ACNE SCAR TREATMENT

Acne scarring occurs in the dermis, which is the area of skin immediately below the surface that acts somewhat like a cushion. When people suffer with acne, the dermis becomes inflamed as the body attempts to repair the wound created when scaly skin, pimples or blackheads are burst or otherwise removed.

In more severe cases, the body can effectively put “too much effort” into dealing with the wound, meaning that there is an excess of collagen built up. This collagen may stay in place permanently, creating the scarring. This scarring often occurs in a way that creates a pit in the skin, sometimes known as an ice pick scar.

In some cases the result is not a true scar, but simply an excess of pigmentation. This may fade away over a few months or years, but generally isn’t permanent as with other acne scars.

There is a particularly wide range of acne treatments when compared with other cosmetic medical treatment. They all work towards the same goal of removing the external layers of the scar tissue cells, leaving the scar either heavily faded or completely removed.

By cooling the skin prior, during, and after treatment most patients do not find this procedure painful, although in some cases there might be a minimum amount of discomfort. The feeling has often been described as being snapped by a rubber band on your skin. For patients that are extra sensitive to pain we can prescribe a topical anaesthetic cream to be applied 45 minutes before coming in for the procedure. Patients with more severe acne scars who require deeper laser treatments may also be given prescription medication to use prior to the procedure to minimize the pain.

Since acne scar therapy can employ a number of different procedures the time it takes for a patient to see results will vary. Generally, patients will see minimal improvement after the first treatment; however, they will notice gradual improvement with each subsequent treatment and even up to 6 months after the last treatment. Most patients will see a significant improvement after 3-4 treatments spanning about a 4 month period.

Since most acne scar therapies are non-ablative, there is no problem using makeup to cover the treated area immediately after having a procedure performed. However, most patients find no need to use makeup after a treatment since the treatments generally are not noticeable.

We recommend the use of a sunscreen lotion with an SPF of at least 25 and either a copper peptide topical cream or L-ascorbic acid cream twice a day for the treated area. Specific copper peptide creams have been proven effective at accelerating the healing process and aiding in the generation of collagen. Additionally, we advocate adopting a good skin care regimen which includes the use of at least a moisturizer that contains a UVA and UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Any glycolic or retin-A products should be discontinued several days pre and post laser procedures.

In most cases patients may schedule treatment sessions as close as 2 weeks apart. Depending on the acne scar therapy the doctor chooses patients may find they need to wait up to 4 weeks between treatments.

Since acne scar treatments involve remodelling the collagen network deep in your skin to remove unwanted skin imperfections, the effects are long lasting and permanent.

No, you don’t have to stop oral antibiotics or topical agents if you still have acne lesions on top of previous scars. However, for most procedures for the semi-ablative procedures for severe acne scars you will need to stop the use of any retin-A or glycolic products during the entire healing process.

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