Getting rid of acne is usually the first priority for people who suffer from the skin condition, but many people are disappointed to find that acne scars can be just as disfiguring to the skin as the original acne was. There are scar treatments for mild acne that can be accomplished at home, but the spa or dermatologist’s office is a better place to treat severe or deep acne scars.
Researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that teens with acne are three to four times more likely to be depressed than students that don’t have acne. Many people need to get rid of their acne scars to help their self-esteem. Here are some options for getting rid of acne scars.
Light chemical peels can be performed at home or in a spa setting using a solution containing beta hydroxy acid or alpha hydroxy acid. The acid is generally applied using sterile gauze or cotton pads. It is left on the skin for a few minutes before being rinsed off with water. Light chemical peels remove the surface layer of the skin to reveal new, unblemished skin underneath. Side effects include redness, peeling, itching, and sensitivity to sunlight. These side effects should be mild and subside after a few days. This method is most effective for the removal of surface scars and mild imperfections.
Deep chemical peels should only be performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon because the acids are dangerous. An acidic solution is applied to the skin to remove several layers of the skin so that new, unblemished skin grows. This procedure requires intravenous hydration and cardiopulmonary monitoring. Sedation may be necessary because the acids can cause pain. Some acids that are commonly used may be toxic to the patient’s kidneys. Side effects are the same as the lighter peels, but they are often more severe and may last for a week or more. The skin may be sensitive to sunlight for several months following treatment.
Laser resurfacing is a scar removal technique that uses a laser to remove scarred skin so that new, unblemished skin can form in its place. Results can vary and this technique is most effective for the removal of surface scars. Using lasers for scar removal is a promising technique because they are easy to control than other scar removal methods. Local anesthesia is used and the laser is passed over the affected areas of the skin 1-3 times and most laser resurfacing procedures take only a few minutes to complete.
The CO2 laser is more powerful than the Erbium YAG laser (Er:YAG) so it tends to produce better results, but comes with more side effects. Side effects include redness, hyperpigmentation, and infection. The skin generally takes 2 to 3 weeks to completely heal from this procedure.
Dermabrasion is a process in which a high-speed wire or diamond wheel or brush to remove the surface layer of the skin. This removes superficial scars and reduces the appearance of deep acne scars. Microdermabrasion is a less invasive process that can be performed at home or in a spa setting. It smooths the skin and helps to remove surface scars.
The current recommendation is to wait for at least six months after treating acne with medication before a dermabrasion procedure should be performed, but studies have shown that the wait is often unnecessary. A study conducted by the Hospital S„o Paulo Department of Dermatology in Brazil found that skin is usually ready for microdermabrasion for scar removal within a few months of being treated with acne clearing medication. Dermabrasion is sometimes used about two months after a scar removal surgery to smooth and even out the skin’s texture.
Believe it or not, yes honey! Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It has been used as a natural way to treat skin problems for many years. The honey should be rubbed onto the skin and left for about 15 minutes before rinsing. The honey will be thick and should not be heated because heat destroys most of its healing properties. Honey is an ingredient in many skin lotions and soaps, so it is available to patients that don’t feel comfortable spreading sticky honey on their face or body.
It is important to remember that acne scars cannot be treated until all of the active bacteria is gone and the skin is clear of breakouts. There are scars that are almost impossible to remove, but most acne scars will go away with the proper treatment. Anyone who wants to get rid of acne scars should talk to a dermatologist so they don’t end up causing the scarring to worsen. Many of these treatments can cause allergic reactions in the people who take them, so they should be carefully tested in small doses before treatment. Acne scars can be very emotionally damaging to the person who deals with them, so getting rid of as much scarring as possible is the goal of most doctors and patients.