Let’s be honest once your acne has been effectively treated by a skincare professional, has significantly improved and is under control, the first thing you want to do is show off your clear skin. But what if your confidence is still at an all-time low as a result of the scars and uneven complexion that have been a result of years of suffering with acne?
You don’t have to worry, as there are a variety of methods which have been developed to support your skincare journey and target the variety of scars which can range from the common pitted icepick to indented rolling scars and the unwanted red and brown spots, which presents as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. We’ve explored seven of the most popular methods to treat acne scars and have given our professional opinion on each below.
Microneedling is a highly effective procedure which can be used to reduce the appearance of mild to moderate acne scarring. Known also as skin needling, dermal rollering and percutaneous collagen induction therapy (PCI), the treatment involves the use of a sterile single use roller consisting of hundreds of micro needles which are used to stimulate collagen production through the wound healing process and induce skin regeneration.
When used in conjunction with a tailored acne treatment, LED light therapy and topical serums such as Pore Infusion Multi Peptide Anti Aging serum and Oxygen Serum, micro needling can produce incredible results as nutrients are absorbed up to 80% more effective after a treatment. Skin needling is believed to also promote scar healing as the micro needles when used directly on the epidermis (top layer of the skin) release growth factors similar to Fraxel laser, but without the potential destruction of melanocytes. This treatment is also suitable for all skin types and clients who are not contraindicated to it.
Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Laser Fraxel skin resurfacing is another method which helps to address acne scarring, with a fractional non-ablative laser creating tiny microscopic wounds and coagulation, as a result of a narrow beam being delivered into the skin, which stimulates the natural healing process. Due to their avoidance of heat, non ablative treatments are very popular, as they produce good results and require little recovery downtime.
It’s important to take into consideration that a series of appointments will be required to retexture the skin and that this treatment works best when combined with other procedures such as skin peels, micro needling and LED light therapy. Fraxel treatments are not appropriate for clients who are pregnant, have any contraindicated medical conditions, which will be assessed by your laser technician or those who are taking prescribed acne medication.
Skin peels are well known to be effective for clients who wish to address a variety of skin issues ranging from sun damage, to uneven skin tone, age spots and mild acne scarring. Far from being new to the industry, they are in fact one of the oldest cosmetic procedures in the world dating back to the ancient times, with Cleopatra herself bathing in milk (lactic acid) to maintain her alluring looks. Nowadays chemical peels administered by a licensed estheticians tend to be composed of a mixture of mild acids and enzymes which when applied topically, remove the surface layer of dead skin cells and speed up the regeneration of the epidermis.
Acids in the peels generally tend to fall into the alpha hydroxy group (AHA’s) which consist of glycolic acids, lactic acids, salicylic acids, fruit acids and beta-hydroxy peels, all of which target mild to moderate scarring. Skin peels have the ability to break down superficial scars and temporarily alter the PH balance of the skin. By breaking down the bonds of damaged skin cells and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, skin peels can be highly effective for treating acne scars.
That said, we’d recommend that they are incorporated into a treatment plan to suit your particular needs rather than being used solely to address acne scars. It is possible to have deeper peels such as TCA Cross, Carbolic Acid and Jessner’s peels which produce results more rapidly, however these would be done in a clinical outpatient environment by a Cosmetic Surgeon or Dermatologist. Sunscreen must be worn at all times after a skin peel treatment.
LED Light Therapy
While LED light therapy* has numerous benefits for skin health, which have been widely popularized by A list celebrities and top skincare estheticians, we’d recommend that a 30 minute LED light session, is combined with a series of modalities such as a acne facials, skin peels and microcurrent technology to diminish scarring and pore size, rather than as a stand alone treatment. Using a combination of red and blue lights to refine uneven skin texture, accelerate your treatment recovery, increase blood flow, destroy p. acne bacteria, minimize redness, stimulate cellular renewal and enhance the production of collagen and elastin. In addition to speeding up the body’s natural healing process, LED light therapy is a must have addition to any acne treatment program.
The eDerma Pen and other types of plasma pens have become very popular over the last couple of years to address premature signs of ageing and superficial scarring. Using the next generation of high energy short wave diathermy to lift, tighten and reduce visible signs of ageing and scars, this type of treatment is ideal for clients who have a few indented depressions which they wish to reduce. Causing topical stress to a specific target area of the body, the procedure does not pierce the skin, as the controlled microtrauma is caused through sublimation and high energy, which artificially triggers the body’s natural healing process. Immediately after the treatment a carbonized crust will form which will remain for up to 7 days, after which the skin will begin to rejuvenate. Redness will fade after several weeks with collagen being activated over the following months to plump up the scar depression. Several treatments may be required and it’s always advisable to further support the treatment with a range of skincare supplements.
There are a several surgical procedures available at medical cosmetic clinics which are able to physically remove acne scars. These types of treatments are usually reserved for the most serious of cases as they need to be carried out by a plastic surgeon or licensed cosmetic surgeon. Rolling scars for example can be eliminated via a procedure called subcision which removes the upper layer of skin from the underlying scar tissue, allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area, which then clots and helps to form new connective tissue. Punch elevation and excisions are other methods used to address box and ice pick scars, which physically remove the scar and seal the wound level with the surface of the skin.
There are various forms of dermal fillers available which can be administered by a medical practitioner to address acne scars. These range from Jevederm to Restylane, Belotero, Silicone, Perlane and Radiesse, which can last between 6 months to 2 years. It’s important to look at all options as some practitioners believe that temporary fillers give only modest results, in comparison to other modalities such as fractioned laser, Sculptra/fat filling and scar subcisions. Dermal fillers are believed to be particularly effective with filling the depressions that are present with boxcar and rolling scars.
Further information relating to acne scars and suitable post treatment advice can be found on the American Association of Dermatologists website.
Do you need expert skin care advice from a licensed esthetician/acne specialist? Schedule your appointment for a consultation today to get personalized advice on products and treatments that are right for you.
© 2012-2017 Nikolett Ivanyi, Envision Acne Center; For more information go to www.envisionacnecenter.com