If acne scars bother you, safe and effective treatment is available. Treatment can diminish acne scars that cause depressions in the skin. Treatment can also safely reduce raised acne scars.
Many treatments are available. Treatments include laser treatments, minor skin surgeries, chemical peels, and fillers.
As we age, acne scars often become more noticeable because our skin loses collagen.
The key to effective treatment is to select the best one for each scar type.
For example, a patient who has some deep scars may benefit from getting a filler, which adds volume to the skin. This may be followed by laser treatments.
Before getting treatment for acne scars, it is important to clear your acne. New acne breakouts can lead to new acne scars. Having acne also means that your skin is inflamed. Inflammation reduces the effectiveness of treatment for acne scars.
At HEMAC , a tailored treatment plan is created with you. Several considerations such as aggressiveness of treatment, downtime, how many sessions you will need and expectations of the outcome will be discussed in detail before we start.
In creating this plan, the treatment depends on scar types and where the scars appear on your body.
If you have taken isotretinoin to treat acne, be sure to tell your dermatologist BEFORE treatment for acne scars begins.
To obtain the best results, we like to combine different modalities so as to get you the best outcome. AT HEMAC, we have many different lasers working on different layers of the skin in achieving the best outcome.
What treatment is suitable for my skin?
The below table gives an idea on the kind of combination treatments we offer at HEMAC for a certain kind of scar.
|Treatment for depressed acne scars
||Treatment for raised acne scars
| Acne scar surgery
|| Injections (corticosteroids, 5-FU)
| Resurfacing: Laser therapy, microdermabrasion
|| Acne scar surgery
|| Laser therapy
| Skin tightening
| Collagen-induction therapy with micro-needling with Radiofrequency
|| Scar creams and gels, silicone (dressing and bandages)
Depressed Acne scars:
Best results often come from using 2 or more treatments.
Acne scar surgery:
Minor surgery to treat very noticeable acne scars. The goal is to create a less-noticeable scar. The remaining scar should fade with time.
Surgery to lift the scar or break up scar tissue is to bring a scar closer to the surface of the skin. This tends to make it less noticeable. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic and best done prior to laser treatments.
Resurfacing removes layers of skin, which allows the body to produce new skin cells.
At HEMAC, we use Fraxis laser (Fractionated carbon dioxide technology).
This is done under local anaesthetic and is generally used to treat a large area- full face, forehead/cheeks to blend acne scars that are superficial and widespread. By contouring the scar edges, it lessens the appearance of the scar and its shadow that it creates.
Fillers can be used to safely and effectively plump depressed acne scars. Many substances can be used such as hyaluronic acids, collagen, patient’s own fat even permanent fillers.
At HEMAC, we recommend hyaluronic acids initially to visualise how good a lift is possible and then to discuss longer term options. These fillers gives very natural and soft effects to the overall appearance of scars.
This treatment is safe for all skin colours.
A technology called radiofrequency (RF) is used to tighten the skin. As the skin tightens, depressed acne scars become less noticeable.
Radiofrequency requires repeat appointments. Most patients return once a month for 4 months. After a radiofrequency treatment, many patients say they feel a burning sensation for about 1 hour and their skin has a pinkish colour for 2 to 3 days.
Radiofrequency treatments require some at-home care.
Also known as “needling” or “micro-needling,” this treatment encourages your body to make more collagen.
Many patients require up to 5 treatments every 2-4 weeks for a treatment.
After each treatment, you may have some swelling and possibly bruising. These side effects usually clear within 4 to 5 days.
You will need to follow a skin care plan while undergoing treatment.
Research shows that this is a safe treatment for people of all skin colours.
Raised acne scars
Injecting medicine directly into the scars can soften and flatten raised, thick scars.
Getting the best results often requires repeat visits. These injections are usually given once every few weeks. How often you will need to return for treatment depends on the scar and many other considerations. You may need to return once every 2 to 6 weeks for a while.
Many patients receive injections of corticosteroids. A chemotherapy medicine known as fluorouracil (5-FU) can also be effective in treating raised acne scars. Some scars respond best when injections of both 5-FU and corticosteroids are used..
If the scar does not respond (or stops responding) after 6th session, acne scar surgery may be recommended.
Lasers and other light treatments can treat raised scars safely and effectively. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser (PDL)/IRIS can help reduce the itch and pain, diminish colour, and flatten a raised scar. For people with lighter skin, intense pulsed light (IPL) also may be a treatment option.
What outcome can a person with acne scars expect?
Most treatments can reduce the size and visibility of acne scars. With time, many of the treated acne scars fade, making them barely noticeable.