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What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scars are very common and they are a result of inflammation caused by acne within the epidermis and dermis of the skin. Acne not only affects teenagers sometimes people go through hormonal changes in their 30's and 40's and they suffer from active acne that can form into scars. Acne may last for a few months or a few years but once the acne lesion heals it may leave behind a scar that can be an indention within the skin or hyper pigmentation marks that may be red or brown in color.
Scars are formed in a couple of ways and typically there is a loss of tissue (indented scar) or there is a formation of new tissue over the skin (hypertrophic or keloid acne scar). The loss of tissue may result in depressed areas, ice pick scars or round pitted lesions on the skin.
What Can Be Done To Treat Acne Scars?
Acne scars that cause hyper pigmentation or discoloration of the skin can be treated effectively with retinoid creams (i.e. Retin-A) and hydroquinone (lightening cream). Chemical peels such as the ViPeel and those that contain TCA and phenol go a step further in rejuvenating the skin.
The peels are extremely effective in revitalizing the damaged skin through a peeling process that allows room for new cell growth. Results from chemical peels are typically seen within one week.
Acne scars that have loss of tissue such as ice pick, depressed and pitted scars are treated effectively by laser fractional resurfacing. The fractional CO2 is an ablative laser that uses carbon dioxide and precisely and evenly ablates the surface of the skin, layer by layer, permitting clear definition of landmarks and optimal depth control.
The laser resurfaces only a “fraction” of the skin at a time, leaving the surrounding area intact for faster healing. The CO2 fractional laser pokes tiny microscopic holes in the skin down past the epidermis and into the dermis. These holes cause new collagen to be generated, which fills in the acne scars and creates rejuvenated smoother skin.
Most patients start to notice improvements in their skin as early as one week after the treatment. Continued improvements occur for the next six months and peak at around month six.