Erasing Acne Scars
Finally, the acne that plagued you for years has improved, but instead of the smooth skin you hoped for, you’re left with unsightly scarring.
Acnes scars are caused when bacteria triggers a response from the body’s immune system, damaging the skin’s collagen, and leaving scars that remain long after acne resolves. If excess collagen is produced during healing, hypertrophic, or raised, scars develop. Depressed (atrophic) scars are the result of tissue loss. Icepick scars and boxcar scars are common types of atrophic scars. Icepick scars are small, deep holes while boxcar scars leave wide oval or round depressions.
Some individuals scar more easily than others but when acne is properly treated, it is less likely to cause scarring. Since bacteria and irritation can increase the risk of scarring, it’s important to avoid picking, squeezing or rubbing blemishes.
If scarring is severe or makes you feel self-conscience, a board-certified dermatologist can discuss available treatment options, including dermabrasion, a mechanical resurfacing of the skin used to reduce the appearance of mild to moderate scars. Microdermabrasion is a similar, but more superficial, sanding technique that may require multiple treatments.
Chemical peels performed at a dermatology clinic may also be effective in smoothing acne-scarred skin. The outer layer of skin is removed using a chemical solution and is replaced with the growth of new, smooth skin.
Laser resurfacing is another scar treatment. A high-energy light beam targets acne scars and destroys the outer layers of damaged skin. For deep scars, ablative laser techniques are applied to stimulate new collagen growth. Pulse-dye lasers may be used to treat hypertrophic acne scars.
Although it may not be possible to completely remove all scars, these treatments can be used alone or in combination to improve the appearance of acne scarred skin.