There are many ways to treat acne scars. Determining your treatment depends on the type of scar and quantity of scarring. Before you consider a scar treatment you should have an in depth conversation with your doctor. It is very important you only use this information as an introduction to scar treatments and not a final guide. Your dermatologist and you can discuss the proper treatment after you have basic knowledge.
For very mild acne, a chemical peel might be all that you need. Different types of acid are used in this procedure. It is recommended that you choose another method of treatment, if you have very noticeable or deep scarring. The chemical peel procedure takes about fifteen minutes. The resultant facial redness may last up to a few weeks.
There are a few choices available to treat moderate acne scarring. The most popular are dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Dermabrasion is a scar treatment in which a diamond plated wheel is used to “sand” your face. This technique has been around for a long time and sandpaper was once used instead of the new machines that utilize the diamond plated tool. Generally, this procedure takes around an hour to perform. You should expect some scabbing and redness for a few weeks. This method is most effective for individual with very pale or very dark complexions.
The other treatment for mild acne scars is laser resurfacing. This treatment involves removing old skin with a carbon dioxide (CO2) or erbium laser. Depending on the size and frequency of the scars, the treatment may last only several minutes or in excess of an hour. This treatment is not advised for people with darker skin pigment, because it may result in uneven skin color. After treatment, redness should be expected for a few weeks and a mild pinkish tone may be evident even longer.
For very deep, pitted scars, physicians utilize a “punch technique.” There are several “punch” treatments available depending on your doctor, type of acne and other factors. The first type is a punch replacement in which a tool is used to remove the scar. Then a skin graft from another part of your body is transplanted over the site. Another technique is the punch excision where the scar is surgically removed and the area allowed to recover. Finally, there is a technique where the physician removes the scar at the bottom. The skin at the treated area is allowed to rise and fills the cratered area. Usually a punch technique is combined with dermabrasion or laser resurfacing for optimal results. Healing may take up to several weeks.
Another type of acne scar treatment is subcision. With subcision the scar is detached from the lower tissue, which allows a blood clot to form under the skin. The clot forces the scar up to the surface of the skin. Similar to the punch techniques, combining subcision with dermabrasion or laser resurfacing yields the best results. This type of treatment can be effective for all types of scarring, but is best for deeper and more prominent scars.
The last type of treatment is augmentation. Augmentation uses a material similar to collagen which is injected under the skin to bring the scar to the surface. Recovery is immediate and no time off work is necessary. The drawback, however, is that results are temporary and only last up to six months.
Whatever acne scar treatment you decide upon, keep in mind that some may require more than one session with a doctor. Always consult your dermatologist to decide which treatment is best for you. There is a wide variation with the costs associated with the various treatments. Make sure you consider the financial ramifications with your treatment plan before you proceed. Remember, more than one treatment plan may be effective in your particular situation. Each plan has benefits and drawbacks so make sure you discuss all your concerns with your doctor.