Although acne is traditionally thought of as a disorder of the teenage years, long after those years have passed and the acne condition has faded, many adults are left with facial scarring from acne they had years earlier. Thanks to modern medical advancements, there are very effective treatments available today to treat acne scarring.
Acne is a disease that often leaves scars behind. There are several different kinds of acne scars. Pitting scars are commonly known as “ice pick scars.” The more crater-like scars are known as “depressed scars.” In addition, changes in the color of the skin can also occur at the site of previous acne lesions. The skin can end up darker than normal, lighter than normal, or redder than normal.
For a single ice pick scar, the most effective treatment is simple excision. However, when the scarring is more widespread, other methods must be used to treat the scars. Dermabrasion was one of the first methods developed for treating acne scars, and it is still used today. With dermabrasion, a rotating wire brush or a spinning diamond burr is used to smooth down the surface of the skin. As the skin heals, a new layer of skin replaces the abraded skin, resulting in an improved appearance in the treated area. However, dermabrasion can require 10-20 days to heal, and may result in redness that can persist for several months. For these reasons, other methods were developed that have quicker recoveries and fewer side effects.
We are now using the Fraxel laser for acne scarring. We believe that the Fraxel laser is the best modality available today for treating more generalized acne scarring. With the Fraxel, the facial skin is resurfaced over a series of 4 or 5 treatments. Because the Fraxel laser preserves normal healthy skin between the areas of skin that the laser has treated, healing and recovery occur more quickly after each laser treatment.
We have been extremely impressed by the improvement in acne scarring after Fraxel laser treatment. The Fraxel laser is a “home run” when it comes to the treatment of acne scarring.
Our patients who have acne scarring are invited to call our office and make an appointment to have their scarring evaluated. In addition to scar excision, dermabrasion, and Fraxel laser resurfacing, other treatments for acne scarring are also available. Thanks to the development of a number of different techniques, acne scars can be treated with a variety of safe and effective procedures that improve the appearance of a patient’s skin. With all of the modalities available today for treating acne scarring, no one should ever have to live with their acne scars.