April 04, 2020
You may have been saving up for that laser resurfacing treatment for acne scars, but due to the pandemic situation, some of the clinics may be closed, or have a long wait delay. Amidst our situation with the Pandemic, let’s look at the brighter side of things. Staying at home doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself up in your room. Now’s your chance to declutter, organize that closet you’ve been dying to do, bond with your kids, exercise and focus on your skincare routine.
If you are looking into laser resurfacing treatment, but had that plan cancelled, here are some other alternatives you can look at to help remove acne scars.
Laser Resurfacing is a broad term for different kinds of in office procedures where pinpointed lasers are used to damage the top layer of skin. This is to promote the skin to form a new layer of cells. Laser resurfacing is used to treat any scarring, melasma, or freckles.
What does a laser treatment look like?
In the office, they'll clean your skin and put a they put a mask over your eyes since your eyes are so sensitive. Then, they heat up the laser and go over your face. You can get this done over your whole face, or on a specific area. I got mine done on my cheeks because that is my problem area. This procedure took about a half hour. It can feel a little painful or uncomfortable.
When getting off the bed and looking at my face, it was bright red, the downtime for the skin to heal can take about 7-10 days. To really see results, most doctors will recommend at least 2-3 sessions and each session can cost anywhere starting at $1000 depending on the location, provider, and type of laser used.
A laser treatment is one of the most popular ways to reduce scars appearance, wrinkles and skin damage. It can provide quicker and long lasting results; however, it comes with greater risks. Lasers deliver heat to the skin so it can cause side effects like darkening and bruising, longer downtime due to redness and swelling. Other more serious side effects include permanent skin discoloration or scarring especially to those who have a darker complexion. If you have certain medical skin conditions, it would also be a good decision if you consult your doctor first as undergoing laser treatments may flare them up.
Laser treatments can be quite expensive in order to see results (the average price could run between $1200 and $2200, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons) depending on the type of laser, and are generally not covered by insurance. Treating acne scars with lasers can require several appointments too. Although undergoing laser treatment is one of the most sought-after treatments, it is not the only option for acne scars.
If you're on a budget or clinics are closed, here are the alternatives to laser treatment which may help you achieve similar results in the comfort of your own homes:
Microneedling has increased its popularity throughout the years as a way to treat acne scars. Dermarollers or microneedling devices have also evolved and will continue to evolve to suit the needs of its users. It is not for the treatment of keloid scars as they're a result of excess collagen production.
This treatment is effective in managing acne scars without as much swelling as laser and a shorter recovery. Recovery time is quick, and usually the side effect is some redness that usually goes away within 24 hours. It is also safe to use on all skin types, except if you have sensitive skin, best if you patch test on a small area of your skin first as results vary from person to person.
Since microneedling can be done at home with shorter needle lengths, results are more subtle and may take longer time before you see your desired results on acne scars.
Microneedling treatments using longer needle lengths should be done in an in office setting.
Retinol, also known as Vitamin A helps improve pigmentation marks, stimulate collagen and elastin production, reduce excess oil production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and some scars. You can buy them over the counter and it is one of the least invasive treatments in the market. They need to be used continuously to maintain the results.
Retinoids can take several months of consistent usage to see results and may cause some sensitivity when you first start using them. Some skin reactions may also include increased sun's sensitivity, burning feeling or stinging sensation, slight peeling of skin, inflammation or redness and dry skin.
Apply moisturizer when using retinoids to reduce side effects.
Acne scars in the form of hyperpigmentation can fade on their own over time, but to speed up the process you can use products containing AHA. These usually contain salicylic or glycolic acid which help exfoliate and brighten the skin.
Silicone gel and silicone sheets help reduce an acne scar’s size if you have hypertrophic or raised scarring. These are easy to get treatments as well because they are readily available over the counter at drugstores and you may also buy them online.
Using this treatment though takes a lot of dedication and consistency and you need to wear the sheet all day in the same spot every day which could take months.
Topical silicone treatments are also most effective if you use them while the scar heals and before it thickens. So this may not be the treatment for you if you’ve had a raised scar for a few years already and are just now thinking about trying to minimize it.
Whether you choose to do laser treatments or use one of the alternatives to laser treatment, the most important thing to remember is that your skin is one of your body’s most important organs. It’s the only organ that is directly exposed to the environment. Even if you have acne scars it doesn't mean that your skin is bad and with the many treatments available, you can reduce the look of acne scars if you choose to.
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