Many people develop noticeable acne scarring over years of persistent breakouts. Sometimes, acne scarring can be a temporary superficial situation that results from healing acne flare-ups. For other people, acne scarring tends to leave more permanent depressions and dark brown or red pigmentation in the skin. Many people with acne scarring complain of a “cobblestone” appearance in areas where they have had persistent acne breakouts.
Different types of acne:
Pimples, also called acne lesions, occur when a pore on your skin becomes clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Once this pore is clogged, the bacteria are able to grow beneath the skin and create a pimple.
Acne appears in different forms:
Mild acne: Whiteheads or blackheads that appear on the face at various times and resolve.
Moderate acne: Red and inflamed pimples, known as papules, and red pimples with a white head, or center, called pustules.
Severe acne: Pimples that emerge from beneath the surface of the skin. They appear as larger lumps that are filled with infected material and are very painful. This form of acne is called nodular acne.
The more severe forms of acne cause the most scarring. Nodules are more likely to create a permanent scar than a simple whitehead. It is best to treat acne as soon as possible. If you are treated shortly after a breakout, it may prevent more severe acne scarring.
How to treat acne scars:
Most skin changes that appear on the skin after the patient experiences a mild breakout are red or brown in color and tend to fade and disappear without any treatment.
Acne scars come in two forms:
Rolling scars are scars that have a gradual indentation or concavity into the skin.
Scars that are deep, but thinner in shape.
Before acne scars can be smoothed out, the active acne must be treated and resolved.
Mild vs. Severe Scarring:
Depending on the severity of the acne scars, the treatment for scarring varies. In some superficial cases, the doctor may suggest a chemical peel or microdermabrasion to improve the skin texture.
There are many things that you can do if you have a significant amount of scarring from a large number of previous breakouts:
- The Fraxel Laser Treatment: This type of treatment works at the level of the dermal collagen. This laser is used to improve deep scarring from acne with an average of only three treatments. The treatment causes little harm to the surface layer of the skin and the healing time is very short. The main side effect of this treatment is a slightly sunburned look for several days. After three treatments, deep acne scarring often improves significantly. The advantage of the procedure is that it can be done with no downtime or time off. See our page featuring the Fraxel laser treatment for more information.
- CO2 Fractional Laser: First the doctor will use local anesthesia to numb the skin. The procedure involves removing the top layer of skin that is damaged and also tighten the middle layer of skin. This procedure leaves the skin looking much smoother. Areas of the skin that are treated will normally take 7-10 days to heal completely but will remain moderately red or pink for several weeks. The result is a smoother and softer complexion. This is an excellent treatment for more advanced deep acne scarring. Often, 1-2 treatments are necessary. See our page featuring CO2 laser treatment for more information.
- Dermabrasion: To mechanically resurface the skin, this treatment requires an instrument that has a rotating brush with a spinning diamond head. After this procedure is performed, the skin is able to heal in 2-3 weeks. Once the skin is fully healed, a new and smoother layer of skin replaces the old and damaged scarred areas that once covered the surface of skin. Results may vary.
If you suffer from acne scarring, Best Impression Medical Spa and Laser Center encourages you to make an appointment for a free consultation and skin evaluation. During this visit, you will meet with a skin specialist. Your scars will be evaluated and recommendations will be made as to how you can decrease, and, in some cases, eliminate unwanted scarring. In addition to treating acne scars, Dr. Mirabile and Dr. Hsu offer treatment of active acne with topical washes, medicated ointments, and, in severe cases, possibly antibiotics.