne scars.
All scars can darken when exposed to the skin, as ultraviolet rays from the sun stimulate the melanocytes, which are cells in the skin that produce pigment. If scarring troubles you, be certain to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever you are out of doors. Your cosmetic dermatologist may be able to recommend a skin-lightening solution that will help you even your skin tone and reduce thes dark spots.
Acne scar subscision is a minor surgical procedure in which your dermatologist uses a tiny instrument to detach connective tissue from the deeper layers of your skin, to lift deep scars. This procedure is performed in the clinic. By loosening tough connective tissue to raise your scar, your scars become less noticeable. Some patients elect to have dermatologic fillers after they have had acne subscision. This is a good approach for treatment to minimize the appearance of deep depressed scars.
Enhancement of collagen formation encourages your body to produce additional collagen that results in a smoother, rejuvenated appearance to acne-scarred skin. There are also medications that can be injected into your acne scar directly, to diminish the appearance of many acne scars, particularly those that are raised and bulky.
The first step towards safe and effective treatment of acne scars is a consultation with an experienced cosmetic dermatologist. Your dermatologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will result in the best possible results for acne scarring.
If acne scars trouble you, prevention is critical. A licensed cosmetic dermatologist is best able to prescribe treatments to minimize outbreaks, resulting in fewer scars. For many people who have experienced resolution of their acne but remain troubled by scars on their complexion, a comprehensive treatment plan should be based upon the quantity and quality of your acne scars. Sometimes a variety of approaches are indicated. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment recommendations that will address your individual needs. We have convenient locations in Beverly Hills, Encino, and Glendale, and our staff is standing by to make your appointment for a consultation with an experienced specialist in the treatment of unsightly acne scars.