Acne scar treatment is given only when the patient experiences no new outbreaks of acne. If the breaking out continues, the patient should first look to stop it via treatment. Then comes the treatment of acne scars to which six main approaches are described in this article.
Dermabrasion has been in use for acne scar treatment for tens of years. As the name indicates, dermabrasion is essentially the removal (abrasion) of the skin (derm) that has been affected by acne. Initially, the technique employed sandpaper to remove the diseased skin and letting fresh skin grow from beneath. Now, with modern machines, rotating diamond-edged wheels, are used for the same purpose. It takes up to an hour to complete the procedure. This technique is recommended well for patients with light or dark skin color but not much for those with wheatish complexion.
Chemical peels for acne scar treatment use certain kind of acids that are applied to the acne-affected skin. Their effect is to remove the top layer of the skin and allow a smoother layer from beneath to appear at the surface. This procedure is faster and takes only 15 minutes. The main disadvantage of this method is that it is not very effective in severe cases of acne scars. The acids used also affect the skin by causing some redness and swelling. In addition, the skin may turn dry and develop flakes.
Subcision refers to the process of detaching the scar from the skin tissues that lie deeper. This causes the formation of a pool of blood under the scar. This blood clot allows connective tissue to build up under the scar. The scar is thus leveled with the skin surface.
Subcision is often applied in combination with dermabrasion or laser therapy.
This method of acne scar treatment uses laser for removing the acne-affected skin and allowing new skin to grow and replace it. Laser resurfacing is a rather new approach and studies are underway to establish it as an effective treatment method for acne scars. The results of this method are so far promising. Redness and swelling have been reported after undergoing this treatment method.
There are three types of punch techniques used as acne scar treatment: punch replacement, punch excision, and punch elevation. Punch replacement removes the pitted scar by using a punch of the hair-transplant type. For deep scars, this method is highly successful. Punch excision removes the pitted scar by tiny incision, which is then closed and let heal on its own. In punch elevation, the scar is cut loose at the root but is not discarded. Rather it is allowed emerge to the skin’s level.
Augmentation is a unique method of acne scar treatment. Material (mostly collagen) is injected under the scar, which causes the scar to float up to the surface of the skin. Sometimes, one’s own fat is used as the injecting material. The method does not cause any such swelling that might require time to recover. Augmentation is expected to become a more permanent acne scar treatment in the future.