16 Oct How to Remove Acne Scars
Once the redness, tenderness and swelling has subsided, you may feel like you’re in the clear — but unfortunately, acne often has other plans. Those who have suffered from chronic acne may be left with a reminder in the form of unsightly facial scars, which can be just as unpleasant as the acne itself.
All About Acne Scars
Acne scars don’t form just from picking at the scars; they can be formed just by simply having chronic acne, as the skin is always inflamed and irritated. These scars can take many forms, the most common of which are boxcar scars, which are square-shaped, depressed spots; rolling scars, which are also depressed but broader, and give the skin an uneven texture; and icepick scars, which are deep and narrow. Other scarring may also appear as a result of acne, such as keloid (raised) scars or hyperpigmentation.
Acne scarring can cause the same psychological impact as acne itself, with those suffering from the scars feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. While there are tons of at-home treatments lauded on the internet, acne scars can be particularly stubborn — and so-called natural remedies rarely, if ever, work on scars. Only a dermatologist will be able to accurately identify the types of acne scars you have and the best way to treat them.
Types of Acne Scar Treatments
A number of factors will determine the type of acne scar treatment that is best for you: the type of acne scarring and the condition of your skin. For milder acne scarring, for example, dermabrasion can be used; but darker skinned individuals may experience hyperpigmentation as a result of this treatment, and it is therefore avoided in those cases.
Chemical peels are also used for those with milder acne scarring, but it may not achieve any noticeable results for deeper scars such as icepick scars. Light chemical peels — such as those done in non-dermatological offices — may not have any effect. The best way to get results from a chemical peel is to visit the dermatologist.
The most common methods of acne scar treatment for deeper scarring include laser treatments, punch excision, subcision and fillers.
Laser treatments, such as the fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment, promotes collagen regeneration and can minimize acne scarring such as boxcar and rolling scars. Patients may need multiple treatments, however, to achieve ideal results — it can even take up to a year to complete a round of acne scar laser treatments, and results may not be noticeable until after a few weeks or months. Patience is key when opting for laser treatment for acne scarring.
The punch excision, or replacement graft, technique is often used on icepick scars. With this treatment, the dermatologist excises the scar and replaces it with a small skin graft; other times, the resulting hole is simply carefully sutured. You may still be able to see a very small, light scar as a result of this procedure, but it is far less noticeable than the icepick scar.
With subcision, depressed scars such as boxcar and rolling scars are raised with a surgical probe inserted under the scar. A filler may be added if necessary, though soft tissue fillers can also be used on their own to treat these types of depressed scars.
Preventing Acne Scars
Acne scars can be notoriously difficult to treat, so the first step is to prevent them from occurring. If you are experiencing frequent or chronic acne, ditch the at-home remedies and head to the dermatologist. He or she can help you come up with a treatment plan, which can include topical creams, antibiotics and even light therapy. By controlling chronic can, you can prevent scarring from ever becoming a problem that you need to treat.