Acne scars are a common concern and treatment can be very frustrating. Fortunately, we are able to treat acne scars and make your skin look young again.
What are acne scars?
It is important to understand what acne scars are and what they are not. A common misconception is that acne scars are the dark discolorations left over on the skin after an acne breakout. These are not true scars. Instead they are discolorations known as PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). True acne scars are irregularities in the texture of the skin after a breakout, or more commonly after a pimple is popped under the skin. These irregularities are seen as indented or atrophic scars that can be felt when touching the skin. The reason it is important to differentiate between PIH and true acne scars is because the treatments are different.
How do acne scars form?
When acne breakouts appear, many people have the urge to pop the pimple. If done properly and the pus is extracted, the breakout can be improved significantly. However, often times the pimple or pustule is popped under the skin, releasing the pus into the skin. This leads to an inflammatory reaction in the skin whereby the body tried to attack the material here. The inflammation leads to destruction of collagen, the protein that keeps the surface of the skin smooth. As a result, the smoothness is lost and indented or atrophic scars form.
How are acne scars treated?
Before treating acne scars, it is important to first have the active acne under control. If not, then new scars may form. When treating the scars themselves, it is necessary for the skin to form its own natural, new, fresh, and healthy collagen. This will smoothen out the surface of the skin. The best way to stimulate such collagen is by using fractional laser resurfacing such as the fractional CO2 laser.
How does the fractional CO2 laser work?
The fractional CO2 laser works by creating thousands of microscopic holes in the skin and generating heat. This heat stimulates the body to form its own natural, new, fresh, and healthy collagen, which leads to a smooth texture. Since the entire skin is not treated with a fractional CO2 laser treatment, the intact and untreated skin surrounding each hole allows for fast recovery. It takes time for collagen to grow and the full results after a single fractional CO2 laser treatment are seen three to six months after the treatment. Since acne scars tend to be deep a series of three to six fractional CO2 laser treatments may be required; such fractional CO2 laser treatments are performed every three months. Full results are seen approximately twelve months after the final fractional CO2 laser treatment.