Can acne scarring be treated?
Acne is a common skin condition, particularly in the teenage years and early twenties, and unfortunately can leave unsightly scarring to the face and other areas of the body. Hence it is always important to treat acne early, and get it under control in order to prevent scarring before it occurs.
Once scarring has occurred, it can cause considerable embarrassment and distress. Although some forms of scarring can be difficult to treat, fortunately there are a number of effective treatment options available currently, which your specialist Dermatologists at the enRich Clinic will be able to assist you with. Our Dermatologists will fully assess your acne and scarring, as well as your skin type, and then discuss the various treatment options with you, and advise you on the best treatment approach.
Types of acne scarring
Acne scarring can vary in type and severity. Some scars are due to excess tissue formation (hypertrophy), while others are due to loss of tissue or indentations (atrophy). Scars can also vary in colour from red/purple to white.
Atropic acne scars include “ice-pick scars” (small deep indentations in the skin), deeper divots and undulations in the skin surface, ‘punched-out’ scars which can look round in shape, or macular (flat) areas of increased or decreased pigmentation. Hypertropic scars are raised and thickened and can be red or white in colour. Further, each individual’s degree or severity of scarring can vary from mild to very severe.
Acne scarring treatment options
1. Temporary Dermal Fillers
Acne scars can be treated with temporary dermal fillers in order to lift up and fill indented or picked-out scars. However the fillers used are temporary only, and will need to be repeated as the product wears off. The advantage of these treatments is the very small amount of downtime required.
2. Laser resurfacing (partial and full skin resurfacing)
Skin resurfacing with the Fractional Carbon Dioxide (CO2) laser (partial resurfacing), or the Erbium laser or traditional CO2 Laser (full resurfacing), is a more permanent treatment option, and for most people the most effective treatment option available currently. These lasers remove the top layer of skin, which allows for the growth of smoother new skin, and the stimulation of collagen growth, which significantly improves the appearance of scarring.
More than one treatment (usually 2-3) is required for the Fractional CO2 laser, with a recovery time of about 5-7 days.. The Erbium and traditional CO2 laser, are usually single procedures (although your doctor will advise you on this at the time of your consultation), and have a longer ‘down time’ or recovery period of about 2 weeks.
3. Other Laser Options
- Fraxel Dual Laser:
- Affirm ‘fraxelated’ Laser
The new Fraxel Dual laser has also been used for the treatment of acne scarring with success. Instead of treating the whole skin surface, small columns of laser energy are fired into the skin, and the skin in between these columns is spared. This leads to faster healing times, and less risks and complications from treatment. However, multiple treatments spaced at 4-6 weekly intervals are usually required. The number of treatments required will depend on individual factors, and this will be discussed with you during your consultation with the doctor. The down-time is less, and is usually about 5-7 days.
This laser works similarly to the Fraxel Dual Laser, but has less down-time.Again, nstead of treating the whole skin surface, small columns of laser energy are fired into the skin, and the skin in between these columns is spared. This leads to faster healing times, and less risks and complications from treatment. As well, as with the Fraxel Dual, Laser, The Affirm Laser increases the production of new collagen growth, which with time, gives skin a smoother appearance, and assists with reduction of acne scarring. The number of treatments required will depend on individual factors, and this will be discussed with you during your consultation with your doctor.
4. Other Options For Scarring:
A number of different options may also be utilised by specialist Dermatologists to deal with specific types of scarring, as a punch excision, punch elevation, punch grafting, or subcision of scars. These options will be explained to you at your consultation, it they are appropriate for your particular problem.