Scars are formed when an acne breakout penetrates the skin deeply and damages the tissues beneath it.  The more severe the breakout usually the more severe the scar. There are different types of scars therefore it is important to classify the type before treating. Continue reading to learn about treatment options to help get rid of acne scars.

Atrophic or depressed scars are the most common type of scarring.  They can have various shapes such as ice pick, boxcar, and rolling type configurations.  In general, the deeper the scar and the more vertical the edge, the more difficult it is to treat. Hypertrophic scars are elevated rather than depressed and are due to too much collagen growth after an injury.  These scars are more common on non-facial areas. Finally, PIH, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, is often confused with scarring.  This is a natural pigmentation reaction after trauma to the skin and usually fades with time or with therapy.

Acne Scar Treatment depends on the type of scar.  Depressed scars can be treated with topicals such as chemical peels, retinol, and alpha hydroxy acids as well as with ablative techniques such as dermabrasion or laser peels.  Deep ice pick scars can be treated with surgical excision and secondary resurfacing.  Depressed scars with rounded shallow edges can also be treated with collagen stimulation techniques using lasers or micro-needling to fill the scar rather than resurface the scar.  Additional collagen stimulation can be achieved with the injection of stem cells/growth factors using platelet-rich plasma or nano fat.

Hypertrophic scars are usually treated initially with either steroid or chemotherapy injections.  If additional treatments are needed then resurfacing using fractional lasers are most effective.

PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) is usually a self-resolving condition.  Prevention of further outbreaks is the most important step.  If pigmentation persists, then topical treatment using non – hydroquinone products with or without laser therapy will usually resolve this condition.

Learn more about acne scar treatment options or for a personalized assessment of your treatment options for acne scars, call Dr. Nightingale to schedule a consultation.  He offers acne scar treatment at both the Saint Albans, VT, and Ellsworth, ME clinics.

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