Most of us have been affected by acne at some point of time. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, some of us even have tell-tale signs of the past in the form of acne scars. It almost seems like a double punishment, doesn’t it? Thankfully, you don’t need to live with these scars from the past, as advances in cosmetic dermatology offers us multiple ways to treat these. Nitai Medical & Cosmetic Centre, considered to be one of Melbourne’s leading cosmetic clinics, is a trusted name when it comes to effective treatments for acne scars.
So before we look at what are the available treatment options, let us take a closer look at what actually causes acne scarring.
What are acne scars?
There are different types of acne, ranging from mild to severe. The severe cases of acne, if left untreated, leave behind textural changes and marks or indentations on the surface of the skin, commonly known as acne scars.
The skin’s pores get filled with dead skin cells, excess oil and bacteria, and this is what causes acne. Sometimes, these pores can swell and burst and cause lesions. Shallow lesions are rather minor and take less time to heal, but sometimes, deeper breaks in the wall of the pore causes the infected material to leak on to surrounding skin tissues, causing deeper lesions. When this happens, the skin creates collagen to repair the damage caused by these lesions. And because this repair work may not be as smooth as the original, it results in what is commonly known as acne scars. Picking on or squeezing active acne can also result in scars.
Different types of acne scars
Your skin type influences the kind of acne scars you can get. Hypertrophic scars are formed when the skin produces more collagen while healing and results in a mass of raised tissue over the skin. Atrophic scars, on the other hand, are caused when skin tissue is lost during the healing process.
Broadly, there are three common sub-types:
1. Boxcar scars: These are typically depressed scars with sharp, well defined edges.
2. Icepick scars: Icepick scars, like the name suggests, are deep and narrow, and go all the way down to the lower layer of the skin.
3. Rolling scars: These are the most common, and are in the form of indentations and undulations on the skin.
How can you treat acne scars?
There are many ways to treat acne scars, and the type of skin and the scarring you have, coupled with the downtime needed and the total cost, decides the type of treatment. Some of the popular treatments at our clinic are:
1. Fraxel Laser
Fraxel Laser, or fractional laser technology, is a safe way (with a well understood risk profile) to treat minor to more severe skin damage, especially when it comes to skin resurfacing for damaged skin. It can also be used to rejuvenate the skin, as well as for melasma, skin tightening and wrinkle treatments.
In this treatment, damaged skin is targeted with microscopic columns of laser, which are designed to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. These lasers columns focus on a highly targeted area of skin at a time, without affecting the surrounding tissues, and create minute wounds. This helps to trigger the body’s natural healing process, and old damaged cells are replaced with fresh new ones, so that the skin looks fresher, younger, smoother and more radiant. This treatment modality requires minimal risk and downtime, and is an ideal for most skin types. Most clients need between three to five sessions of this treatment for best results.
2. CO2 Laser Therapy
CO2 Lasers are also fractional, ablative lasers that have long been used to effectively treat acne and surgical scars, as well as stretch marks, wrinkles, pore size reduction and skin tightening since 1964.
How this treatment works is that the laser penetrates into the dermis through micro holes, and produces heat. The micro damage caused triggers growth of new cell tissues and remodeled collagen to repair the damage, and smoothens out the scarring. Usually CO2 lasers show noticeable improvement in just one session. However, they need more downtime than Fraxel Laser, requiring around 3-5 days post treatment. However, this treatment type may not be suitable for all conditions – i.e. on darker skin, cancerous lesions, skin diseases or during pregnancy. Moreover, it is usually not recommended for use as a standalone treatment, as it could lead to hypo or hyper pigmentation. So it becomes important to consult an experienced cosmetic doctor to decide on the right treatment for you.
3. Radio Frequency (RF) Micro Needling
RF Microneedling is an advanced, non-laser method to treat deep acne scars and wrinkles. This works best for rolling scars and for darker skin types, and uses a combination of radio frequency and micro needling. How this works is that controlled radiofrequency energy is delivered to the deeper layers of your skin (the dermis) below the pigmentation through a micropen, without affecting the upper layers. This layer contains cells that manage blood circulation, and trigger production of new collagen and elastin. RF Microneedling activates cell renewal at a deeper level, which reduces the bumps, indentations and the inflammation caused due to skin damage. This method involves minimal discomfort, and might require a few treatment sessions before one can start seeing results, and smoother skin. There is also negligible risk of hypopigmentation or hyper pigmentation.
4. Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers are a non-surgical technique that can help smoothen out acne scars and skin undulations, by lifting the scarred area to the same alignment as the surrounding skin. These fillers can use fat from the abdomen, hips or thighs – to ensure a smoother acceptance by the skin. Dermal fillers are great for enhancing volume as well as for triggering elastin and collagen production for skin renewal. Depending on the type of scars, these can either be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments.
So now that you have seen it is possible to have clear, scar-free skin, does it really make sense to live with these scars from the past? Of course not! Nitai Medical & Cosmetic Centre is one of Melbourne’s premier clinics for treatments in acne scarring. Our team has stayed abreast of the latest in cosmetic dermatology, which will enable you to look your best, always. Come by for an initial, no obligation consultation will help you determine the right treatment methods suitable for your skin type and condition, and know the results that you can expect. We wish you a clear, bright and beautiful future.