Acne scars can have a lasting impact on your self-esteem. Not only are certain types of acne scars reluctant to fade over time, but some scars are also challenging for dermatologists to treat. Luckily, at Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY, there are several acne scars treatments that can significantly improve the overall appearance of your skin. Learn more about these treatment options, how successful they are, and the types of scars that can be treated before you schedule your initial appointment.
What Is the Success Rate of Acne Scars Treatment?
In general, most acne scars treatments can improve the appearance of acne scars and post-acne marks by a significant amount. For people who have mild acne scarring, the results of these treatments may be able to achieve even greater results. The scars that tend to show the best results are pigmented scars, while textural or atrophic acne scars are more challenging to address.
The main reason why success with textural acne scars treatment won’t completely remove an acne scar is because of the changing nature of the skin. Since the skin is continually turning over new skin cells and restructuring due to natural aging, such as reducing natural collagen production, the overall texture of your skin can only improve to a certain point. However, these improvements for textural acne scars are generally long-lasting.
What Is the Most Successful Treatment?
For both textural and pigmented acne scars, laser treatments tend to be the most effective. Even for very deep atrophic scarring, laser treatments can improve scar appearance by about 70%. Ultimately, the success of your treatments will depend on how many layers of skin are affected by the acne scarring. For scars that affect the middle and deep dermal layers, it’s unlikely that even the most powerful lasers will address your acne scarring concerns.
Your dermatologist will examine your skin type and acne scars to assess how successful laser treatments and other treatments will be. People who have thinner skin or who have acne scarring on areas of the face where there is less collagen to restructure may find more successful results. Scarring on the cheeks and the chin tends to be the most difficult scarring to address.
Can Using Multiple Treatment Methods Improve Results?
Using multiple treatment methods can improve your results. People who want to address textural and pigmented scars may use different treatments to resurface and restructure the skin, particularly if laser treatments are not a viable option. It’s common to combine a treatment to exfoliate the skin, such as microdermabrasion, with a collagen-boosting dermal filler to address different types of acne scars.
What Are Acne Scars Treatment Options?
When it comes to treatments for acne scars, there are several options that may be appropriate for your unique skin type, skin tone, and scar type. In general, treatments for acne scars are broken down into two categories, and only a few treatments, such as laser treatments, can both restructure and resurface the skin. Let’s learn about the difference between resurfacing treatments and restructuring treatments.
Resurfacing treatments include any type of exfoliating treatment that can be used to remove multiple layers of skin to lighten the appearance of pigmented scars. Some resurfacing treatments can include chemical peels, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, LED light therapy, and facials such as HydraFacial. Sometimes, resurfacing treatments can also include prescription-strength creams and ointments, such as retinol, which can gradually improve pigmented scarring over time.
Restructuring treatments tend to focus on restructuring the underlying layers of skin to increase collagen and fibrin production. These treatments may also break down old scar tissue to restore the even texture of the skin. The most common restructuring treatments include laser treatments, light therapy, and dermal fillers. Usually, topical treatments are not powerful enough to restructure deeper layers of the skin.
What Type of Acne Scars Can Be Treated?
Different types of acne scars will require different treatment approaches. In general, dermatologists can improve the appearance of most acne scars, including atrophic scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and post-inflammatory erythema. A dermatologist will need to examine your skin to assess whether or not your acne scars are eligible for treatment.
Atrophic scars typically leave indents on the skin. This type of scar forms when the underlying skin layers respond to acne inflammation by prematurely creating collagen and fibrin tissues. Atrophic acne scars can come in many forms, including boxcar scars, rolling scars, and deep ice pick scars. As a rule, boxcar and rolling scars are easier to treat than ice-pick scars, which can sometimes only be treated using dermal fillers.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation typically leaves a long-lasting dark spot on the skin. This type of post-acne mark isn’t technically considered an acne scar, but many dermatologists treat hyperpigmentation similarly to other pigmented scars. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation will generally present as a mark that is several shades lighter than the skin and may not respond to at-home products.
Similar to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory erythema occurs when inflammation leaves a mark on the skin. Usually, erythema will have a pink or red hue. Sometimes, post-inflammatory erythema will fade by itself over time, but this type of post-acne mark can also turn into permanent hyperpigmentation for people who have sensitive skin types.
Can You Do Anything To Prevent Acne Scars?
The best way to prevent acne scars is to prevent acne breakouts. Only when you can stop acne from occurring can you be sure to prevent future acne scars. To prevent acne breakouts, you will need to find skincare products and a skincare routine that will eliminate acne-causing bacteria on the skin surface, decongest clogged pores, and turn over new skin cells.
Another way to prevent acne scars is to adopt good skincare habits, such as not picking your skin. It’s best to avoid picking at pimples or popping them, as these activities can increase the inflammation in your skin and make it much more likely for your skin to develop acne scars. Additionally, keeping your hands off your face will also reduce the spread of acne-causing bacteria, which may help reduce breakouts.
Why Staying Out of the Sun Can Reduce Scarring
People who have inflammation of the skin should stay out of the sun. When inflamed skin is exposed to UV rays in the sun, the skin is more likely to trigger melanin production, which causes hyperpigmentation. People with acne-prone skin who are using products containing retinol and salicylic acid should also stay out of the sun to reduce hyperpigmentation. Wearing SPF formulated for acne-prone skin is one good way to reduce the risk of pigmented scars.
Can Oral Medication Prevent Breakouts?
Although good skincare is the pinnacle of reducing acne breakouts, there are some people who may benefit from using certain oral medications to correct acne. For example, a medication such as Accutane can be prescribed by a dermatologist to reduce oil production in the body, which can then reduce cystic acne breakouts.
Another common oral medication to use for breakouts is birth control, particularly for women who have hormonal acne. Some probiotics and supplements such as zinc are also used to reduce mild breakouts. If you want to use oral medications to control your breakouts, please speak with your dermatologist and primary care physician.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Whether you have mild scarring or severe scarring, you are likely a good candidate for treating acne scars. Your treatment plan will be customized to suit the needs of your skin so you can reduce hyperpigmentation and improve the look of atrophic scarring. A consultation will determine the treatments for acne scarring that are most appropriate for you. During your consultation, a skin analysis may be performed if you are still experiencing active acne breakouts.
People who may not be qualified for certain treatments include people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or using certain medications that cause photosensitivity, including topical products like retinol. People with active acne may need to postpone treatments for acne scarring until they no longer have breakouts.
Start Your Acne Scars Treatment Plan Today
Although severe acne scars can’t be entirely removed, mild and moderate scarring can see significant improvement after using the right combination of treatment methods. Most people can use resurfacing or restructuring treatments such as laser therapy, light therapy, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion to treat acne scars. If you want to explore the treatment options available to you, get in touch with Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY today.