What are acne scars?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that can result in scars in certain susceptible people. Some people with severe cystic acne who have not had it treated properly or quickly enough will develop scars. Other people are just unfortunate and can have minor acne that eventuates in scars. Still others have minor acne that they picked on damaging their skin which caused scars.
Are there different types of scars?
Yes, there are ice pick scars, depressed hypotrophic scars and elevated hypertrophic scars.
How are scars treated?
Ice pick scars are best treated with microdermabrasion and lasers. Hypotrophic depressed scars can be treated with hyaluronic acid filler injections like Juvéderm or Restylane. Lasers can be used as well. Hypertrophic elevated scars are treated with injections of hydrocortisone to thin the skin.
What types of lasers are used for acne scars?
The Fraxel laser is often used. It requires a series of laser treatments. These are performed one month apart. Most patients require approximately four treatments though each person is different. A specific treatment plan will be customized for your scars. There is approximately one week of downtime for each Fraxel laser treatment.
Are there other lasers that do not require downtime?
The Medlite laser can be used to treat acne scars. It is a non-ablative laser that does not require downtime. In our office we use it in conjunction with microdermabrasion. It can take 6 treatments or more performed two weeks apart. Each patient is different and must be evaluated depending upon the depth of their acne scars.
Can treatment modalities be combined for acne scars?
Often times we combine different treatments for acne scars. Sometimes someone will start with a Fraxel laser to get a head start on their acne scars and then switch to the Medlite laser when their active life doesn’t allow for downtime.
What can I do if I don’t have scars but I just have residual redness from acne?
There are products that can be used to decrease redness. It is essential to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen with zinc oxide every day rain or shine. Zinc oxide is anti-inflammatory so it helps with the redness. There are also products with green tea, caffeine and resveratrol which help with the redness. Then there is a laser called the Genesis laser which can reduce the redness dramatically. It usually requires anywhere from 3 to 6 treatments done 2 weeks apart. An added benefit is that it improves the texture and shrinks the pores.
What can I do if I’m left with residual hyperpigmentation from acne?
It is essential to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen every day. There are also products that help with this hyperpigmentation.
What ingredients should I look for if I have hyperpigmentation from acne?
Retinol, niacinamide, kojic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid and hydroquinone can be very beneficial and help decrease the hyperpigmentation.
If I still have hyperpigmentation what else can I do?
There are peels that can help. The Vitalize peel can be helpful to decrease the pigment. It may require a few peels.
Can I have laser to decrease the hyperpigmentation?
The Fraxel laser can help decrease hyperpigmentation. If you want a no downtime laser then the Medlite laser can also decrease hyperpigmentation.
Will I ever have perfect skin if I’ve had acne scars?
Although skin can greatly be improved it’s important to be realistic about your treatment. Most of our patients are very happy with the results. But it’s important to note that once your skin has been scarred it will never be picture perfect. There is no limit to the number of non-ablative lasers you can have, so you can keep improving the overall texture and look of your skin.
Can I have my acne scars treated while I have active acne?
No. As much as we’d like to start treating your acne scars immediately it is very important to get your acne under control first. If your acne is not under control then your skin is inflamed and the lasers, peels and other treatments will not be as effective. Don’t despair Dr. Jaliman will clear your acne up and then begin working on your acne scars.
Call board certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman today to schedule a consultation for your acne scar treatment.