Laser Treatment for Acne Scarring
If you suffer from severe acne, the potential for acne scarring is almost a certainty.
Preventing acne scars is a primary goal of early acne control, and the sooner you effectively treat and control your acne, the less risk you have of scarring.
Dr. Cobos will assess your acne ( and/or acne scarring) and will recommend several treatment options that are personalized for your individual needs.
Types of Acne Scars and Treatments to Reduce Scarring
- Red flat “scars” resulting from capillary expansion following any inflamed acne – Treated with Perfecta Vbeam Laser.
- Shallow depressed scars resulting from tissue destruction following inflammation and infection – Treated with Smoothbeam and/or Fraxel re:store Laser, or the latest laser technology using carbon dioxide laser – the Fraxel re:pair CO2 Laser. They can also be improved to a lesser degree with chemical peels.
- Deep rolling or “boxcar” scars resulting from cystic acne – Treated with multiple procedures including subcision (see subcision explanation below} and Fraxel re:store Laser.
- Icepick scars resulting from deeply embedded cystic acne – Treated with punch excision, subcision, and dermal fillers followed by Fraxel re:store or re:pair CO2 Laser.
- Keloid scars -raised firm scars – are an occasional response to acne. Treated with cortisone injections to the scars.
Acne Scar. Fraxel restore. 5 treatments. Courtesy of Dr. Z Rahman
Acne Scars – Why do I get Acne Scars?
Some milder forms of acne don’t result in a scar, but cystic acne will almost always create some type of permanent scar. Your acne scarring is a result of tissue destruction. The infection that causes inflammation literally kills skin cells and support tissues and destroys that area of skin. It is a cruel reminder of a cruel disease.
Red discolorations are not really scars at all, but residual redness from small broken capillaries caused by acne inflammation. Redness can last up to a year if untreated, but Dr. Cobos can use the Vbeam laser for a quick shortcut to redness reduction.
Photo source candela laser
Will a Laser Treatment eliminate Acne Scarring?
There is no way to completely eliminate acne scars. The most realistic treatment goal is to gain visible improvement, accomplished with lasers such as Fraxel re:store, which smoothes down the area surrounding the depression and help build up the “shallow” scars so they blend better into the surrounding skin. Smoothbeam, a special non-ablative laser treatment that does not affect the outer layer of skin, works by heating the underlying tissue, causing a collagen-building response that builds up the scar from beneath reducing its appearance.It also helps treat active acne by causing thermal injury to the sebaceous ( oil) glands that are involved in the acne process.
Are Lasers or Surgery the only solution to treating Acne Scars?
No. there are several alternatives for more minimal or temporary improvement. Silk Peel Dermal Infusion, Chemical peels and dermal fillers such as Juvederm can be used as well to help to reduce scar appearance.
You may also be a candidate for a medication called for Severe and Resistant Acne and Cystic Acne.The use of this medication requires strict adherence to the FDA-required I Pledge Program.
What is Subcision?
As mentioned above, in some cases subcision is used to free the scar tissue so it is not pulled inward, allowing it to rise closer to the level of undamaged skin. Although subcision is technically a surgical procedure, in some instances it is the best choice and is quite simple. Subcision is performed with a special needle that separates the base of the scar from fibrous “roots” that exaggerate the scar’s appearance..
Subcision followed by Smoothbeam or Fraxel can produce profound improvement in scar depth and appearance.
Acne Scar Study: 200 patients with Post-Acne Redness
All patients benefited from a 30-50% reduction in the post-acne redness after the first treatment with Vbeam laser. After three or four treatments, a reduction in redness of 75-90% was achieved. In a number of patients, the post-acne redness disappeared altogether. The results seemed to vary based on the depth of the acne scarring.