Whether you had acne as a teen or are still dealing with it as an adult, you’ve probably come to realize that your pimples can sting in two ways. First, they appear as unsightly red blemishes. Once those blemishes finally fade, they can leave behind scars, either in the form of depressions in the skin or raised areas of scarring. Pimples and blemishes can also leave dark marks on your skin.
Fortunately, just as there are ways of managing your acne, there are ways of dealing with the scars it leaves behind. How you treat your scars depends on the type and severity. Your facial plastic surgeon can recommend the treatment that will give you the best results.
Sometimes, acne scars are depressed, or look as though they were pushed into the skin, not raised above it. One way to treat depressed scars is to use a filler, such as Belotero, to add volume and plump them up. While a hyaluronic acid filler will fill in the area and diminish the scar, it’s not a permanent treatment. Usually, the filler will wear off in about six months to year. You can keep getting the filler if you like the results it provides, or try another option at that time. Keep in mind that fillers are usually recommended for shallow scars. It might not provide the results you want if you have very deep, ice-pick scars.
Derma Planing or Microdermabrasion
If you have very slight, raised acne scars a treatment that focuses on exfoliating and resurfacing the skin can help reduce the appearance of those scars. Both derma planing and microdermabrasion are mild forms of manual exfoliation that can help reduce scarring. Although both help remove the top layer of dead skin cells, they aren’t the same treatment. Derma planing is generally more superficial and involves using a sterile surgical blade to exfoliate the skin, reducing fine lines, areas of hyperpigmentation and some scarring.
Microdermabrasion uses a diamond tipped device to exfoliate the skin. Like derma planing, it can help reduce the appearance of mild scars, fine lines and dark spots. While there’s no downtime, the skin might feel a bit flushed and look red for a few days after the treatment. It’s usually recommended that you stay out of the sun for at least a week after treatment, too.
Like derma planing or microdermabrasion, a chemical peel helps exfoliate the skin and can reduce the appearance of mild acne scars. Depending on the ingredients used in the peel, it can have a few other benefits, too. For example, a peel that contains ingredients known for their lightening abilities, such as kojjic acid and vitamin C, can help fade any dark marks left behind by blemishes. Usually, those dark marks fade with time, but you might want to see them gone sooner rather than later. A deeper peel, particularly one that contains salicylic acid, can also help clear up acne breakouts or keep them from occurring.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing treatments can help reduce the appearance of slightly depressed, shallow acne scars as well as raised scars. Since laser treatments work at a deeper level than chemical peels, microdermabrasion or derma planing, they can be used to treat more severe types of scarring. The Cutera laser used at the Choe Center is a type of ablative laser, meaning it destroys the outer layer of skin, so that it is replaced by healthier, more youthful looking skin.
Laser treatments aren’t for everyone. One drawback is that they tend to have a longer downtime than less in-depth treatments. It can take a few days for the skin to heal, for example. But, if you have very prominent scars, the extra downtime can be worth it for better results.
Coping at Home
Along with getting professional treatment for your acne scars, there are several ways you can continue to minimize scarring, keep dark marks away, or reduce the number of breakouts you have, at home. Your facial plastic surgeon might recommend certain skincare products to you to help control the acne, such as products that contain either alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids.
If one of your big concerns is hyperpigmentation, one of the best things you can do is stay out of the sun. Sun exposure can make dark marks worse. Always use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days and on days you don’t plan on spending much time outdoors.
When you do get a pimple or breakout, handle it with kid gloves. You might really want to pick at it, but resist the urge, as popping your pimples will make scarring or dark marks worse.
Whether you are currently dealing with acne, have scars from your teenage years or want to keep future scars from forming, Dr. Kyle Choe, a facial plastic surgeon in Virginia Beach, can help. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.