Acne Scar Treatments
(©copyright, NEWSdial.com) When you have acne flare ups, unless they’re very, very mild, chances are you’re going to end up with a few scars; or maybe even pretty extensive scars. It really can vary from person to person.
But the important thing is still that no matter how severe your scars are, there are options that you can pursue in order to reduce them, and maybe even remove them completely. Granted, the more severe your scars are, the harder it will be, but it is still possible.
Pretty much all of these treatments will need you to visit a dermatologist before you can carry them out. In fact, most of them will need to be carried out by the dermatologist himself, or a similarly trained specialist, as you’ll soon see.
So while we’re going to give you the lowdown on the type of options that you should consider, at the end of the day, you will need to get an expert to help you out.
Anyway, let’s begin to discover how it is possible for you to get rid of your acne scars and restore your skin to its original beauty.
One of the most popular ways to remove scars, or any spots in general, dermabrasion is very popular, and has evolved over the years.
Originally, undergoing dermabrasion meant, quite literally, sanding some of the topmost layers of skin off of the affected area. Not with sandpaper or anything like that of course, but with a special surgical tool.
What this tool amounted to was normally a high-speed brush, which would produce the sanding effect.
If you think that it sounds painful, well, you aren’t wrong. Honestly speaking, it is a very painful procedure, which is why using some form of anesthetic is a must while you undergo treatment of this kind.
Normally, the normal general anesthetic (which knocks you out completely) is used, but some do opt for twilight anesthetic (in which you are part conscious) instead. Either way, you should discuss it with your dermatologist.
Well, you might be wondering just how removing the top few layers of skin will help you with your scars.
Essentially, the idea upon which dermabrasion operates is the fact that by removing a few layers of skin, the scar can be ‘lessened’ or ‘sanded off’ gradually. Then, with time, new skin can grow over it to be smooth and more normal.
Because of this, dermabrasion is most effective on scars that protrude outwards, and in sunken scars, or rather, atrophic scars, it is not so useful. For some cases, especially with ice-pick scars, dermabrasion may actually invariably reveal a much bigger ‘hole’ after the first few layers of skin are taken off.
Still, it remains a very effective method of getting rid of scars, and any other spots in general.
Nowadays, the traditional ‘sander’ type surgical tool that was used for a long time has actually been replaced by more advanced technology. So dermabrasion can now be carried out using a carbon dioxide or Erbium:YAG laser
Compared to the more traditional method, that would leave skin raw and bleeding, dermabrasion that uses a laser is much more precise, and thus very rarely causes any bleeding at all.
Again, it is something that you should definitely ask your dermatologist about if you’re interested in undergoing this procedure.
Note: Anyone with dark skin should be aware that dermabrasion may cause pigmentation changes in the areas in which it is used.
As you probably guessed, microdermabrasion shares quite a bit in common with the dermabrasion that we were just discussing. In fact, it is based on the same principle.
So basically, once again, the top few layers of skin are removed, and by doing so, scars are lessened or removed completely. Incidentally, as it is based on the same concept as dermabrasion, it shares the same weakness: It too does not deal with sunken scars very well.
But that is where the similarities between microdermabrasion and dermabrasion end.
Unlike dermabrasion, which is a painful and invasive procedure, microdermabrasion is mild by comparison and not invasive at all. It doesn’t even require the usage of anesthetic, which should tell you something about juts how mild it is.
When microdermabrasion first started being used, it relied on the usage of tiny crystals that would be blasted onto the skin to remove the top layers of the skin. While this worked wonderfully, gradually more alternatives began to be developed.
One of the more popular alternatives in use today are the home microdermabrasion systems. These are now sold in kits that basically provide the same type of result as crystal microdermabrasion, but are slightly less effective.
Also, instead of crystals, most of these home kits use other types of particles.
There are many different types of these kits out there, but your dermatologist should be able to recommend one that suits your skin type. Do not try to just buy a kit and start self-treatment without advice from a medical expert though, as it could lead to complications.
In the area of professional-conducted microdermabrasion, there have been some advances too.
Although crystals are still widely in use, a new method of microdermabrasion involving using a diamond-tipped device to abrade the skin is now used. Generally, both crystal microdermabrasion and ‘diamond’ microdermabrasion are similarly effective.
Due to the fact that microdermabrasion is gentler than dermabrasion, its results are also slightly less effective. So where a single dermabrasion procedure might suffice for some scars, with microdermabrasion it might take two or three treatments.
Thus, microdermabrasion is a very nice alternative to dermabrasion, but in cases involving severe scarring, it might be best to just stick to dermabrasion itself.
Seeing as we’ve covered two procedures that deal primarily with protruding scars, it probably is time we got to one that can take care of depressed scars, and that would be subcision.
As a surgical procedure, it is one that is fairly involved, but it basically consists of using a needle sever the layers of tissue between the scar and the skin. When that it accomplished, blood will rush into the affected area and ‘fill it up’.
For deep depressed or sunken scars, this can even out the skin. Even if, after healing, a scar has re-formed on the surface of the skin, it can then be treated through either microdermabrasion, or a number of other methods which we’ll be discussing soon.
Basically, subcision allows sunken scars to be ‘corrected’ and then subsequently treated more easily, if necessary.
Of course, it will take time for the subcision-ed area to heal, and sometimes there could be some small bruising that will need to heal too.
At the end of the day though, the results of subcision speak for themselves.
Yet another procedure that deals with sunken or depressed scars, collagen injections are, unfortunately, a rather temporary measure.
When collagen is injected into a deep scar, it can even it out by ‘filling it up’. Therefore, once the injection is carried out, the affected area should appear a lot smoother, and more like it did before the scar.
However, collagen itself is non-permanent, and so the process would need to be repeated every 3 to 6 months for as long as you want to sustain it.
If you’re willing to commit to that, great.
Before you firmly decide on collagen injections though, you should definitely check if you have any autoimmune diseases or allergies. Most collagen used is bovine-sourced (from a cow), so if you’re allergic to anything like that, you’ll need to specifically use human collagen instead.
Similarly, if you have any autoimmune disease, you should never use any animal-sourced collagen.
All said and done, it is a rather nice solution, but the temporary nature of it would make most people think that it isn’t worthwhile.
Remember how lasers are currently being used in dermabrasion? Well, apart from that, there are also various other forms of usage for lasers in helping to remove acne scars and one of those is known as laser resurfacing (or sometimes, fractal laser resurfacing).
By wounding the skin using the laser, the molecular bonds themselves are targeted. Getting into an in depth analysis of how exactly laser resurfacing works is a bet out of our league right now, but what is more easily explained are the results that follow.
These results are twofold: First, damaged skin cells, no matter how deeply embedded they are, can be destroyed. Second, the growth of collagen can actually be stimulated within your very skin.
At first glance this is unremarkable. We just discussed collagen injections after all, and isn’t growing new collagen pretty much the same thing?
As a matter of fact, it isn’t. Because your own body is growing this new collagen, the effects are not temporary, unlike collagen injections. So as the new collagen grows and lifts the surface of the affected area, it fills out any previously sunken scars.
While this process is going on, and it normally takes about 4 months for the collagen stimulation to run its course, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in your acne scars.
Not only will your skin be more even, but the ‘scarred’ appearance should have been taken care of by the laser as well.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Well, although it certainly is true, it does have its downsides. Laser resurfacing can be a pretty large bill to foot, and if your insurance doesn’t cover it, this could be an issue. On top of that, if you have some pretty deep acne scars, it may take more than one treatment before enough collagen is stimulated to even them out completely.
With each treatment racking up a substantial bill, this only compounds the problem.
Still, laser resurfacing is a great way to get rid of acne scars, so if you’re really intent on waving goodbye to any and all scars you might have, it is worth pursuing it. Start off by consulting your dermatologist, and finding out if your insurance covers it.
If it does, then you could be well on your way to ridding yourself of acne scars.
Chemical Peels were made popular from an episode of Sex in the City where one of the main characters got one done just before a major event.
Chemical peels work on what might initially seem to be a very bizarre basis.
Certain chemicals are used in the process, and applied directly to the skin. While that isn’t really too bizarre, the result certainly is. For all intents and purposes, the aim of applying these chemicals is to get the skin to blister.
“But aren’t blisters bad?” you might ask. Well, yes, in most cases blisters are generally bad and intentionally wanting to cause blisters is really quite strange.
However, the blisters are being provoked for a reason. If you think back to any blisters you might have, and then think about what eventually happens to blisters, you might even guess it yourself.
Basically, eventually after the skin blisters up, it will start to peel.
And that is where the name ‘chemical peel’ comes from. This peeling of the skin is basically what you’re aiming for with any chemical peel. Reason being, once your skin does peel, it will expose a new layer of skin beneath it, which will regenerate.
It is this regenerated skin that is the desired final result. Not only is the new skin smoother, but it also lacks most of the marks, spots, and even scars that the old skin might have had.
Of course, using chemical peels to treat deep, sunken scars, or large outgrowths is pretty much impossible. Instead, chemical peels are more intended for the smaller, less obtrusive scars. Being cheaper than most other forms of treatment, in general, it is a very nice alternative.
In order to get a chemical peel, you should consult a dermatologist. While it is true that some chemical peels need not be carried out by a medical professional, it would be risky to just splash chemicals onto your skin without getting an expert opinion.
Currently, there are many types of chemicals that are used in chemical peels, and, naturally, a dermatologist would be in the best position to advise you on which one you should be using.
Typically though, the type of chemical peel that is most commonly and widely associated with acne scar removal is Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels.
Sometimes, scars can be tackled with a more heads-first approach, and none epitomizes that better than punch excision.
How it works is ridiculously simple. A surgical tool, known as a punch biopsy tool, pretty much just excises the scar itself. Yes, that does mean that it basically is used to cut it out entirely from the skin.
Once the scar is very physically removed, the edges of the skin in the newly formed wound are sutured together (or glued together using a special skin glue) and left to heal. In most cases, either the skin will heal perfectly, or, even if a scar does form it will be much smaller than previously.
Obviously, this type of technique is not intended for large scars, but works best on ice-pick scars.
Added to this, there are a couple of other variations to the technique that have been known to produce even better results. The two most common of these are known as punch elevation, and punch excision with skin graft replacement.
Both operate on roughly the same philosophy, that is, instead of just leaving the skin to heal, and risking another scar appearing, the excised part is actually replaced by something else. In the case of punch excision with skin graft replacement, well, it is a skin graft that is used.
Unfortunately, this has proven to be slightly problematic, as the skin graft may not have the same color and texture as the skin around it, even once healed.
Keeping that in mind, punch elevation seeks to correct the shortcoming of skin grafts by only excising the base of the scar, while leaving its walls alone. Following this, that very same base that was excised is ‘elevated’ to the skin’s surface, and sutured on.
By doing this, the color and texture of the skin has a much greater chance of being identical. At the same time, the advantage of reducing the risk of another scar appearing is also just as present as with skin grafts.
Autologous Fat Transfer
Last, but certainly not least in the list of acne scar removal treatments that we’re discussing is autologous fat transfer. Yes, the name really does describe it quite well, and it is the transfer of fat from one part of your body to another.
By extracting fat from any other part of your body, and then preparing it into an injection, you could use this technique to ‘fill out’ any depressions of sunken scars.
Basically, it is fairly similar to the collagen injections which we discussed earlier, but this time it is your own fat that is being used. That, and it tends to last longer than collagen, though the exact period does depend on the rate at which your body reabsorbs fat.
Frankly speaking that could be anything from 6 to 18 months.
Strictly temporary, it still is an avenue that is worth pursuing if you don’t want to go for the much more expensive solution of laser resurfacing. Repeating the process every so often would be necessary though, if you want to maintain the results.
Final Words on Scar Removal Treatments
Now that you know most of the treatment options, you should have a rough idea of which one would apply to you best.
And you also probably realize that removing and reducing your scars is far from a walk in the park, and can actually sometimes be a painful (literally!) process, depending on the treatment that you choose.
So yes, once again, prevention is definitely a better option, but no matter how hard you try, if you end up with a severe case of acne, you’re bound to get the scars the come along with it.
When that happens, then your only recourse is to fall back on one of the options that we were just discussing. It isn’t any reason to give up though; all that it means is that you’ll have to fight slightly harder to rid yourself of the last few remnants of acne.
If you want further help, advice, or even just wish to start on a treatment, then, as you probably already know, your first port of call should be your dermatologist.
Mention the treatment that you’re interested in, and get his or her opinion on it. Then, raise any questions regarding alternative recommendations that might be worth considering as well.
When all’s said and done, making sure that you choose exactly the right procedure for yourself is going to be very important. Especially seeing as some of the scar removal treatments are of the ongoing variety and could take months, or even years, for you to see through to the finish.
Once you do start on something however, keep to it, unless it very obviously isn’t working.
to Acne Reference Section
to Health Main Reference Category
Return to NEWSdial.com