Treat and Reduce Acne scars and skin blemishes
What Causes Acne Scarring and Blemishes?
Acne, acne vulgaris, is the most common skin disorder in North America. It is the medical term for pimples which appear when pores get clogged with dead skin, oil, and bacteria build up. Bacterial overgrowth occurs within pores and hair follicles due to an overabundance of skin cells and sebum in the hair follicles.
Acne frequently results in scarring. Scars secondary to acne can lead to physical disfigurement and the psychosocial impact can be profound.
Skin conditions like acne scarring and blemishes (hyperpigmentation) are not particularly damaging to the physical health, however both can have a significant impact on confidence and self-esteem for many individuals.
Acne scars generally appear in affected areas as pits, depressions or a general unevenness to the surface of the skin.
Patients often use the term acne scars to refer to the persistent hyperpigmentation that is also a common side effect of acne, particularly in those with dark skin (skin phototype IV to VI).
Early and effective treatment of acne is the best means to minimize and prevent acne scarring. Effective acne treatments are available to treat existing pimples and prevent new ones from developing. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of lasting physical and emotional damage.
Unlike the permanent textural changes that result from true scarring, pigmentary changes tend to slowly improve over time.
In addition, cosmetic treatments can help to reduce scars and scarring, and the changes in skin color caused by acne. Although a variety of therapies may reduce the prominence of acne scars, no therapy removes acne scars completely.
Treating acne scarring
Treatments for acne scarring are regarded as a type of cosmetic surgery.
It’s important to have realistic expectations about what cosmetic treatment can achieve. While treatment can certainly improve the appearance of your scars, it can’t get rid of them completely.
After treatment for acne scarring, most people notice a 50-75% improvement in their appearance.
Some of the available treatments for acne scarring are explained below.
Chemical peeling uses a chemical solution in order to improve the skin’s appearance. It can reduce or eliminate fine lines under the eyes and around the mouth, correct uneven skin pigmentation, remove precancerous skin growths, and soften acne or treat the scars caused by acne. The procedure can also treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and scarring, as well as skin blemishes common with age and heredity. Chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and legs.
Laser treatment can be used to treat mild to moderate acne scarring. There are two types of laser treatment:
1) ablative laser treatment – for severe scars where lasers are used to remove skin around the scar to produce a new, smooth-looking area of skin
- The procedure would be it felt like pin sized shots of heat to your face 15 at a time that later heals and contracts to decrease the size of the sca, the down time is about 7 days.
- The whole procedure takes around 3 hours.
2) non-ablative laser treatment – where lasers are used to stimulate the growth of new collagen (a type of protein found in skin), which helps to repair some of the damage caused by scarring, and improves the appearance.
- Laser genesis , Laser limelight and Laser NDYAG combinations are used for this procedures.
Punch techniques are used to treat ice pick scars and boxcar scars. There are three types of punch technique:
- punch excision – used to treat mild ice pick scars. The scar is surgically removed and the remaining wound is sealed. After the wound heals, it leaves a smoother and more even area of skin.
- punch elevation – used to treat boxcar scars. The base of the scar is surgically removed, leaving the sides of the scar in place. The base is then reattached to the sides, but lifted up so it’s level with the surface of the skin. This makes the scar much less noticeable.
Subcision is a surgical treatment that can be used to treat rolling scars. During surgery, the upper layer of the skin is removed from the underlying scar tissue. This allows blood to pool under the affected area. The blood clot helps form connective tissue, which pushes up the rolling scar so it’s level with the rest of the surface of the skin. Once subscision has been completed, additional treatment, such as laser treatment and dermabrasion, can be used to further improve the appearance of the scar.
The selection of an approach to treatment is based upon factors such as the type and degree of acne scarring, patient preference, side effects, cost and treatment availability.
The medical doctor and staff at LaserMedica have successfully treated hundreds of patients with a variety of complex skin types and conditions, including many with acne scars or blemishes. The LaserMedica team is among the very few in the Calgary area with the experience to successfully treat patients with darker skin.
Please contact us for an individual consultation at the LaserMedica Calgary Laser Acne Clinic to determine the best treatment for your skin type.