We know what increases a person’s risk of developing acne scars, but it’s not possible to predict who will develop these scars. Even people who have all the risk factors may not scar. The good news is it’s possible to prevent acne scars with effective acne treatment.
When acne breakouts penetrate the skin deeply, they damage the skin and the tissue beneath it. As the acne clears, the body tries to repair this damage. During the healing process, the body produces collagen—a substance that gives the skin support.
Acne scars take on two main forms: either a scar develops when there is a loss of tissue, resulting in an indentation in the surface of the skin; or, a scar develops that is raised on the surface of the skin. This type of acne scar, in fact, is a sign that your skin is doing its job — but, perhaps, too well. Your skin creates collagen (“repair tissue”) to help heal the wound — the acne — but, if it makes too much collagen, raised scars form.
One or a combination of the following approaches might improve the appearance of your skin, depending on your scar type, your skin type and the severity of the scarring.
Topical retinoids are an acne treatment with scar-smoothing benefits. In addition to speeding up your cell regeneration and improving your skin’s texture, retinoids can also help reduce discoloration and make scars less noticeable. But they can also make your skin especially sensitive to the sun. Always wear sunscreen daily when using anything that contains retinoids.
When a patient wants to diminish the appearance of widespread acne scarring, Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCD may recommend a resurfacing procedure. Resurfacing removes layers of skin, which allows the body to produce new skin cells.
Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center use the following resurfacing procedures to treat depressed acne scars:
Resurfacing works well for treating acne scars that are nearly flat (not too deep). Even dermabrasion, which removes the top layers of skin and some of the middle layers, cannot effectively treat deep acne scars.
Dr. Cohn may also recommend fillers to safely and effectively plump depressed acne scars. She may fill acne scars with collagen, the patient’s own fat, or another substance. Many fillers give us temporary results, which last between 6 and 18 months. Some fillers are permanent.
Both temporary and permanent fillers have unique pros and cons. If this is a treatment option for you, be sure to ask Dr. Cohn about the pros and cons of the recommended filler.
Also known as “needling” or “microneedling,” this treatment encourages your body to make more collagen.
To perform this procedure, Dr. Cohn moves a sterile, handheld needle-studded roller across the depressed acne scars. This punctures your skin to stimulate the body’s natural wound-healing process, while minimizing cellular damage. The result: effective remodeling of scar tissue, while keeping the overall structure of the skin intact. Many patients require between three and six treatments and return every two to six weeks for a treatment.
After each treatment, you may have some swelling and possibly bruising. These side effects usually clear within four to five days.
Sometimes minor surgery is considered to treat certain types of acne scars. These surgeries lift scar tissue closer to the surface of the skin to make indentations less noticeable. They may completely remove the scar or break up scar tissue, allowing new collagen to form and smooth out the scar. Surgery is performed in our office and you remain awake but the treatment area is numbed so you don’t feel pain. Often surgery is followed by other types of acne scar removal treatments.
Acne scars can cause psychological distress, self-esteem issues and interfere with your social life or relationships. This is why it’s important to eliminate your acne before it has the chance to scar. Schedule an appointment online at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center or by calling 330-425-7600 for acne treatment advice. Follow instructions and return for treatment of scars—if scarring occurs—in its early stages when you have the best chance of reducing skin damage.