Acne scars are often an embarrassing reminder of your skin’s worst days, and it can feel pretty difficult to feel good about the appearance of your skin when you have permanent scarring. Fortunately, treating scars has become much easier over the last few years, and many patients can benefit from long-term results when the right acne scar treatments are used. At Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD, we believe there is a good scar treatment for every skin type and skin tone.
Acne Scar Treatment
An acne scar treatment is an aesthetic treatment that revises the condition of the skin to correct uneven tone or texture caused by scarring. There are several treatments to choose from, but the best treatment for you is the one that addresses your specific type of scar and matches well to your skin type and tone. When we make our acne scar treatment recommendations, we consider every aspect of your skin so you can love the skin you’re in again.
What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scars are the marks left on your skin after acne has healed. Typically, scarring happens when the skin tries to heal inflammation caused by active acne before acne has gone away. Scarring can also be caused by exposure to the sun, repeated acne in the same area, or skin habits like picking or popping pimples.
Sometimes, your skin type is a huge factor in whether you will form a scar. If your skin is prone to burning in the sun or scarring, then you are more likely to form scars. Even genetic factors will determine how likely your skin will scar, since your genetics dictate the rate of your collagen growth and other regenerative properties about your skin.
What Are the Common Scar Types?
Scarring comes in many forms, so both your skin type and the type of acne you are dealing with will determine how your skin scars after acne. As a note, while some scarring may fade by itself, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, most scars don’t go away on their own and will require treatment. Some common scars include:
- Dark spots
- Enlarged pores
- Icepick scars
- Rolling scars
- Boxcar scars
Generally, scarring falls into two categories; pigmented or textured. Pigmented scars are the dark spots, red spots, or flat hyperpigmentation that is left behind after acne heals; pigmented scars only affect the upper layers of the skin. Textured scars can be several skin layers deep and make the surface of the skin feel and look bumpy.
Are Pigmented Scars or Textured Scars More Difficult To Treat?
Many people form both pigmented and textured scars when acne is active. However, the difficulty of treating each of these scar types will depend on your skin’s natural rate of healing. For the most part, treating textured scars can be more difficult since these types of scars are caused by uneven collagen distribution in the skin. But pigmented scars on certain skin tones can also be challenging to resolve.
What Acne Scar Treatment Options Do You Have?
When it comes to picking the scar treatment right for you, there are several options to consider. Usually, the scar treatment you use will depend on the type of scar that is being treated, as well as how well controlled your acne is and your skin type. The following treatment options are popular at our clinic.
Chemical peels remove the topmost layer of skin cells from the skin surface, which is why peels are an ideal solution for treating dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels can also be extremely useful in managing or controlling acne, as well as shrinking the size of enlarged pores.
Laser treatments are commonly used to treat both pigmented and textured scarring. Laser treatments can accelerate the skin cell turnover cycle to correct the appearance of dark spots and increase collagen production. Laser treatments are ideal if you have different types of scars, but are usually most appropriate for superficial pigmented scars that cause redness. Treatments like Laser Genesis can be especially helpful for scarring.
Certain prescription creams can lessen the appearance of pigmented scars. Dark spots and hyperpigmentation can be corrected with topical creams that increase cellular turnover and brighten the complexion. Prescription creams can also help manage acne.
RF microneedling is a popular treatment that combines radiofrequency with microneedling to address complex scars and is appropriate for both textured and pigmented scarring. At our clinic, we typically used RF microneedling to treat indented scars, rolling scars, or other scars that cause deep skin texture issues. The thermal energy of radiofrequency combined with the collagen restructuring of microneedling can be a solution for even the most severe acne scarring.
Microneedling can also be used by itself to correct shallow scars and restructure collagen in the skin to create a smooth skin texture. Microneedling sometimes produces even better results when combined with PRP, which can be especially beneficial for those who have skin that easily scars.
We can also use a minimally invasive technique called subcision to treat particularly challenging scars. For many people, icepick scars are the most difficult type of textured scar to treat since this type of scarring is several skin layers deep and very narrow. Subcision works by using a thin scalpel to break up scar tissue and enable other scar treatments to be more effective.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Anyone who has challenging scars left behind by acne is usually good candidates for scar treatments. Before you can have any type of scar treatment, however, your acne must be well-controlled, which means you are not having large or severe acne breakouts.
Scar treatment can only be successful when skin inflammation caused by acne is no longer a factor that can interfere with healing your skin. If your acne is well-controlled by your current acne treatment regimen, then you are likely a good candidate for scar treatments.
Find the Right Scar Treatment For Your Skin
While some scars may go away over several months or years, some scars are stubborn enough to stay on your skin. The good news is that you don’t have to live with scarring caused by acne. From chemical peels to advanced treatments like RF microneedling, there is a scar treatment that is ideal for your skin tone and type. Dr. Rodney is highly skilled and provides the absolute best treatment for your skin type and needs. Dr. Rodney has extensive experience in all aspects of cosmetic, surgical, and medical dermatology for all skin types. Schedule your consultation today!