Dealing with the active breakouts of acne can be frustrating, as they can make people more conscious about their appearance and may leave permanent scars that are difficult to treat.
What are acne scars?
Acne scars are different than the temporary red marks that appear on the skin, they are permanent indentations that appear on the skin after the breakout of severe acne. Severe acne is characterized by large puss-filled cysts. When the cysts ruptures, the infected contents spill out through the break and affect the surrounding healthy tissues. Once the pore opened, the body attempts to repair its skin. This wound healing response can end up ends up developing a scar on the skin.
What are the types of acne scars?
- Atrophic scars. These are flat indentations caused by severe cystic acne and they heal under the top layer of the skin. There are three types of atrophic acne scars and their appearance vary depending on the person and the severity of acne breakouts.
- Boxcar scars. Boxcar scars are large box-like indentations caused by widespread acne and they usually appear on the lower cheeks and jaw.
- Ice pick scars. Ice pick scars are small narrow indentations that commonly appear on the cheeks. This type of acne scars is persistent and difficult to treat and requires aggressive treatment.
- Rolling scars. Rolling scars are deep marks with sloping edges that creates an uneven skin texture.
- Hypertrophic and keloid scars. while atrophic scars appear as indented marks, hypertrophic and keloid scars appear as raised scar tissue where the acne breakout occurred. Hypertrophic scars are the same size of acne while keloid scars are larger than acne and may spread beyond the original spot of acne breakout.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When acne heals, it leaves dark or pigmented spots on the skin. These spots heal on their own with a good skin care regimen.
What are the treatment options for acne scars?
Acne scars treatments can soften your skin texture and improve its appearance. Our expert dermatologists will help choose the treatment that suits your needs. Sometimes a combination of treatments may be required to get the best result.
For atrophic scars
Taking into account the severity of breakouts, type of scars, and the unique characteristics of each patient, our dermatologists provide several treatments for atrophic scars, including the following:
- Chemical peels. In this treatment, our dermatologist uses safe chemicals to remove the surface layer of your skin to allow new skin to grow. Different chemicals and acids are used depending on the type of scarring. They range from mild chemicals, like glycolic acid, to chemicals used in deeper peels.
- Dermabrasion. a special rotating device is used to sand down the top layer s of the skin. This treatment is particularly beneficial to improve the appearance of boxcar scars, but it may require multiple sessions to get the desired result.
- Dermal fillers. This treatment involves injecting hyaluronic acid in the indented areas of the skin to improve its appearance and smoothen its texture. Fillers are injected under the scar and provide immediate results. Moreover, the soft tissue fillers can improve skin volume over time and decrease scarring appearance.
- Microneedling. A small, needle-studded roller is used on the surface of the scars. the needles puncture the skin to form small pockets of healing and stimulate collagen production.
- Laser therapy. Laser therapy uses a powerful light beam to remove the outer skin layers (ablative laser) or stimulate collagen production in inner skin layers (non-ablative laser).
- Fractional non-ablative laser. Fractional laser is used improve atrophic acne scarring. The laser has multiple advantages, including its quick recovery time and ability to treat darker skin types. Several sessions may be needed (2-5) to get a good result and recovery time following each session ranges between 3 to 8 days.
- Ablative laser. There are two types of ablative lasers, CO2 laser and erbium laser. These lasers are highly safe and can be used on all skin types. The only downside of ablative lasers is the long recovery time which can take up to 2 weeks
At Novomed, safe and effective treatment for acne scars begins with a consultation. During the consultation, our dermatologist will examine your skin, playing close attention to your scars. After the consultation, our dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In creating this plan, your dermatologist will consider many things, including scar types and where the scars appear on your body.