Acne scars are a big no, no. They turn your smooth looking skin into one covered with holes and pits. Acne scars can seriously dent a person’s self-confidence. People with severe scarring often find it difficult to socialize and make new friends. Some even have trouble finding a job.
Does this mean that acne scars can mean the end of life as you know it? The answer is no, because today there are numerous treatments available for acne scars. However, you can avoid the treatments if you prevent the acne scars from forming in the first place.
Preventing Acne Scars
Acnes do not always leave behind scars. When acnes start to heal, they usually cause that area to become red or hyper-pigmented. It can take anywhere between six to twelve months for the skin to heal completely. While your skin is healing, you should not pick on the red scabs. If you scratch or pull them, it will hinder the healing process and might cause scars.
As your acnes are healing, you should not step out in the sun without a sunscreen. Harmful UV rays from the sun might cause the acnes to flare up again and hinder the healing process. You can also apply over the counter medications like tretinoin, to speed up the healing process. Skin lotions that contain Beta-Hydroxy Acid and Alpha-Hydroxy Acid in appropriate amounts are very effective in healing the skin.
However, if you already have acne scars, the first thing you need to do is see a dermatologist. The treatment option that the dermatologist will suggest to you will depend on the type of acne scars you have.
Types Of Acne Scars
There are three types of acne scars – icepick, rolling and boxcar acne scars. Icepick acne scars look like they have been made with an icepick. These scars are very deep and have an opening that is very narrow. Rolling acne scars, on the other hand, make the skin look wavy. Rolling scars are formed when the skin becomes attached to the subcutaneous tissue, which lies right beneath the skin.
Due to this the skin acquires a rolling texture. The boundaries or edges of boxcar scars are sharp and vertical. The craters formed by the boxcar scars can be oval or round in shape. These scars are usually not so deep; however, in some cases they can form deep scars, whose depth can be more than 0.5mm.
Treatment For Acne Scars
The treatment for acne scars will depend on the type of acne scars that you have. For example, if you have icepick or boxcar scars that are very deep, the dermatologist will most probably suggest punch excision, which is a surgical method. In this procedure, the scars are basically cut out with a punch tool that resembles a cookie cutter.
Once the scars are cut out, the edges of the skin are stitched together. Some scars might form due to the surgery, but they will eventually go away. If they do not, then the dermatologist might use a resurfacing treatment option to clear out the scars. Punch excision surgery is done under local anesthesia.
This is also a surgical procedure. This procedure is recommended for boxcar acne scars which are deep. The surgery is done under local anesthesia. The base of the scar is cut out with the punch tool, but the walls of the scar are not removed. The base of the scar is then lifted to bring it to the level of the skin. The lifted base is then attached to the skin with special glue, steri-strips, or sutures. This procedure is quite effective in removing the scars.
Punch Excision And Skin Grafting
This treatment option is every effective on icepick and deep boxcar acne scars. The dermatologist will first cut out the scars with the punch tool and then the acne craters or bases are filled with a skin draft. The skin at the back of the ear is usually used as skin draft for this type of surgery.
This surgery is done to correct rolling scars. In this procedure, the scarred subcutaneous tissues are separated from the skin. During this procedure, the scarred subcutaneous tissues are also broken up. Once the skin becomes detached from the scarred tissue, it is raised. Over a period of time the subcutaneous tissues and the skin will heal and reveal a scar free skin. Dermabrasion
Dermabrasion is not so much in use today; however, it is still used for some types of acne scars. The skin is first thoroughly cleaned. The area to be treated will be made numb using a spray anesthesia. A device fitted with extremely sharp blades, wire brush, or diamond is used in this procedure.
The device is rotated very gently on concerned area. The scarred skin surface is slowly removed. Once the procedure is over, the skin is cleaned. Compresses are then used to stop the bleeding. Dressing is applied to the treated area. It can take ten days to three weeks for the skin to heal. However, new skin will start to appear after ten days or so. In order for the skin to heal completely, you have to follow the doctor’s advice.
Though this treatment is quite effective for depressed acne scars, it has also shown good results on icepick scars and boxcar scars with a shallow base. Erbium:YAG and carbon dioxide are the two types of lasers that are often used for this acne scars treatment. In this procedure the scarred top layer of the skin is burned.
New skin will slowly appear. Meanwhile you have to take complete care of your skin by following your doctor’s advice. You can return to your day to day activities after a period of two weeks. However, it will take longer for your skin to heal completely.
People who do not have severe acne scars are often advised to have chemical peels. This treatment involves the application of a high potency acid on the concerned area. The acid removes the top layer of the skin. If the scars are deep, then a very strong high potency acid will be used. Such chemical peels have the capability to reach the deeper surface of the skin.
Your skin will be red and slightly swollen in the first few days. New skin will start to develop in ten to fourteen days. You need to take care of your skin. You can do this by not going out in the sun and following your doctor’s instructions.
Fillers offer temporary solution to acne scars. In this procedure, fillers consisting of fat, human collagen, bovine collagen, polytheyl-methacrylate microspheres with collagen, or hyaluronic acid derivatives, are injected into the scars. The filler helps to raise the skin’s surface and thereby helps make the skin smooth in appearance. Since the filler does not have a permanent effect, it needs to be reapplied after some period.
Visit A Dermatologist
The above mentioned are some of the surgical and non-surgical treatment options for acne scars. These treatments will give the optimum results when done by a trained and experienced dermatologist.