Millions of people suffer the disfigurement of acne scars long after the teen age years have passed and the acne has finally cleared. Inflammatory acne, the most severe form, can leave sufferers with deep permanent scars. Acne typically results in two types of scars-“icepick,” or pitted scars, and depressed, or “crater-like” scars.
The goal of acne scar treatment is to improve the appearance of scars, resulting in a boost of self-esteem. There are a variety of safe and effective acne scar treatments available.
- Dermabrasion. In this procedure, the skin is anesthetized with local injections, and either a sterile type of sandpaper or a rotary instrument is used to “abrade” the surface of the skin. The skin undergoes a “remodeling” process as it heals, resulting in a smoother appearance with less visible scarring.
- Excision and Punch Replacement Grafts. A depressed acne scar is surgically removed with an instrument called a skin punch and replaced with a new punch of skin from a scar-free area. After healed, the area is usually treated with dermabrasion or laser resurfacing. Punch grafts can assist in re-pigmenting scars that have lost their pigment and turned white.
- Subcision. After the skin is anesthetized, a small scalpel blade not much larger than a needle is used to make incisions beneath the acne scar tissue, allowing the skin to re-drape similar to lifting a piece of carpeting.
- Soft Tissue Fillers. Depressed scars can be temporarily filled with hyaluronic fillers, calcium hydroxyappntitie fillers or silicon.
- Laser Resurfacing. The Fraxel Re:store 1550 laser has been revolutionary in the treatment of acne scars. Multiple fractionated treatments with minimal downtime can be performed as a series with gradually replacement of essentially the entire skin surface.
- Ice Pick Scar treatment. 100% TCA or a small spot ablative laser can sometimes be used to treat the deepest center of ice pick scars, causing them to fill in with new collagen and close the scar from the inside.