There are two types of acne, inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Inflammatory acne, ie. a “pimple” or a deep cyst, is the type most likely to cause scarring on the skin. After an inflammatory acne lesion causes damage to the skin, the natural response of the skin is to produce collagen to repair the damaged skin. The new collagen often looks different then the surrounding skin and the final result is an atrophic (indented) acne scar.
There are many options for the treatment of acne scarring and the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema left behind after acne lesions. For the treatment of atrophic (indented) scarring, resurfacing lasers are the gold standard; this means that they are the most effective and safest treatment available today. Examples of resurfacing lasers are the Fractional CO2 laser and the Fraxel laser. These are different types of lasers, but they work in similar ways. Both the Fractional CO2 laser and the Fraxel laser poke tiny holes in the skin, which stimulate the production of healthy collagen to fill in those areas. The Fractional CO2 laser treats acne scarring in only one treatment. The Fraxel laser has less downtime than the Fractional CO2, but requires 3-4 treatments to smooth out acne scars. The Fractional CO2 and Fraxel laser also address post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark marks left behind after acne lesions) and post-inflammatory erythema (redness left behind after acne lesions.)
Does the entire face need to be treated for cheek scarring?
Utilizing the F.A.S.T. technique, acne scars can be targeted without treating the surrounding tissue. We find that this leads to less downtime and faster improvement of the treated acne scars.
Are there other treatments besides resurfacing lasers for acne scars?
The KTP laser is a no-downtime treatment that addresses post-inflammatory erythema (redness) left behind after acne lesions. Chemical peels and some topical medications, such as retinoids and Hydroquinone, can be used to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark marks left behind after acne lesions.) Punch excision, subcision and dermal fillers are sometimes utilized in the treatment of atrophic acne scars if laser treatment if not deemed appropriate.
How do I know which acne scar treatment is best for me?
Your acne specialist at Clear Clinic can examine your acne scarring and determine which method of acne scar treatment will be most effective for you. They can also help you optimize your skin care routine and acne treatments to prevent new acne scars in the future.