Acne is the most common skin disorder faced by teenagers and young adults alike. The scars caused by acne can be very upsetting to the sufferer. Fortunately, there are many treatments for acne scars available today. In addition, there are many ways to deal with these scars as well.
Types of Acne Scars – Three basic types of acne scars exist based on their type. The three types of acne scars are; keloid, hypertrophic and atrophic. Each type of scarring has its own healing process and recovery time. The three main types of scarring are:
Koilony – These scars appear as silver colored lines. They are usually caused by submission scars. Subcision is a deep incision in the skin that was caused by trauma. This type of scarring will take longer to heal. Commonly used topical products such as alpha hydroxy acids, resorcinol, retinoids, or calamine solutions are used to speed up the scarring healing process.
Hypodermic Scars – These scars appear as red or purple lines on the surface of the skin. These scars often form after excessive submission of the epidermis and can be worsened by pressure and friction from the natural aging process. These types of scars may take longer to heal than hypertrophic scars. Commonly used topical products such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or vitamin C solutions are used to speed up the healing process.
Over-The-Counter Scar Treatments – Over-The-Counter treatments are usually a combination of topical and oral prescription acne treatments. Many over-the-counter treatments consist of benzoyl peroxide creams, retinoid creams, acid gels, and azelaic acid. The over-the-counter scar treatments available most commonly do not contain Vitamin A derivative compounds such as retinoids that could potentially cause excessive dryness and flaking. Most commonly, over-the-counter products contain salicylic acid and/or retinoids in combination with other acne fighting ingredients.
Laser Scar Treatment – Laser treatments involve both excision and laser resurfacing. Excision involves removing only the affected area with the use of medical or surgical instruments. The affected area will then be covered in a thin layer of skin. The laser will then burn away the original layer of skin in order to reveal smoother, newer skin. This process is often followed by skin grafting in areas where scarring is excessive. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may also recommend a collagen injection to help firm the skin and promote wound healing.
Chemical Based Scar Treatments – This category contains prescription based remedies. These types of acne scars treatments are designed for patients who are unable to seek treatment through standard means. Common chemicals used in chemical based scar treatments include phenolic compounds, trichloroacetic acids, and azelaic acid. While these types of scars treatments can produce excellent results for some, they are not without their own risks and side effects.
Topical Corticosteroids – Oral medications are one of the few ways to treat acne scars that do not require excision. These medications work to reduce inflammation by reducing the production of sebum. The decrease in sebum production promotes the development of new collagen in the skin, which replaces the old, damaged collagen. Topical corticosteroids can be used with either prescription or over-the-counter medications to treat pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
Ice Pick Scar Removal – This method involves the removal of a small piece of tissue using an ice pick. Small pieces of tissue are first frozen using liquid nitrogen. Then the ice-pick is gently removed using a tweezer. Once the tissue has been safely removed, a dermatologist may then use a laser to eliminate any remaining over-the-counter and prescription acne scars. After this procedure, patients can expect to see moderate improvement.
Different Types of Acne Scar Treatments – This category includes different types of therapies that can be used to treat scar tissue. Some of these include dermabrasion, chemical peels, glycolic acid peels, skin grafting, fractional laser resurfacing, skin resurfacing, and fractional laser resurfacing. These different types of treatments are often used to treat different types of acne scarring including pimple scars, acne scars that develop from an acute outbreak, as well as acne scars that develop over time. These various methods should all be discussed with your dermatologist before you decide which one will work best for you. Be sure to check your local library for more information on different types of treatments.
Collagen Scars – A common type of collagen scar, collagen scars are the result of collagen production being interrupted or too much collagen is not produced. Collagen is found in both the skin, as well as collagen is sometimes injected into areas of the body to help reduce certain types of skin wrinkles. This type of treatment is often used to reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne. Many people who suffer from keloid scars choose collagen as a treatment over acne because collagen keloids are not only less noticeable than acne scars, but tend to heal faster as well.