Acne is an annoying and embarrassing skin condition that can cause long-term physical damage to your skin. Acne scars don’t have to be permanent, however, and there are a number of effective treatment options to explore with your dermatologist.
Not everyone gets acne scars, even if their acne was extreme. Acne scars form as a result of a few different factors – and they aren’t all things you can control. People with inflammatory acne – meaning their acne was often swollen, reddened, and painful – are more likely to have scarring occur. Cystic and nodular acne are two types of acne that contribute to scarring, as these types of acne extend deeper into the skin. If you didn’t get treatment for this kind of acne early on, scarring will be more widespread because it went unchecked for a longer time. If you often popped or picked at acne, you are much more likely to develop acne scars as this is the leading cause of inflammation.
When your skin is damaged, the body produces collagen, which can form scar tissue in an open sore or wound. If the body produces too much collagen at the acne site, scars will appear as raised bumps. If too little collagen is produced, acne scars will form as depressions on the surface of the skin.
There are more than four ways to remove acne scars, but these four options are the best and most effective methods to remove or alleviate acne scarring.
1. Laser Treatments
Lasers are one of your dermatologist’s most powerful tools for treating acne scars and other cosmetic conditions. Laser therapy works by focusing a beam of ultraviolet light onto affected skin. Once the skin is damaged by the light, your body will begin to produce new, healthier skin. For acne scars, the impacted layers of skin are destroyed so that new growth will appear smooth and blemish free.
Laser treatments that work on acne scarring include DOT and Fraxel Restore therapies. These treatment methods work differently on varying types of acne scars and skin types. By offering more types of laser treatment, your dermatologist can better guarantee results. Depressed and raised acne both respond well to laser treatment, but deeper “icepick” depressions may not respond well to laser treatment. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options.
2. Skin Tightening
Skin tightening is a newer procedure that offers the best results for the deep icepick depressions caused by acne scarring. Your dermatologist will employ a technology called radiofrequency to tighten the skin, effectively leveling out your acne scars. Skin tightening requires repeat sessions, but if you stick to the treatment schedule and bear in mind best skincare practices, the results can be night and day.
3. Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers (or hyaluronic acid fillers) are injections that can be used to treat acne scarring. This treatment works by “filling” indentions or wrinkles in the skin, thereby proving effective against acne depressions. The injected drugs go by many different names, but they all include hyaluronic acid which occurs naturally within your skin. The results are not permanent, but can last between six months and one year. The benefits of dermal fillers over other treatments include the short recovery time and the need for only one session for results.
4. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are quick and easy treatments for a number of superficial skin conditions, including acne scarring. Your dermatologist will apply a chemical to your skin that is acidic or has other abrasive properties. The most effective chemical peel for acne and acne scarring is salicylic acid because it reduces inflammation and oil in the skin’s surface layers.
Each of these treatments can be conducted in your dermatologist’s office in a few hours at the most. The side effects for any of these treatment methods are minimal, with some short term pain and irritation being common. In laser treatment and chemical peels, your skin will feel and look like it was sunburned. There will be peeling and flaking as old, dead skin gives way to the new skin produced by these procedures.
Ultimately, your dermatologist will determine the treatment that best suits your particular scarring and skin type. If you’re ready to say goodbye to acne scars, reach out to your New England dermatologist today.