As much as you'd like to clean forget your acne journey, your face remembers--in the form of scars. It can be raised and red, flat or depressed.
Scars may have a damaging effect on a person's physical, mental, and social well-being. Having to deal with acne itself is bad enough. Although a wide range of treatments is used, allwith varying degrees of efficacy, each having both pros and cons.
Acne scar treatments depend on the condition of scarring. It is a common and challenging condition with no easy and actual solution.
There are various treatments available for treating acne scars:
Dermabrasion is a procedure that uses a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges to remove and level the upper layer of skin. It is allowing new skin to grow in its place. It often is used for facial procedures.
Also known as dermaplaning, a minimally invasive procedure which is considered as a physical exfoliation that removes the outermost part of the skin. It results in a smoother surface. Recovery time is very minimal. It helps with the following:
This procedure is performed in the doctor's clinic. There are times that medication is given to feel relaxed before the procedure starts. The skin will be completely sanitized, and will be given with shots to numb the area to be treated.
Dermabrasion is generally recommended for people with fair skin. It can result in scarring and discoloration for people with darker skin color.
Chemical peels use acid (there are different types) to break down the layers in order to help fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and uneven skin tone become less noticeable. It also helps tighten the skin, regenerate and rejuvenate it. The principle here is, achieve a more radiant complexion through exfoliation.
There are 3 types of chemical peels: superficial, medium-depth and deep-depth. What we usually refer to when we say chemical peels is the superficial one, which is the mildest of all, as this requires minimal downtime. It’s less expensive, less painful and minimal downtime.
During the peeling process, the chemicals produce a reaction with the skin and soften the outer layers of dead skin to help correct the skin tone and texture and boost the building of collagen.
The treatment causes a small injury to the skin which allows it to not only build new collagen but to regenerate itself.
The downside is the recovery period, which usually runs anywhere from five to seven days. The skin is left raw and red and needs to be constantly covered with ointment, it shouldn’t be painful.
Retinoic acid is a nutrient made in the body from Vitamin A and found only in prescription creams which results in skin cell turnover and minimizes breakdown of collagen.
It is known to improve acne scars and reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It is the acid form of Vitamin A. Prescription retinoic acid is patented because it is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A. Retinoic acid can cause peeling, irritation, sensitivity, redness, discomfort and sun sensitivity in many people.
Retinol, a prescription vitamin A derivative, is a weaker, over-the-counter version of tretinoin. It is highly effective in reversing sun damage and signs of aging. Tretinoin minimizes fine lines, evens out skin color, improves texture, tightens pores, and stimulates blood flow and collagen production. However, quite a few people cannot tolerate tretinoin because it can be highly irritating and drying.
While the results may not be as dramatic, retinol is milder and tolerable for more people. Like tretinoin, retinol encourages skin cell turnover. This new skin is delicate, hence should not be exposed to the sun. Otherwise, retinol will have the opposite effect and can make skin age faster because it is more susceptible to the sun. That is why these ingredients are only found in products intended for night use.
Laser treatment reduces the appearance of scars. It uses focused light therapy to either remove the outer layer of the skin’s surface, or to stimulate the production of new - and cover damaged - skin cells.
Laser treatment for scars is an outpatient procedure. The doctor repeatedly moves a laser wand over the skin to remove damaged skin cells and diminish scars. These include:
Because this procedure involves heat and light, it is not recommended for people with light sensitivity caused by certain medications.
They may also discourage laser treatments if you have:
Lasers are categorized as ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers remove the damaged tissue by vaporization or by melting it. The most commonly used ablative lasers are Erbium YAG and Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers. These erode the scar surface and tighten the collagen fibers under your skin. Ablative lasers have a longer recovery time. While, non-ablative lasers have a shorter recovery time, but the results are less impressive as compared to ablative lasers. These lasers do not remove any tissue from your skin but boost collagen development and make your skin tight. The most common non-ablative lasers used for acne scar treatment are the diode and NdYAG lasers.
Fractional CO2 laser is one of the common laser treatments. Resurfacing uses a variety of microbeam sizes and densities to suit the needs of the patient. The fractional CO2 system can be used easily on other parts of the body (other than the face). This treatment can helps eliminate existing acne scars and also prevent new scar formation.
Additionally, laser resurfacing can be used in combination with aesthetic facial surgery, such as facelift or neck lift, to achieve the results possible.
Smoothbeam Laser Treatment For Acne Scarring involves using a low-energy 1450 nm- diode (non-ablative) laser for treating acne scarring. It uses a dynamic cooling device that deep cools the target area of the skin using short blasts of cryogen spray. This protects the epidermis, the topmost layer of the skin. This is quickly followed by another laser beam that targets the upper dermis. The heat generated from the second laser boosts collagen development in the deeper layers of the skin, resulting to improved appearance of acne scars.
However, another study concluded that this treatment method needs to be more refined and the treatment methods more standardized to minimize side effects. This study involved 30 subjects who had post-acne scars. They were treated for 18 months (including follow-up sessions until 6 months post treatment). Only 53.3% of the cases showed satisfactory results, and about 66.7% experienced post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Profractional Laser Treatment for Acne Scars is an Erbium: YAG laser that treats fractions of the skin by creating numerous microchannels within the skin tissues to boost collagen development and smoothen acne scars. The laser not only improves the appearance of scars but also tightens the skin, minimizes wrinkles, improves texture, and reduces photodamage.
Laser resurfacing treatment is non-invasive and usually ensures positive results. However, there are risks involved in this treatment. Before thinking about undergoing laser treatment, consider its pros and cons.
Fillers are less expensive than facelifts and will give you a younger look. It is usually used for wrinkles, hollows and lines. It is also used as a volumizer which could plump and lift cheeks, lips, hands, chin, jawlines and temples.
It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and skin folds around the mouth and nose, and fills depressed scars and certain areas, like the chin. It can also be used for non-surgical chin augmentations and non-surgical nose lifts.
Dermal fillers are a great way to treat and potentially get rid of certain types of acne scars, as they are safe and well tolerated. They are particularly effective for rolling scars and some less defined boxcar scars.
Dermal fillers can be classified as temporary, semi permanent, and permanent.
Medical-grade silicon has been used for a long time as a type of permanent filler in soft-tissue augmentation.
This is also called a punch biopsy or subcision. It is a method to remove all types of facial scars with the use of a small punch tool. It punctures the top layer of the skin which creates an opening which allows the cyst or pore to be removed.
Punch excision is used to treat deep ice pick scars. The dermatologist makes an incision in the skin, removes the scar and places a skin graft over the area. The procedure leaves behind a scar that is much less noticeable than the original scar.
Excision is typically recommended to patients with deep pitted scars that are not amenable to the TCA CROSS technique.
Microneedling is a great option for those wanting laser skin resurfacing with little to no downtime. With microneedling, the top layer of the skin is removed, stimulating collagen and elastin growth while shrinking pores, making even the hyperpigmentation, smoothening the skin, fine lines, wrinkles and more.
Microneedling at home is now a popular solution to treat acne scars. Microneedling can reduce the appearance of your acne scars by breaking down old scar tissues and remodeling your skin with new collagen and elastin fibers.
By causing trauma to the skin,microneedling increases the production of collagen and other healing factors. Collagen is an essential protein that helps keep the skin looking youthful, firm, smooth, and supple.
Aging causes the decline of collagen in the skin, resulting in wrinkles and other signs of aging. Skin can also lose collagen due to acne scarring, stretch marks, or other scars.
It is important to know that microneedling is not a quick fix, as it involves the growth of new skin. It can take up to several months for a person to see the full results of the procedure.
Microneedling is generally an effective and safe procedure that can improve the skin’s appearance. It may reduce wrinkles, diminish scarring, and tighten or rejuvenate loose or aging skin.
The recommended size for at home use is .5mm and anything higher should be done by professionals.
These are the common microneedling tools available:
A dermaroller is the most common microneedling tool. It is a roller full of tiny needles (length varies) attached to a handle. There are a lot of dermarollers from different brands but it would be best if you purchase from a trusted brand to ensure its quality. This is very important as bent needles may thug the skin, causing more harm and trauma to it.
The needles of the derma stamp enter the skin in a more straight manner than the dermaroller which is in a slight 90 degree angle. This is also a better tool to use if you want to target hard to reach areas like the sides of the nose.
Some derma stamps use a motor while some can also be used manually, where you can control the pressure applied yourself. There is also derma stamp with a wider diameter that available in the market.
None of us likes to have a scarred skin but to have pimples and scars is a natural thing. Instead of getting panicked and stressed, there are treatments mentioned above.
Whether you are prone to acne scarring or not, sticking to a regular skin care is important to good-looking skin.