Is acne scar removal possible? Acne scars form as a result of severe acne, and although some types do diminish over time, they are often permanent. However, there are several methods of acne scar removal. Many of these methods work from the same general principle: the scar needs to be removed to allow new skin to grow in its place. These methods include dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, fractional laser resurfacing, and various forms of injections. All of these methods of acne scar removal will be discussed below.
The first and most popular form of acne scar removal is dermabrasion. Just like its name implies, dermabrasion is the process of physically wearing the skin down with a high-speed brush. The patient is first given a local anesthetic, and the skin is then worn away. This can totally eliminate protruding scars and change the contour of the indented scars, making them less noticeable. However, if the indented scar is wider below the skin, this treatment will make it more noticeable. The new form of this is called microdermabrasion. This is done by using essentially the same principle, only rather than using a brush, fine crystals of aluminum oxide are passed through a vacuum and remove only the outermost layer of skin. These both allow fresh new skin, not scar tissue, to grow through and replace the scar.
Another promising treatment is the use of lasers to remove the skin. This is essentially the same procedure as dermabrasion, only a laser is used to remove the skin. This allows the surgeon to more easily control the penetration, making it a much less invasive procedure. Fractional laser resurfacing is again like laser resurfacing, only it is performed in sections, meaning it is less invasive but requires multiple treatments to achieve full results. The laser treatment has two options: either an erbium (YAG) laser or a carbon dioxide laser can be used. A major pitfall to laser acne scar removal is that it may cause uneven skin tones in those with darker pigmentation. Laser resurfacing is a highly promising option and holds great potential for future methods of acne scar removal.
For less severe acne scars, it is possible to remove them entirely with chemical peels. Chemical peels are a mixture of various acids that literally peel away the outermost layer of scars, leaving behind new skin. These are one of the most economical options for acne scar removal, but they do little for more severe scars. Chemical peels are extremely quick, often taking only 15 minutes, but the recovery time for this form of acne scar removal can take up to several weeks.
One method of acne scar removal for severely indented scars is augmentation. Augmentation is the injection of collagen or one”s own body fat into the scar pit. These treatments generally last for 6 months and provide very drastic results. In the future, as more effective biopolymers are introduced, the duration of this form of acne scar removal could be lengthened substantially.
The last form of acne scar removal is called subcision. Subcision is the separation of the scar from the lower skin tissue, allowing blood to pool beneath the scar, and once this clots, it begins to form connective tissue that will make an indented scar more flush with the skin”s surface. This is generally one of the most affordable treatments and can usually treat acne scars with one to three treatments.