If you think acne and acne scars are only a problem for teenagers, think again.
Acne and resulting scarring are problems that cause a lot of embarrassment and frustration for people of all ages.
It is embarrassing to experience skin redness, “pock” marks and deep scarring long after the acne is gone. The frustration sets in after trying one thing after another to restore skin to a smooth, clear complexion.
It seems that short of medical procedures, nothing seems to work well to minimize acne scarring. Attempts to cover redness and scarring looks unnatural in most cases, and can bring even more unwanted attention to the problem.
Because the scars are obvious and nothing really works to hide them, it does a real number on self-esteem and self-confidence. Being acutely aware of acne scars every single day affects how confidently you carry yourself. That kind of insecurity is hard to overcome.
Unfortunately, no amount of covering up can fill in the indentations and uneven complexion that result from acne scars. You know how much worse a cover up job can look outside in the sunlight or under the glare of unforgiving fluorescent lighting.
Superficial treatments such as topical creams or daily acne scrubs do little to improve the skin damage from acne scars.
What Causes Acne?
You may have heard a few myths about acne relating to your diet. While greasy food and chocolate were once believed to be culprits in the onset of acne, that is not true.
While greasy junk food is not good for anyone’s diet and certainly doesn’t help promote healthy, vibrant skin, acne and acne scarring is not primarily caused by your diet.
The truth is that acne is caused by clogged hair follicles underneath your skin. These hair follicles become clogged due to an excessive production of something called sebum. Sebum, a type of sticky oil, clogs the hair follicles and protrudes as bumps underneath the blocked/clogged pores of your skin. These bumps take the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and on an even deeper level, cysts. Welcome acne.
The actual process of acne breakouts goes something like this:
• Glands located in deep layers of your skin produce the sticky sebum (oil)
• These glands, which are connected to the hair follicles, produce too much sebum
• The hair follicles are slightly exposed through your pores
• The pores become blocked with sebum, which gets trapped underneath the skin
• Add bacteria already in your body + dead skin cells as the skin is constantly shedding them + sticky sebum = acne
Your body produces sebum for the purpose of keeping hair follicles and the surface of the skin lubricated. However, several things can trigger an overproduction of sebum such as changes in hormonal activity (pregnancy or menopause), puberty (raging hormones), stress or even certain medications.
Depending on what type of acne and how deep down it goes into the skin layers, it is very possible to experience skin inflammation, discoloration, redness and acne scars even after the visible acne has cleared up.
A good acne medication and diligent skin cleansing plan can get rid of visible acne, however, does nothing to clear up residual damage to the skin like acne scarring.
Types of Acne Scars
There are four common types of scars that can result even after visible acne is gone.
Sometimes called “pits” or “pock marks,” the scars are very noticeable and can run very deeply into several layers of the skin.
These scars are narrow but deep indentations in the skin, which resemble the effects of an “icepick” puncturing the skin.
These scars are deep, pitted indentations, larger and wider than icepick scars.
These scars are also indentations in the skin surface, with a round, dipped appearance and softer edges in the indentation area than the icepick and boxcar scars.
These scars are raised, not indented, on the skin. The scars form hard, raised bumps on the surface of the skin.
Acne Scars – The Solutions
After determining which types of scars are left behind on the skin, it’s time to get serious about the treatment options for restoration of the damaged skin.
We recommend three excellent treatment options:
This treatment is a safe, completely non-invasive resurfacing option with the goal of improving acne scars, discoloration and overall skin tone and texture. Treatment is given with a fractional laser.
The fractional laser, treating “fractions” of skin at a time, works by penetrating deep into several layers of skin. The severity of scarring will determine the depth of the laser treatment.
The laser focuses very specifically on each area to be treated, sending laser light beams to targeted areas of the skin.
Skin damage is corrected because the production of collagen, the body’s natural healing agent, is stimulated to heal and correct skin issues. When stimulated deep within the skin layers, the automatic “healing” response is triggered, sending more collagen to the injured (laser treated) areas, resulting in smoothing and plumping of acne scars.
The procedure begins by applying a numbing gel over the area to be treated. Treatment can be performed on numerous areas of the body, not just the face.
Although the skin may feel “hot” during treatment, the skin is cooled towards the end of the procedure. There may be a slight stinging sensation, but is typically well tolerated by patients. There may be a minimal amount of bleeding at treatment site. Discoloration may appear, but should fade within just a few days.
A typical treatment is performed within 30 minutes or less.
Aftercare instructions are provided and include the use of topical creams and moisturizers to promote faster healing, reduce inflammation and minimize the “sunburned” appearance of skin. Avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen is usually recommended.
Recovery time depends on the extent of the treatment, but healing is fast, usually within 7 days or less.
A typical treatment plan calls for anywhere from 1-4 treatments within a 4-6 week period. It depends on the severity of scarring and how the patient responds to the initial treatment.
Cynosure ICON 1540 Fractional Laser
The Icon™ utilizes fractional laser technology to deliver specialized pulses of energy into your skin and targeting your unwanted pigment, wrinkles, stretch marks or scars without causing harm to the surrounding skin. Once the energy is absorbed into the skin your body’s natural healing process will begin creating new, healthy skin in the area that was treated. Over the next few weeks you will see continued improvement in both the coloration and smoothness of your skin.
This is a non-ablative procedure, meaning that the recovery is typically faster. This is a similar treatment to the Sciton Profractional, but uses a different wavelength of laser energy.
This procedure is a more advanced variation of manual microneedling with the addition of a derma (skin) pen. The derma pen gives more control of areas to be treated for even better results.
PRP Microneedling works well on acne scarring because it goes deep into several layers of skin to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is produced by the body to repair damage, in addition to improving skin tone and texture in the process.
PRP Microneedling can also be performed on multiple areas of the body in addition to the face.
This procedure is sometimes called the “Vampire Facial®” due to the red blood cells that are sometimes applied after the treatment or the minor bleeding that may be caused as part of the procedure.
PRP stands for “Platelet Rich Plasma.” While the numbing gel is applied to the treatment area, your own blood is drawn. Your blood is centrifuged, a process which separates plasma from the blood.
The plasma from your own blood is densely rich with platelets. Platelets are used to both heal tissue and stimulate new cell growth. New cell growth and newly healed tissue, plus increased levels of elastin and collagen in the skin, means a smoother, fresh complexion for you.
Because your own blood and plasma are introduced back into your skin during the PRP Microneedling process, it escalates the level of healing and collagen production. The risk of rejection or infection from this procedure is rarely an issue as your own blood and plasma are used.
Instead of a manual derma roller, a handheld device containing different lengths of needles attached to its head and rolled over the skin. We use the Skin Pen II® which automates the Microneedling process. The Skin Pen uses needles to slightly puncture the skin, but offers far more control in the process versus its manual counterpart. It is the only FDA approved microneedling pen on the market. If you are considering this procedure it is important to chose a provider that uses an FDA approved device over sterility concerns.
When the needles puncture the skin, it produces micro tears or injuries, which trigger the body’s healing collagen to increase production and relocate to the micro injured area for healing. Additional collagen and elastin production heals the micro injuries, in addition to creating smoother, plumper skin.
PRP Microneedling works especially well on patients where Profractional laser treatments may not be an option.
PRP Microneedling is a fast, comfortable, minimally invasive procedure which is typically completed within 30 minutes or less.
A numbing gel is applied to the treatment area. A sterile set of needles is inserted into the derma pen and much like laser treatments, can be adjusted to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin.
The PRP treatment is applied to the area before the Microneedling procedure and is allowed to absorb into the skin. The procedure is quite painless, feeling like a deep cleansing scrub or prickly object is rubbed over the skin.
More of the PRP treatment is rubbed into the target area after Microneedling is complete, so the PRP can sink into the tiny holes in the skin created by the needles. This allows the PRP to penetrate even deeper into the skin.
After the procedure, it is common to experience a bit of site bleeding, but most patients report skin redness.
Aftercare treatment is explained and topical moisturizers are recommended to alleviate redness and speed up the healing process. The skin usually heals within about 3 days or less.
Your skin will have an improved, rejuvenated appearance within the following post-treatment weeks. As more collagen is produced, the better your skin will look.
For the best results, approximately 3 treatments are recommended within a 4-6 week timeline. To maintain results, a yearly maintenance treatment is recommended.
Acne Solutions – The Reviews are In
According to testimonies for patients experiencing mild to severe cases of acne scarring, plus wrinkles and other skin tone issues, there is a 96% favorable rating of the Sciton Profractional™ laser treatment.
Figure 1: Before and After 1 Treatment of Sciton Profractional Acne Scars.
This is a collection of real results, photos and testimonials from patients during a 24-month time period. According to the results posted on realself.com, patients of all ages experienced positive
results from this treatment option.
Because PRP Microneedling creates micro tears in the skin which stimulate collagen and elastin production for healing, the results for acne scarring are especially impressive. In addition to revealing healthier, smoother skin, it can also improve firmness and elasticity, resulting in a younger look. Adding the PRP treatment gives an extra boost the skin needs to dramatically reduce acne scars.
According to actual testimonies and photos of real results as posted on realself.com, patients reported an 89% favorable rating during a 24-month review period.
Why continue to suffer from the embarrassment and frustration of acne scars?
If you want to repair the lingering damage from acne and give your skin a fresh, rejuvenated appearance, Sciton Profractional™ and PRP Microneedling are effective solutions in the treatment of acne scars.
Imagine how your confidence will soar with a smooth, clear complexion.
No need to fear unforgiving light or sunlight. Our treatment options deliver dramatic results and ultimate transformation of your skin.