Acne Scarring

Acne ScarringToday, there are many different types of acne scar treatments because there are so many different types of acne scars! There are two different kinds of discoloration that can be left behind by acne.

Post inflammatory erythema is a type of red discoloration while post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a type of brown discoloration. Acne can also leave depressions in the skin (known as atrophic scars) as well as thickening of the skin (known as hypertrophic or keloid scars).

Because you may be experiencing multiple types of acne scarring, a combination of treatments may be necessary. Your dermatologist will help you decide which options will work best for your skin.

Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE):

PIE is a type of acne scar that leaves small red marks on the skin in areas where there was previously an acne lesion. This redness is best treated with a laser called the Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL), otherwise known as the VBeam laser. Generally, 2-3 treatments are needed for adequate results. Patients will notice that the treated areas are usually more red for a few days up to one week before beginning to fade.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH):

PIH is a type of acne scar that leaves small brown marks on the skin in the areas where there was previously an acne lesion. It is more common to see this in people of darker skin types. Generally, PIH tends to fade on its own, but could take over one year for some people. Often times this type of discoloration is best treated with in office chemical peels. It may also be treated with diligent use of prescription or over the counter lightening creams.

Depressed Acne Scarring:

Laser Acne TreatmentDepressed acne scars (also known as atrophic scars) are a type of acne scar that leaves small indents in the skin after an acne lesion has run its course. This is an area of skin that can be smoothed over by multiple different techniques. Fractionated lasers are very safe and can help smooth skin in these areas. The treated area will be red and swollen immediately after treatment. On average, the skin will need 2-3 days to heal from the laser and return to normal. Generally, 4-6 treatments are needed, usually spaced apart monthly. Microneedling is another method that can be used to treat depressed acne scars. During this procedure, the provider will use a device to poke many tiny holes into the skin surface, and then apply a serum that promotes skin cell turnover and collagen production. Over time, this helps to smooth out the surface of the skin. Immediately after treatment, the area will look very red and raw, which will heal in about 2-4 days. On average, patients require 4 or more treatments for complete results.

Another option for treating depressed acne scarring is fillers. Fillers are a gel like substance that is injected right under the skin to fill in depressed areas of skin. This helps to smooth out the skin.

Thickened Scars (hypertrophic or keloid scars):

Laser Acne TreatmentThese types of acne scars are due to thickened skin in the area of previous acne lesions. These can be treated with injections of a steroid solution which can help thin out a thickened scar. These lesions generally need multiple injections over time to completely flatten out. Microneedling is another method that can be used to treat thickened acne scars. During this procedure, the provider will use a device to poke many tiny holes into the skin surface, and then apply a serum that promotes skin cell turnover and collagen production. Over time, this helps to smooth out the surface of the skin. Immediately after treatment, the area will look very red and raw, which will heal in about 2-4 days. On average, patients require 4 or more treatments for complete results. Some hypertrophic or keloid scars may respond to a surgical procedure known as scar revision. Your dermatologist will let you know which is the best treatment regimen for you.

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