If anything feels worse than teen or adult acne, it’s acne scaring. Maybe it’s because once your acne cleared up, you thought your skin would look normal again. Maybe it’s because the scars – though not as painful or itchy as acne are just as noticeable. OR maybe it’s because depending on the severity and type, scars can feel a lot more permanent.
How Did This Happen?
First of all, it’s important to understand that the scaring is not your fault. When our skin endures flare-ups for a long enough time, scars just happen. A lot of it has to do with your ethnicity and your skin’s resilience to your immune system’s natural treatment of the acne (which we explain below). So the first step to treating scars is to acknowledge that they were out of your control to begin with.
We think it’s important for acne scar sufferers to understand the science behind the formation of acne scars before we address solutions. During the cycle of acne, white blood cells emit an enzyme in attempt to fight the acne infection. Seems like a nifty natural response from the body, except that these same enzymes simultaneously destroy surrounding collagen, which over time is replaced by scar tissue that can look quite disfiguring.
The Most Common Types of Acne Scars
Hyperpigmentation – left over red marks that are smooth to the touch but give the appearance of blemishes due to their pink, red, or dark tone.
Ice Pick Scars – Deeply pitted holes that give the appearance of an ice pick puncture.
Rolling Scars – These pitted scars aren’t as deep as ice pick scars, but they’re wider in dimension and have a wave-like appearance, so skin looks uneven.
Boxcar Scars – These are also flatter in appearance than ice pick scars but can look just as dramatic. They’re similar to rolling scars but when examined closely have more defined, rigid edges.
Are Acne Scars Permanent?
It depends on the type of acne scar. Redness and post hyperpigmentation is certainly easier to erase than pitted scars. But that doesn’t mean that the proper treatments can’t help smooth the appearance of your scars, making a dramatic difference in how you look and feel.
How An Esthetician Can Help
While we don’t perform laser treatments, don’t discount us yet. You may be dodging a costly and ultimately ineffective series of treatments. Do your research carefully and ask dermatologists for a portfolio of before and after results before you consider this expensive route that requires a lot of downtime. You may be surprised by the lack of results, especially when considering the price tag that comes attached.
What you can expect from us instead is a series of effective, affordable treatments that will work overtime to help diminish the aftermath of your acne. Below are just a few of the services we perform (and often in combination with each other) that are incredibly effective in improved scar appearance over time:
- Microdermabrasion: a pen-like tool that propels micro-crystals across the skin’s surface to loosen damaged or dead cells. These cells are simultaneously vacuumed up, revealing a new layer of smoother, healthier skin.
- Microneedling: Another pen-like tool that uses microneedles to puncture the skin, encouraging collagen regrowth and repair as the skin heals. For visual results, our clients typically come in for 4-6 treatments, scheduled 4 weeks apart. This treatment can make a huge difference in acne scars when used in conjunction with microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
- Chemical Peels: We use a blend of TCA, phenol, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and Retin-A to reduce scarring and hyperpigmentation, as well as stimulate collagen growth. These peels are especially effective when paired with microneedling and/or microdermabrasion.
While we are proud of our customers’ long-term results, sometimes there is no change – especially if the scar is very deep. We did have a client with a scar more than a millimeter deep, which was too deep for microdermabrasion, peels, or even microneedling. What we can tell you is that generally speaking, each of the three procedures that we offer are designed to help with all types of scarring. While there is no tool on the market to completely erase acne scars, we can help you achieve the smoother skin you crave – and you can feel a lot more confident with AND without your makeup.
At Home Tips:
If you encounter a new “crop” of acne, don’t pick at it, which can encourage scaring. Come on in for a facial and professional extractions. Once you’re in the clear, we can discuss options for healing any left over scaring.
Don’t attempt at-home peels or microneedling – we’ve seen some real life horror stories from at home trials. These are serious chemicals and tools that require the expertise of a professional.
Do be patient and know that you’re your worst critic. With a positive outlook and some time, you can treat your scars under the care of a professional esthetician.
Photo Credit (Photo 1): The Science of Acne