Whether you’re dealing with dark spots or deep depressions in the skin, post-acne marks can be tough to handle by yourself. Fortunately, dermatologists are experts in restoring the appearance of your skin. Learn more about the acne scar treatments a dermatologist can use for your acne scarring before you schedule your first appointment at Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY.
Can a Dermatologist Remove Acne Scars?
People frequently visit dermatologists to remove acne scars. There are several treatments a dermatologist can use to restore the even and smooth texture of your skin, particularly if you are still struggling with active acne. Some of the most common treatments that are used to reduce the appearance of acne scars include:
Many people are surprised to learn that dermal fillers are frequently used to correct deep acne scars. Most often, dermal fillers are used to address ice-pick scars, which are deep scars that form on the chin and cheeks. Because ice-pick scars are created by a severe lack of collagen, using dermal fillers can restore skin volume and virtually erase acne scars.
For many dermatologists, the first recommendation for textual scars will be fractional lasers. Fractional lasers work by creating many microscopic wounds on the surface of the skin, which stimulates the skin’s rejuvenation abilities. Fractional lasers are ideal for all types of textural scars and can be used on the face or body.
IPL treatments are another type of laser treatment that can be highly effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars. Specifically, IPL treatments are ideal for minor scarring and pigmented scars, as well as post-inflammatory erythema. The special light wavelengths in IPL treatments will resurface the skin by influencing the behavior of skin cells, such as by increasing cellular turnover.
Microneedling is an aesthetic treatment that many people use as an alternative to laser and IPL treatments. For those who have skin that isn’t suited to the intensity of laser treatments, microneedling can be a way to restore the even tone and pigment of the skin. Similarly to fractional lasers, microneedling works by creating micro-injuries in the skin to stimulate collagen production.
For superficial acne scars, chemical peels can also be effective. Chemical peels resurface the skin to reduce the appearance of dark spots, redness, and other concerns associated with acne-prone skin. Some people prefer chemical peels because this treatment is gentler on the skin and can be used by those who have medium to dark complexions.
Finally, for certain types of acne scars, your dermatologist may also recommend a topical medication. For example, for both pigmented and textural scars, retinoids can be highly effective for resurfacing skin and softening the appearance of acne scarring. Your dermatologist may also recommend a skin lightening cream to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and other post-acne marks.
Which Acne Scar Treatment Should You Use?
Because there are so many acne treatments available, it can be overwhelming to choose the acne scar treatment that is most appropriate for you. However, a dermatologist can analyze your skin type and identify the treatments that will be most effective for reducing your specific type of acne scar.
For example, those who have sensitive skin types may have better results from IPL treatments and chemical peels, while those who have severe acne scarring may have better results with fractional lasers.
Why Combining Treatments May Be Ideal
For some people, the best way to achieve your desired smooth skin results is to combine acne scar treatments. Most people will have a few different types of acne scars, particularly if they have had acne for several years. By combining different treatments for acne scars, you can address each type of scar and resurface your skin.
For example, it’s common to use both laser treatments and dermal fillers to restore your skin’s appearance. Combining chemical peels, topical medications, and high-quality skincare products can also erase acne scars.
Acne Scar FAQs
1. Are PIH and PIE Considered Acne Scars?
Technically, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema are only temporary post-acne marks, not acne scarring. Although these dark spots on your skin can last for several weeks or months, hyperpigmentation is not considered true acne scarring by many dermatologists. While these types of hyperpigmentation can be difficult to treat on your own, acne scars are traditionally classified as textural irregularities on the skin surface.
That said, both post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema are classic symptoms of acne-prone skin. If you have active acne, or you want to reduce the appearance of post-acne hyperpigmentation, you may want to speak with a dermatologist about treatments that can be used to restore your even skin complexion.
2. What Are Common Types of Acne Scars?
True acne scars affect the texture of your skin. Rolling scars, boxcar scars, and ice pick scars are the three most common types of acne scars that cause depressions in the skin. Boxcar scars have a squarish appearance, rolling scars can create waves on the skin, and ice-pick scars are narrow, deep gaps in the upper dermal layers.
In addition to these depression-type acne scars, your skin may also develop keloid scars or raised scars. Keloid scars are often difficult to treat because addressing this type of scarring involves removing or resurfacing scar tissue. Laser treatments can be effective for both depressed and raised scars.
3. What Causes Acne Scars?
Acne scars are caused by a combination of sustained inflammation and poor collagen production. Specifically, when you have active acne, the pore with the bacterial infection will cause inflammation. Your body responds to this inflammation by producing wound-healing proteins like collagen, fibrin, and elastin. However, when collagen is produced and there is still inflammation in the pore, this can cause acne scarring.
Acne scars can also be caused by your skin type. Some people are more prone to developing acne scars than others, which can be influenced by your skin tone, skin type, genetics, and even factors such as some exposure. Acne scars are generally more likely to develop when you have acne for several years.
4. Can Picking Your Skin Cause Scarring?
According to some dermatologists, picking at your skin when you have acne is responsible for about half of acne scars. Although you may want to pop a zit or get rid of dry skin, picking at your skin when it is infected with acne can disrupt collagen production, worsen skin inflammation, and cause scarring.
5. How Can You Prevent Acne Scars?
Preventing acne scars may be difficult if you still have active acne. This is why it’s important to control your breakouts before you pursue any acne scar treatment. If you are still having occasional breakouts or cystic acne, you should work with the dermatologist to identify the skin care products and prescription medications that can reduce your acne so you can move on to correcting acne scarring.
6. When Should You Consider Acne Medication?
Acne medication may not be necessary for everyone who has acne. For example, those who have mild acne may not require prescription medication because over-the-counter skin care products designed for acne-prone skin are effective. However, if you have severe acne or cystic acne, you may need to use acne medication to control breakouts.
7. Can At-Home Exfoliation Help?
Some of your at-home skin care products may include ingredients such as retinol or salicylic acid. While both of these ingredients can gently resurface your skin to improve the appearance of minor hyperpigmentation, over-the-counter products are generally not effective enough to correct the appearance of advanced acne scarring.
8. Are You a Good Candidate?
Candidates for acne scar treatment include those who have mild, moderate, and severe acne scarring on the face or body. A dermatologist will assess your scarring severity to identify the treatments that are most appropriate for you.
That said, some treatments have certain restrictions. For example, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding cannot use laser treatments or IPL treatments to improve the appearance of acne scars. Additionally, patients who have used Accutane in the last six months are also not eligible for laser treatment.
Erase Acne Scars With Cosmetic Dermatology Treatments
It’s unlikely that your at-home skin care products can greatly improve the appearance of post-acne marks and scars. However, cosmetic dermatology treatments can greatly improve both pigmented and textural scarring. Treating active acne can also prevent acne scarring in the future. Contact Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to schedule your first appointment today.