As if acne wasn’t annoying enough, the scars it can leave behind are so much worse. Pigmentation, rough texture, pock marks, you name it – acne scarring is a tough beast to bear. And for some sufferers, no matter how little they pick, squeeze or prod at their acne spots, they still get left with a scar.
We know, life’s pretty unfair sometimes.
So, what’s the deal with acne scars? Well, caused by an imbalance of collagen which is produced during the healing process, acne scars are loosely split into two categories: atrophic (depressed) and hypertrophic (raised). Atrophic scars are caused when your body produces too little collagen and are usually found on the face, whereas hypertrophic ones are caused by too much collagen and are more common on the back and chest areas.
We hate to be the bearers of more bad news, but because the skin loses collagen as it ages, acne scars become even more noticeable over time. But thankfully, there are plenty of safe and effective medical-grade procedures and skincare solutions that are 100 percent worthy of adding to your treatment plan. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?
1 Include Lasers In Your Treatment Plan
Laser resurfacing is a fantastic solution for treating pock marks and depressed acne scars, and can be split into ablative or non-ablative procedures.
Like a high intensity workout for your skin, ablative laser skin resurfacing is the preferred choice for deeper scars and uses lasers to remove the damaged outer layers of your skin and stimulate collagen production underneath. Ablative resurfacing is usually a one-off outpatient procedure but expect dryness, swelling, scabbing and redness for up to 21 days, so if you don’t want the world and his wife to know what you’ve been up to, a few weeks off work might be a good idea.
On the other hand, non-ablative laser skin resurfacing is great for shallow acne scars and uses lower energy lasers to produce microscopic zones of heat-induced injuries while leaving the surrounding tissues unharmed. This makes it less expensive, less aggressive and with less downtime, but does require between three and six treatments for the best results. Not sure which way to go? Speak to your aesthetic physician about the most effective option for your concerns.
2 Invest In Monthly HydraFacials
HydraFacials beat regular facials hands down and offer all manner of skincare benefits, including the treatment of acne scar issues such as poor texture, enlarged pores and uneven pigmentation. We recommend everyone to get on a regular HydraFacial plan to reap the rewards of its gentle extraction process and skin-loving ingredients. And if hyperpigmentation is your thing (but you really don’t want it to be) you could even ask your aesthetician to add a Britenol Boost to your treatment to further minimize uneven tone.
3 Ask Your Doc About Dermal Fillers
If patience is not your virtue, fillers are a safe and effective way to almost immediately plump and lift depressed acne scars. Obviously the dose, frequency and type of filler is something to be discussed with your injector, but we’re big fans of hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Restylane, Juvéderm and Belotero. You could also ask about Bellafill, which uses polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres suspended in a smooth collagen gel for both immediate and long-lasting results.
4 Try Microneedling
Microneedling encourages your body to produce more collagen by creating tiny, controlled skin injuries in the skin. The process (also known as collagen induction therapy) forces your skin to go into repair mode, turbocharging it to produce collagen and elastin to improve texture and tone while reducing the appearance of scars. Microneedling is safe for all skin colors and perfect for treating widespread, mildly depressed scars. The number of sessions required will depend on the condition of your skin, but you’re typically looking at around four or five treatments at monthly, or six-weekly intervals.
5 Don’t Forget About Dermabrasion
If you’re looking to diminish mild scarring over a larger area, dermabrasion is a great way to resurface and smooth the top layers of your skin. Using a small rotating instrument like a wire brush or wheel, dermabrasion wounds the outer layers of the skin and causes it to bleed. As the wound heals, these damaged layers make way for new, fresh skin underneath. Dermabrasion offers a much deeper exfoliation than its gentler cousin, microdermabrasion and it requires both a local anesthetic at the doctor’s office and a longer healing period. But it works, boy does it work.
PS: Think about upgrading your skincare routine to include some scar-busting solutions into your daily regime. Your aesthetic physician will know the best product for your scarring and skin type, but we recommend any medical-grade treatment containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to boost cellular turnover and even out tone and texture. Try SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.