Posted on 28 Apr 2016
Acne scars can be a very traumatic problem. Even though the acne breakouts may be controlled or have long since stopped, the scarring remains for a lifetime.
Treatment for acne can be as troublesome as the disease itself. Usually, successful treatment requires a team approach with a dermatologist and a cosmetic surgeon.
First, attention must be turned to stopping any outbreaks, then focus can begin on repairing of the scarring. If outbreaks continue, scarring is likely to continue, and any treatments aimed at treating scarring would be futile. There are many options for treatment of acne today depending on the severity of outbreaks. These are beyond the scope of this article, except to say that treatment for the underlying disease process is a must. Once the outbreaks are well controlled, attention can be turned toward erasing the lasting marks on the face.
Of note, acne is not only a disease of adolescence. Adult onset acne is not completely uncommon and is seen in women who are pregnant – often with more severe scarring. Treatment options for acne scars depend on the severity of the scarring and the skin type of the person wishing repair.
In people with darker skin, options are limited because of concern for pigment irregularities after treatment. For lighter skinned individuals, treatments range from simple facial exfoliation to deep chemical or laser peels to surgical intervention.
For light scarring after acne, attention is placed on skin resurfacing. By taking off the outer layers of skin and stimulating collagen synthesis with new skin formation, acne scars can be reduced. This is best simulated by placing a finger on either side of an area of scarring and lightly pulling. If the scars fade, this can be a good option for resurfacing.
For deeper scars, a deep chemical peel, ablative laser or CO2 resurfacing, or dermabrasion may be necessary. Deeper scars can be surgically excised with the larger acne scar replaced with a surgically placed small line. This can later be refined with other rejuvenation techniques. Again, several options exist.
Punch grafting affords a simple method for treating multiple scars. A circular punch is used to create an incision around an acne scar. The scar is then allowed to heal and the resulting skin irregularity is smoothed.
Subcision involves releasing the tethering attachments underneath the scar and then filling the space with either a temporary or long lasting filler to prevent the scar from reforming when it heals. With the advent of new temporary artificial fillers such as hyaluronic acid, this is a good option for larger depressed scars.
Whatever the treatment option, it is important to consult a physician with a large arsenal of treatment options. It is also important to remember that just as acne scars did not form overnight, treatment can sometimes take months to get the desired result. Once you find an experienced physician and decide on a treatment option, remember that it can be a long road, but usually one that is worth the wait.
Contact Neaman Plastic Surgery today to discuss your treatment options for acne and other scarring. We are happy to schedule a consult and develop a plan that is right for your particular situation.
Dr. Keith Neaman
Dr. Neaman is a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in surgical body contouring. He prides himself on being on the cutting edge of plastic surgery. He takes an informative approach to each consultation, and through open dialogue and communication, he helps his patients decide on a treatment plan that meets their needs.