Acne scars are a painful reminder of an embarrassing and unsightly condition. The best way to prevent acne scars from forming is to treat signs of acne early, thereby avoiding the possibility of scarring. However, once formed, acne scars are best treated as soon as possible.
Until recently, acne scars have been difficult to treat and almost impossible to erase. But with the advent of dermabrasion and non-invasive laser treatments, as well as other scientific advances, the ability to improve the appearance of acne-scarred skin, restore and rejuvenate it, brings hope to many people of all ages.
The removal of acne scars, and the type of procedures used, depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the scars, the type of scar and scar location, tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies, and the age and health of the person. The following techniques are successful at treating mild to moderate acne scars.
Topical treatments can help improve mild scarring. Products like Retin-A and alpha hydroxyl acids not only treat the acne, they stimulate the formation of new collagen, which improves and minimizes acne scarring. Alpha hydroxyl acid, glycolic acids and retinoid peels will exfoliate the skin and improve the look of scars.
Sunscreen is important. Once active acne has been treated and the healing process begins, it is important to apply a strong sunscreen daily. This prevents the skin from further damage.
Microdermabrasion is non-surgical, non-invasive skin resurfacing procedure performed by a trained skincare professional. A fine, controlled spray of crystals buffs away the surface layer of skin. Gentle abrasion of this outermost layer removes these dead skin cells and stimulates the production of new, healthy cells. An attached vacuum simultaneously suctions the exfoliating grains or crystals back into the machine, along with the dead or loosened skin. Microdermabrasion can successfully remove mild to moderate acne scars, but it is rarely very effective in removing deeper scars. Often, several treatment sessions are required to achieve the desired results.
High Frequency Treatment
High frequency skin treatment has been used by the Europeans to improve the condition of the skin since the 1970s. Ideal for treating mild acne scars, high frequency facial machines provide a gentle alternative to more invasive procedures such as laser resurfacing and chemical peels. The application of low level electrical current improves blood circulation and cell renewal. Increased production levels of collagen and elastin soften the skin, reduce pore size and improve overall skin texture. High frequency also promotes a cleansing antibacterial action that helps eliminate and prevent acne.
Chemical peels are acid chemical solutions used to improve and smooth the texture of the skin by removing the damaged outer layers. Chemical peels normally work by burning off the outer layer of the skin and exposing the inner layers that are free of scars. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each person’s needs. There are three types of chemical peels, each can be applied in varying concentrations depending on your skin care professional’s assessment of your condition:
- Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest form on chemical peels. These chemicals can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. Alphahydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin’s texture.
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is commonly used for medium-depth peeling. More than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result.
- Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep peel. Since phenol sometimes lightens the treated areas, skin pigmentation may be a determining factor as to whether or not this is an appropriate treatment. Phenol is primarily used on the face; scarring may result if applied to the neck or other body areas.