Acne scars come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. Not everyone has the exact same type of acne (blackheads versus cysts), and not everyone has the same type of acne scars. If you take prescription medicine for your acne, you know that there are a lot of different options out there. It should be no surprise to you to learn that there are many different options for acne scars as well. Which one is right for you depends on your type of scarring. Here are the top three and the types of scars they work the best on.
- The non-ablative laser works best with wide, rolling atrophic acne scars. We understand the terms that we use for both the types of scars and treatments can be confusing, so let’s break that down a bit here. Atrophic scars are depressed scars. Atrophy means “wasted away”. That is a pretty accurate description of what happens in this type of scarring. The inflammation produced by an acne lesion “wastes away” the collagen beneath the skin’s surface. This makes a shallow, but the depressed area on the surface of the skin. The non-ablative laser works to create new collagen to counteract the effect of the acne, “lifting” the skin and making it look more uniform and smooth. Non-ablative is a term that means the outer layer of skin is not damaged or affected in the process. You may also have heard the term “no downtime” with this type of laser. While you may not look like you’ve had much done on the outside, there is plenty happening underneath the skin’s surface after this type of treatment. Celibre uses the Aramis laser and we’ve found it to be a perfect fit for the treatment of atrophic acne scars.
- Erbium laser resurfacing helps ice pick acne scars and deeper atrophic scars. Ice pick scarring is exactly what it sounds like: deep, narrow pit-like scars with sharply defined edges. These scars are tough to have and even tougher to treat. They require a more aggressive approach than atrophic scars, and erbium laser resurfacing is up to the task. This laser resurfacing is ablative, meaning that the surface of the skin is damaged with the treatment, so 5 to 7 days of downtime (away from school, work, and social activities) is usually the norm. The upside is that it stimulates new layers of both deep and surface cells which can really give you smoother, firmer, and more healthy-looking skin.
- Hydroquinone helps darkly pigmented acne scars. If you have a darker skin type (Asian, African or Hispanic), then you understand how easily this type of scarring can happen. Typically, anything that produces inflammation like a bug bite, a burn, or a pimple can cause your skin to make a dark spot after it goes away. This is because your skin has more pigment cells (melanocytes) that tend to be very sensitive to inflammation. Hydroquinone is a medication that helps calm this process, making the pigment cells work at a more normal rate. It is important to remember though that the acne itself here is the problem, not the pigment. So, unless your acne is under control, this type of acne scarring won’t get better even with hydroquinone because your melanocytes are constantly overstimulated. At Celibre, we have a few different depigmentation programs that are hydroquinone-based to help you if you’re suffering from this type of acne scarring.
No matter what type of acne scarring you have (maybe more than one type), we can talk to you about what treatments are available, what really works and what doesn’t. It takes a very individualized approach as well as patience and education to understand what these treatments can and can’t do for you. If you’d like to learn more about our acne scarring treatment program, please give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.