Most people who have acne will encounter acne scars. While some scars will fade away after inflammation in the skin is healed, other scars can leave divots and create textural issues. Fortunately, at River Region Dermatology and Laser in Montgomery, AL, there are several acne scar treatments to explore to perfect the appearance of your skin.

How Does Acne Scar Treatment Work?

In general, acne scar treatments work in one of two ways. Either the treatment will focus on resurfacing the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation, or the treatment will focus on stimulating collagen to address textural scars. There are a few treatments that may accomplish both tasks at once, but a dermatologist will generally recommend the most conservative approach first.

Resurface Skin

Resurfacing the skin means turning over new skin cells, which will gradually erase the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema. Both of these post-inflammatory skin conditions are very common after acne, particularly for people who have inflammatory acne or acne that lasts for several days or weeks in one area of the skin. It’s necessary to resurface the skin gently to correct these post-acne marks.

Notably, most dermatologists don’t consider post-acne marks associated with hyperpigmentation to be “true” acne scarring. This is because some post-acne marks will fade by themselves or with the use of at-home skincare products, such as niacinamide. However, if you are struggling with persistent post-acne marks, then you may need a resurfacing treatment.

Stimulate Collagen 

Collagen stimulation can correct the appearance of rolling scars, boxcar scars, and ice-pick scars. By producing collagen deep within the skin, it’s possible to correct deep textural skin concerns that may develop after severe acne. Textural scars are prevalent in people with persistent acne and those with cystic acne. Unlike post-acne marks, textural scars will not go away by themselves.

What Are Your Treatment Options?

There are several treatments that can be used to correct acne scars. Some of these treatments include microdermabrasion, chemical peels, LED light therapy, photodynamic therapy, laser treatments, and dermal fillers. Topical treatments can include prescription-strength retinoids, which can also correct active acne for those who are still struggling to control breakouts.

Can You Combine Treatments?

Combining different types of treatments for acne scars is sometimes necessary if you have both very deep textural scars and severe hyperpigmentation. Although some treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments can address both textural and pigmented scars, it may still be necessary to combine these treatments with topical prescriptions to address all of your skin concerns.

How Long Until You See Results?

You will generally be able to see the results of your treatments for acne scars after at least one to two treatment sessions. Laser treatments, chemical peels, and other resurfacing treatments may require consistent treatments spaced one month apart for at least three months to produce optimal results.

For topical treatments such as retinoids and other skin-resurfacing ointments, your results will be gradual. You may not notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin for at least two to six weeks, depending on the strength of your prescription, how frequently you are using the treatment, and the severity of your scarring.

Are Results Permanent?

The results of some treatments for acne scars can be permanent. For example, laser treatments tend to produce permanent results for textural scars and hyperpigmentation because of the depth of skin resurfacing and collagen production. Mild hyperpigmentation can also be permanently addressed with chemical peels and other moderate resurfacing treatments.

How Can You Maintain Long-Lasting Results?

The best way to maintain long-lasting results is to control your acne breakouts. Whether you have hormonal acne or acne associated with lifestyle habits, your acne scar treatment will not be able to produce permanent results if you are still having severe breakouts. For long-lasting results, maintaining your skin health with a consistent skincare regimen, protecting your skin from the sun, and following a healthy lifestyle is essential.

Who Is an Ideal Candidate?

Candidates who are ideal for treating acne scars are primarily those who have active acne under control. If you are experiencing fewer breakouts because your acne treatments are working, then it’s generally a good time to start treating acne scars. People who have moderate to severe textural scarring are also particularly good candidates.

Sometimes, depending on what acne treatment you are using, you may not be able to use certain treatments for scars. For example, people who have used Accutane in the last six months will not be able to use laser treatments for acne scarring. The best way to determine which treatment is ideal for the acne scars you have is to attend a consultation with a dermatologist.

Talk To a Dermatologist About Acne Scars Today

If you feel self-conscious because of acne scars or post-acne marks, it might be time to talk to a dermatologist about your treatment options. Acne scar treatments will be tailored to your skin type, the severity of your scarring, and your aesthetic goals. You can generally enjoy permanent results from these treatments if you can manage your breakouts. Reach out to River Region Dermatology and Laser in Montgomery, AL to schedule an appointment. 

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