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Acne scars on the face, chest and back are very common. Some 80% of people between ages 11 and 30 will get acne, and one out of five of those people will develop scars.
Acne scars are the result of inflammation of acne blemishes. The acne pore swells and a breakdown occurs in the wall of the pore. Some acne blemishes are small and the scars created are shallow and heal quickly. Sometimes the contents of blemishes spill into the surrounding tissue and cause deeper scars. The skin’s response is to repair the scar by forming new collagen fibers..
Acne scars take on two main forms: either a scar develops when there is a loss of tissue, resulting in an indentation in the surface of the skin; or, a scar develops that is raised on the surface of the skin. This type of acne scar, in fact, is a sign that your skin is doing its job — but, perhaps, too well. Your skin creates collagen (“repair tissue”) to help heal the wound — the acne — but, if it makes too much collagen, raised scars form.
If you have acne scarring, you are likely to have more than one of the following types. Rarely does someone have just boxcar scars, or just keloid scars, etc. Each of these can be treated with varying degrees of success:
- Ice pick: An ice pick tool has a wide shaft that narrows down to the tip. This type of acne scar resembles the tool in that it is a hole that is wide at the top and narrows to a point as it goes deeper into the skin. Such an indentation is common and also one of the most challenging scars to heal. You will find them on your forehead and upper cheeks, where your skin is thinner.
- Rolling: These scars are typically found on the lower cheeks and jaw, where your skin is thicker. The indents have sloping edges that make the skin look uneven and wavy.
- Boxcar: Boxcar scars are indents that have sharper edges. Those edges go down deep into the skin. These scars are common on the lower cheeks and jaw.
- Hypertrophic or keloid scars: These lesions of scar tissue rise off the skin. They are caused when fibrous tissues, the collagen, in the region of the skin overgrow. These scars are usually found on the chest, back and shoulders and jaw line and can be itchy, tender or painful.
There are many cosmetic procedures to choose from. You and your skin professional at Natural Radiance will discuss the best options for your acne scars. Some treatments nearly remove the scars while others help the skin heal itself with its own collagen. It is not unusual for a client to have repeat procedures, or need two or more types of procedures to restore their skin. Resurfacing Procedures:
Chemical peels: This treatment uses special chemicals to remove the top layer of old skin. Typically whenever the top layer is removed, the new skin that grows in is smoother and has fewer scars.
Dermabrasion: This treatment uses a special tool that produces friction to remove the top layers of skin, much like a sander removes the top layers from a plank of wood.
Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion, similar to dermabrasion, uses a special machine to remove the upper layer of skin.
Laser resurfacing: A laser delivers heat to the scarred collagen under the skin. This relies on the body’s wound-healing response to create new, healthy collagen. This encourages the growth of new skin to replace it. There are two different types of laser resurfacing: ablative and non-ablative. Your dermatologist will determine which type is best for your skin type and nature of your acne scars.
- Steroid injections: In this treatment, steroids are injected into a raised scar. Steroids soften the fibrous tissue, causing the scar to flatten.
- Dermal Fillers: With this treatment, a substance is injected under a depressed scar that lifts the skin upward.
Microneedling: This treatment uses small needles to intentionally injure your skin in a controlled manner to stimulate collagen production that can smooth scars.
- Microneedling: can be done alone or with heat (i.e. radiofrequency). Radiofrequency microneedling has shown to help with textural improvement from acne scarring and can prevent further acne from forming.
- Excision: With this technique, Dr. Edwards cuts into the skin, removes the acne scar and then uses stitches to close the wound.
- Subcision: This treatment uses a needle to break apart fibrous bands that pull down scar tissue into the lower levels in your skin. The skin is released so that it can return to the surface and can lay smooth naturally.
Ask your Natural Radiance skin professional about other options that might work best for you.