Virtually everyone is affected by acne at some point in their life. Most teenagers and about half of all adults cope with everything from whiteheads to pimples to deep cysts. Unfortunately, more severe forms of this skin condition can leave lasting acne scars—and even mild to moderate cases can result in damaging inflammation if you squeeze or pick at the pustules. We offer several treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars at our Los Angeles practice, but we also tell our patients that the best treatment for acne scars is preventing them from occurring in the first place.
Since inflammation is the single greatest factor that causes face and back acne scars to develop, it is important to minimize flare-ups as much as possible. Direct exposure to sunlight can prolong breakouts and even make them worse. Avoid direct sunlight at peak hours, use sunscreen, and wear hats and other forms of protection. Resist the urge to pick at pimples, even when they have resolved and left behind dry skin. By picking at your skin, you can spread bacteria deeper and can cause collagen loss in the area, which may prevent proper healing.
Since there are several treatment options available, the right one is determined after a careful examination, so there is no single, one-size-fits-all, best way to get rid of acne scars. Our experienced providers at Cassileth Plastic Surgery and Skin Care will assess your skin during an in-depth consultation, working to determine the depth and severity of any scars, the current condition and health of your skin, and more.
Certain acne scars respond well to being "filled in," while others can be treated with a combination of removing upper skin cell layers and encouraging renewed collagen production deeper in the skin. While many people want and hope for total acne scar removal, we will help you to set realistic cosmetic goals. In some cases, we can make scars virtually invisible, while in others cases, we can reduce their severity to make them less noticeable, providing patients smoother, more even skin texture and tone.
Many surfaces can be made smoother by filling in depressed areas, and the face is no different. We can use dermal fillers, such as Juvederm®, to add tiny amounts of volume to areas marked by shallow to moderate scarring. This treatment option works best on rolling acne scars (slope-edged marks, usually a result of long-term inflammation) and some "boxcar" scars (which have sharper, better defined edges).
Chemical peels remove skin cells from the surface, which is a good strategy for minimizing the look of certain moderate acne scars. Because peels take skin away, the body also begins healing itself, which involves creating new collagen and other helpful molecules in deeper layers. This new production of collagen deep in the skin can help smooth dimpling caused by acne scars, providing a smoother appearance of the skin. As these elements increase in the skin, acne scars—including narrow and deep ice pick acne scars—can fade even more.
There are two approaches to skin resurfacing with light energy: ablative and non-ablative. A CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment is ablative, meaning it removes skin tissue—including scars in the targeted layers. It also triggers collagen production. By removing the scarred tissue on the surface, your own body is triggered to create new healthy cell growth in a smooth, even-pigmented fashion. Non-ablative treatments, such as ResurFx, kick-start collagen production without creating wounds in the surface layer.
We use microneedling for acne scars that are more shallow, such as rolling and certain boxcar types. As with CO2 lasers, this treatment makes wounds in the skin's surface to trigger healing. This response improves the overall look of skin in the treatment area, including scars.
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