Acne can leave emotional as well as physical scars. The good news is that advances in acne scar removal can help get rid of the physical remnants of your acne.Acne scars are usually caused by inflammation at a cellular level that causes darkened or lightened pigmented areas, disruption of collagen fibers and an overproduction of scar tissue. If this inflammation alters the collagen structure, a pock mark or other unsightly scar may develop.
There are many options today based on the type and the degree of your acne scarring. Some treatments require at-home follow-up care, and others are strictly in-office procedures. Options include:
Topical medications such as exfoliating tretinoin (the main ingredient in Retin A) and alpha hydroxy acids, the bleaching agent hydroquinone and lightening vitamin C serums.
Injectables to fill in depressions, including fat as well as products like Sicilcone, Sculptra, Radiesse, Juvaderm and Radiesse.
Fraxel Repair (Laser Skin Resurfacing)
TCA Cross also known as “Chemical Reconstruction of Skin Scars”, is a skin care method in which we apply a very high % of TCA to the pitted acne scar tissue only.
The TCA Cross Method needs to be repeated every 1-2 months so that dermal thickening and collagen production occurs inside the acne scars. After 3-9 months, you should see a great improvement in the appearance of your acne scars! This may be done up to a 12 month period if needed. This method works best if you have ice pick scars or depressed acne scars it has been proven that it works best with ice pick acne scars!
Punch Graft. Punch graft treatments are reserved for severe, deep acne scarring such as ice pick type scars. Your surgeon usually removes a small, oval piece of skin that contains the scar. Punch grafts are small pieces of normal skin typically taken from the skin behind the ear to replace scarred skin. They do form scars, but these scars are smoother and less visible than the original acne scars.
Subcision. Subcision is reserved for acne scars which are dented due to scar tissue bands pulling downward on the skin. This procedure involves using a needle to break up the scar from underneath. Sometimes an injectable filler is also needed.
Pressure bandages and massages. These can flatten some scars if used for several months.
Silicone-containing gels, creams and bandages. These products, if used regularly, may reduce scar thickness.
Cryosurgery. Freezing causes blistering of the skin that removes the excess tissue at the scar.
Cortisone (steroid) injections. These injections can reduce inflammation, causing scars to shrink and flatten.
If you have active acne, wait before starting an acne scar removal treatment. These treatments can exacerbate your active acne.
Be sure to disclose all of your past and present medications, if applicable, to your physician. For instance, if you were on Accutane to treat your acne within the past year, it may increase your chances of complications.
The best way to determine which treatment is right for your acne scars is to discuss your concerns with a practioner.
During your consultation, your practioner can explain the various techniques as well as their risks benefits and costs.
Cost depends upon your chosen treatment and the number of treatments needed. Deep ice pick acne scars may require several procedures or a few different types of therapy for optimal results. Even light acne scarring may take more than one treatment or a combination of treatments. Make sure to discuss acne scar removal costs with your practioner during your intial consult.