If you have suffered from acne, you probably have some scarring, or at the very least, some marks and discoloration. Getting rid of current and future acne is only half of the acne problem. You are now left with the remnants of your past acne. You likely have one or more of the following: post inflammatory pigmentation (discoloration of the skin), macules (soft, flat scars that often have a bluish or violet color), keloids (bump like raised scars), ice pick scars (narrow, sharp scars, the skin looks as if it were stabbed with an icepick), depressed fibrotic scars (scars that look like big ice pic scars), boxcar scars (round pits that look like chicken pox scars-usually found on the temple and cheeks), and rolling scars (scars that give the skin a wave-like appearance).
There are several types of dermatogical scar removal:
Soft tissue augmentation (fillers)
Laser skin resurfacing
Dermabrasion is the mechanical removal of the top layers of the skin to improve its texture. A mechanical tool removes or “sands” the skin. The result is that a new, smoother layer of skin forms. After the treatment, skin will be red and swollen. Several days after treatment, the swelling, redness and pain begin to subside and the outer most skin layer falls off. It will take time for the skin to heal (approximately 10 days to 3 weeks) after a dermabrasion treatment. Dermabrasion is not recommended for dark skinned people. Asian or dark-skinned people may experience permanent discoloration.
Microdermabrasion is not as effective as dermabrasion because this skin resurfacing procedure only removes the outer top skin layers. Microdermabrasion is similar to dermabrasion in that it uses a mechanical tool to “sand” the skin. Microdermabrasion uses aluminium or magnesium oxide crystals over the skin. However, microdermabrasion is not as aggressive as dermabrasion because only a very thin layer of skin is removed. If you have deep acne scars, such as ice pick scars, this procedure would not make a significant improvement. If your acne scars are not deep, you may be pleased with the results. Another benefit of microdermabrasion over dermabrasion is that redness normally subsides within only one hour after treatment. Microdermabrasion is also good for getting rid of acne marks and discoloration. Like dermabrasion, dark skin types should avoid microdermabrasion because it may result in discoloration.
You can now perform microdermabrasion on yourself at home. There are several microdermabrasion kits that you can get at your local drugstore or stores like Target or Walmart. A few of the microdermabrasion kits are Oil of Olay’s Regenerist Dermabrasion home facial with lactic acid, L’Oreal Derma-Expertise ReFinish Micro-Dermabrasion Kit, and RoC Renewex MicroDermabrasion Expert System.
Soft tissue augmentation (fillers)
Fillers injected into the skin to help “plump up” acne scars. Collagen, Restylane, and Hylaform are the most popular fillers. Autologous fat transfers can also be used to fill the scar tissue. The fat transfer method involves transferring fat from your own body. Fillers and fat transfers are injected beneath the surface of the skin to elevate the depressed scar. The procedures are not permanent and must be repeated. Fillers tend to last up to 9 months depending on which you use. The autologous fat usually lasts up to 6 months. Rolling scars can often be improved by filler substances.
Excision is literally cutting out the acne scar. The tissue is removed and filled with either three methods.
(a “punch is a round, sharp “cookie-cutter” tool )
1.Punch excision- the scar is cut out and the surrounding skin pulled together. Deep acne scars such as ice pick and deep boxcar scars are frequently treated with the punch excision method.
2.Punch replacement – the scar is cut out and a small piece of skin from behind the ear is removed and transplanted to where the scar was located. This is another frequently used method for deep scars like ice pick scars or boxcar scars.
3.Punch elevation-the base of the scar is cut, but the walls of the scar are left intact. The scar base is then elevated to the surface of the skin and attached with sutures or skin glue. This method is frequently used on deep boxcar scars that have sharp edges.
Subcision is a method in which a surgical instrument, such as a scapel or needle, is used to raise the scar tissue away from unscarred skin . The method is used to break up the fibrous bands that cause rolling scars. Subcision is often applied in combination with dermabrasion or laser therapy. Rolling scars are frequently treated by subcision.
Laser skin resurfacing
There are 2 major categories of laser used in acne scar therapy. They are the ablative lasers and the non-ablative lasers. Ablative laser resurfacing removes the outer layers of the skin. Scar tissue is burned away and the dermal collagen is stimulated. This results in the dermal collagen tightening and reducing the amount of scar visibility. There is usually skin redness for several months following an ablative laser treatment.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing or “Photorejuvenation” does not injure the outer layers of the skin, so unlike albative laser treatments, the skin does not remain red for months following the procedure. Smoothbeam is the newest FDA approved laser for non-ablative laser resurfacing. The laser heats the sebaceous gland which stimulates collagen. Like the albative laser treatment, the result is that the dermal collagen tightens and the amount of scar visibility is reduced.
Chemical peels involves the top layer of skin being literally peeled away with the use of a chemical application. The result is the underlying skin is allowed to regenerate. Chemical peels are divided into three types: superficial, medium-depth, and deep.
Superficial or “light” peels are the mildest of the chemical peels. These peels include glycolic, lactic, and fruit acid peels (AHA) or Salicylic Acid (BHA). This peel is good for superficial acne scars that aren’t deep. Superficial peeling usually involves redness and scaling that ends within three to seven days.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the main peeling agent used for medium peels. Although, medium-depth and deep chemical peels are more aggressive, they also produces injury within the dermis and result in significant swelling over a period of 7 to 14 days.
Deep peels are produced using carbolic acid (phenol). Although deep peels are longer lasting, it may take several months for skin to recover from a deep peel.
A series of steroid injections can be repeated at 4 to 6 week intervals to soften and flatten a keloid acne scar. The steroid is injected into the scar itself. A minimal amount is absorbed into the blood stream.
If you are still suffering from acne and would like to have clear skin within 3 days, there is a method that you can use.