If you’ve had acne in the past, then it’s likely you may be dealing with acne scars now. Reducing scarring caused by acne can be very challenging, particularly if you have skin that is prone to developing scars. However, there are several treatments for acne scar removal that can improve the appearance of your skin. Learn more about the treatments we offer at Metro Dermatology in New York before you schedule your consultation.
Will Acne Scar Removal Look Natural?
Patients who have acne scars may be concerned about whether the results of acne scar removal treatments will be natural. After all, if you have acne scars now, one of your biggest priorities may be maintaining a healthy, natural-looking appearance for your skin. The good news is that treatments to remove acne scars work with the natural processes in your skin to restore collagen formation and even-toned pigmentation.
Different Types of Acne Scars
It’s important to understand that there are different types of acne scars, which means that some treatments may be more appropriate for you than others. The most common type of acne scars are pigmented scars, which include post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema. Hyperpigmentation causes dark spots on the skin, while erythema causes red spots and inflammation.
Textual scars are also fairly common and can be much more challenging to treat. Textural scars include boxcar scars, ice pick scars, rolling scars, and keloid scars, which are raised above the surface of the skin. Treating textural acne scars often involves inducing collagen production to correct the textual abnormalities of the skin.
Common Acne Scar Treatments
Several treatments are used for acne scar removal. Pinpointing the treatment that is most appropriate for you will depend on a skin analysis from a dermatologist, who will examine your skin tone and type to identify the best treatment that will work for your specific blend of acne scars. Because most people have more than one type of acne scarring, it’s likely your treatment plan will involve multiple phases to restore your skin.
Topical medications are often the first option for reducing the appearance of shallow textural scars and pigmented scars. Usually, topical medications include prescription strength retinoids, which are made with a derivative of vitamin A that resurfaces the skin gently over time. Topical medications can also include lightening creams, which can reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Some patients respond better to chemical peels, which exfoliate the skin to improve skin health and appearance. For acne scarring, chemical peels can be very effective to reduce hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, and certain types of shallow textural scars. Light and medium strength chemical peels can be used with other treatments, including topical medications and other aesthetic techniques.
Laser treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars are increasingly popular. Because laser treatments can be customized to meet the precise needs of your skin, there are several laser systems that can be used for reducing the appearance of acne scars.
For example, fractional lasers can exfoliate the skin and induce deeper collagen production to improve textural scarring. Light laser treatments, including LED therapy, can be used to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema.
Finally, microneedling is another exceptionally common treatment used to reduce acne scarring. Microneedling works in two ways to improve the tone and texture of your skin. By accelerating your cellular turnover and inducing the production of collagen in the dermal layer of your skin, you can address shallow scarring and pigmented scars with this treatment.
Should You Focus on Healing Acne First?
Although healing acne scars may be your top priority, the fact of the matter is that you will get the best results when you focus on healing acne first. After all, by controlling your acne breakouts, you will be able to prevent future acne scarring. You will need to work closely with a dermatologist to identify the best treatment for your specific type of acne, particularly if you have tried over-the-counter methods for your acne with little success.
The Acne Treatment Process
Everyone’s acne treatment process looks a bit different, but if you are going to a dermatologist for your treatment, you may expect a topical acne medication as part of your plan to control breakouts. Topical medications can include retinoids and antibiotics, which are applied daily to reduce inflammation, kill acne-causing bacteria, and prevent breakouts.
For those who have cystic acne, oral antibiotics and acne medications such as Accutane may also be key options. Some dermatologists like to use the power of blue light therapy to improve acne breakouts. With regular LED treatments, acne-causing bacteria can be controlled, inflammation can be reduced, and the overall tone and texture of the skin can be maintained.
The Importance of Consistent Skincare
Another element of your acne treatment process will be consistent skincare. It’s important to find skincare products that work with your skin type to control acne breakouts. It’s also essential to remain consistent with your skincare, since inconsistent cleansing, medication, and moisturizing can lead to inconsistent results.
The Underlying Complications of Acne
There may be underlying complications that are contributing to your acne. For example, women may experience hormonal cystic acne during certain times of the month. Some medications can also contribute to acne, including birth control, antibiotics, and more.
The Reason You May Be Prone to Scarring
Your dermatologist may analyze your skin to determine whether your skin type is prone to scarring. Certain types of skin may be more likely to develop acne scars, such as erythema, pigmentation, and keloid scars. If your skin is pre-determined to develop acne scars, then controlling your acne breakouts should be the first step of your treatment.
The Best Ways to Minimize Scarring Risks
Finally, there may be certain lifestyle habits that can contribute to the development of acne scars. For example, exposing your skin to sunlight when your skin is inflamed from acne can make you more prone to developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Picking at your skin, squeezing active acne, and other actions can potentially spread bacteria, make acne worse, and disrupt the collagen formation process.
What Can You Expect From Acne Scar Removal Treatments?
Ultimately, what you can expect from your acne scar removal treatments will depend on your specific treatment plan. For example, your treatment process when you use laser treatments is much different than if you use topical medications.
What Should You Do Before Treatment?
Before certain treatments, such as chemical peels, microneedling, and laser treatments, you should avoid direct contact with the sun for several days. This will ensure your skin will not develop hyperpigmentation complications in response to your treatment.
What Should You Do After Treatment?
No matter what type of treatment you are using to remove your acne scars, one of the cardinal rules of your aftercare is to use sunscreen consistently. From topical treatments to laser treatments, it’s essential to use sunscreen to protect your skin from hyperpigmentation risks, since even topical and oral medications may make your skin more prone to light sensitivity.
It’s also important to moisturize your skin regularly, since some treatments for removing acne scars may make your skin more prone to dryness, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year.
How Soon Will You See Results?
Usually, it will take several weeks or months before you will see significant results for your acne scars. That said, most people will notice faster results when they’re treating pigmented scars because turning over new skin cells is a much faster process than inducing collagen production within the dermal layers. Additionally, the severity of your acne scars will influence how quickly you will see results.
Are You a Good Candidate?
If you have any type of active acne or acne scarring, you’re likely a good candidate for treatments to remove acne scars. You must attend a consultation with a dermatologist to analyze your acne type, skin type, and scar type. You may not be a candidate for certain treatments if you are pregnant or you have certain skin conditions, such as eczema.
Minimize the Appearance of Acne Scars
Treating acne scars can be challenging, but there are several treatments you can explore to reduce the appearance of pigmented and textural scars. Whether you want to reduce hyperpigmentation or deep boxcar scars, visit us here at Metro Dermatology in New York.