Acne can be upsetting and a source of anxiety for many people. If you suffer from acne scars that make you feel embarrassed or self-conscious about your skin, you aren’t alone. Luckily, there are treatment options that can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars and even remove them entirely in many cases.
Different Types of Acne Scars
Before you become familiar with the different processes for removing acne scars, it helps to understand the different kinds of acne scars that affect people. Some acne scars are, unfortunately, permanent, while others fade away as time goes on. There are macules, for example, which are flat, red spots remaining from the spot where an acne lesion once was. These can persist for a few weeks before going away on their own. Skin discoloration, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, can result from healed acne scars and remain visible for months even after an acne lesion has healed. There’s also tissue scars, which look like enlarged and raised tissue growth. Referred to as keloids or hypertrophic scars, these are caused by excess production of collagen within the skin. Lastly, another form of acne scar comes from loss of tissue. There’s a few names for these scars that look sunken in the skin, including atrophic macules, depressed fibrotic scars, follicular macular atrophy, ice pick scars, or soft scars.
Removal Options for Your Acne Scars
Whatever type of acne scar that affects you, you have some options to consider when it comes to removing these scars and getting your personal confidence back. It’s important to keep in mind that not all treatments will completely cure these scars, and not all procedures will be covered by basic insurance plans, either. If you’re negatively impacted by the appearance of scars, pursuing a treatment plan may be right for you. Your trusted dermatologist in San Diego, CA, can recommend treatments for your specific situation, as well as provide tips to minimize future scarring.
Some of the most common scar removal treatments are:
- This highly effective scar removal treatment employs a high-speed brush or similar instrument to resurface your skin. Although you’ll probably need a few days to heal following the treatment, it’s likely to help reduce or even remove the depth of your acne scars.
- A less intensive kind of dermabrasion, this treatment should only be performed by a professional, certified dermatologist or aesthetician. They will take a spray of miniscule crystals, rather than a high-speed brush, to remove skin on the surface. Although you may need more than one treatment, there is now downtime, so it’s a pretty simple process overall.
- Chemical peels. Many people who have struggled with acne scars try chemical peels, which work particularly well for shallow acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation surrounding a healed acne lesion. Doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and spa aestheticians all can carefully apply a certain chemical to your skin that will remove the outer layer for a smoother all-around appearance. The strength of the acid can depend on the treatment, and there may be some redness and/or peeling in the few days following the treatment. The best cosmetic dermatology clinics will have a variety of chemical peels to choose from.
- Retinoic acid. Depending on the type of tissue scar you have, traditional acne scar removal treatments may not be in your best interests. That’s where retinoic acid cream comes in hand. This cream can be applied directly to your keloid acne scar to reduce its visibility, giving you a confidence boost and helping you to feel more comfortable in your own beautiful skin.
- Many dermatology centers use lasers to remove the skin’s outer layer, contour acne scars areas, and lessen the red spots surrounding healed acne lesions. Different lasers can be used for different acne scars, such as raised or flat scars. Like some other treatment options, more than one round may be necessary, and you may need a few days to rest, relax, and heal.
- Your dermatology clinic can tell you more about fillers, which is when collagen, hyaluronic acid, or fat is used “fill out” specific types of acne scars. This works especially well for scars that have caused a depressed look to skin. These fillers will eventually be absorbed into your skin, so you will need to repeat the process once every few months. The good news is there’s no downtime necessary.
- Punch excisions. This is a skin surgery that physically removes acne scars by cutting out each scar individual. The hole that remains from the incision can be fixed with stitches and/or a skin graft so it’s not too noticeable. This is a very popular option for pitted acne scars
- Skin grafting. Your doctor will take a very small section of normal skin to fill in and repair an area with scars. For acne scars, skin grafts are typically taken from the skin behind your ear. Skin grafting also can come in handy for situations where another acne scar removal method, such as dermabrasion, creates a noticeable tunnel in your skin.
With all of these treatment choices, it’s important to remember they may certainly improve your skin’s appearance, but they may not be capable of completing restoring your skin to its pre-acne look. It’s a good idea to be realistic with your expectations while still exploring all your options and choosing the one that will work the best for you.
If you’ve been suffering from acne scars and you’re ready for a positive change, call Academic & Aesthetic Dermatology Consultants today to discuss your options and schedule an appointment. We offer same day appointments, our hours vary. We will help you have a bright and beautiful future without scars!