Acne Scars – Causes, Treatment & Recommended Removal Method
What Causes Acne Scars?
Acne scars are usually caused by inflamed lesions and enlarged pores that leave a break in the follicle wall. As the body attempts to heal itself by forming a new collagen fibers to replace the lost tissue that has been destroyed, it doesn’t usually end up as smooth and flawless as before. As the wound heals, the body can sometimes produce either too much or too little collagen, creating raised tissue or an indentation on the skin’s surface.
Some treatments are more effective for specific types of acne scars. Suitable treatment options may vary slightly depending on the type of scarring that acne has caused. There are three types of acne scars;
1. Atrophic scars are small indentations in the skin. They occur when the skin does not produce sufficient fibroblasts during the healing process. As fibroblasts are cells that play a crucial role in wound healing and the synthesis of collagen. Atrophic scars are usually the results after acne, chicken pox, and indented scars. The indentation can form into one of three types of scarring:
2. Raised / Hypertrophic scars occur when the skin produces many fibroblasts as the acne spot heals, causing a raised scar.
3. Keloid scars are similar to hypertrophic scars but they are thicker than the original acne spot. Keloid scars are usually red or brown and may also cause symptoms, such as itchiness or pain.
Treating Acne Scars
Scarring after acne occurs frequently. It is an unwanted reminder of a painful and bothersome condition. However, acne scars do not have to be permanent, as recent advances in laser and ablative radiofrequency technology have allowed us to offer effective treatments in minimizing unsightly scar damage to the skin after acne.
There are several types of treatment that can help reduce acne scars and improve the overall skin quality
- Medical Laser Treatment helps to lighten acne scars as it smooths away the top layer of the skin. It can also reduce the pores and helps with resurfacing the skin. It is not suitable for patients who are still suffering from breakouts as well as darker skin tones.
- Non-Ablative Lasers help with stimulation of new collagen production. It helps to reduce pores as well as lighten and smoothen acne scarring.
- Medical Peels uses strong acid to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scars. A good complement treatment for acne scars
- Dermal Filler can help to plump the skin by using collagen to smoothen out depress scars and even out skin tone.
- Puro uses 160 micro pins to safely delivery heat via NanoFractional RF™ through the skin’s surface. The pins create tiny micro-dermal wounds, which the body then works to heal naturally. This process is what repairs signs of skin damage seen on the surface of the skin. And because the wounds are so small, the treatment is much more comfortable than lasers, and results in smoother, healthier skin with minimal downtime.
- Intensif Microneedling RF is good for depressed scars that lie more than 1.5mm deep below the skin, microneedling helps. It is a procedure that uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller containing multiple fine needles to puncture the top layer of your skin. How this works is that it encourages peeling it triggers the production of collagen and elastin as the skin tries to heal, leaving skin with a smoother appearance. Results can be seen within six to 12 weeks after treatment. This is a popular treatment because there’s less risk of side effects, although slight bruising can occur during the process. However, it is not suitable for those currently suffering from an acne breakout, rosacea or eczema.
ACNE SCARS TREATMENT
BY DR KENNETH THEAN
Acne Scar Removal in Singapore – Why We Don’t Use CO2 Lasers
In the past, treatment for acne scars were CO2 fractional resurfacing lasers. CO2 fractional lasers treat scars by gradually removing a few microns from the upper layer of the skin. This resurfacing treatment is more suitable for Caucasian skin as compared to Asian skin. If used on Asian skin, complications of hyperpigmentation and burns often occur, resulting in multiple treatments. Results when using this treatment for deeper scars is unsatisfactory, because more complications arise, as well as longer downtime for patients.
So here are some of the results why Dr Kenneth Thean and Dr Chiam Chiak Teng recommend a different approach when it comes to acne scar removal in Singapore. Instead of using the CO2 laser, I prefer to use the safer Erbrium Yag lasers, and ablative radiofrequency technology; these are more suitable for use on Asian skin.
We can now quite easily target the scar to almost the full thickness of the skin. The 500 micron ablative depth, can treat the deep scar tissue that pulls the skin surface down. Dermal lasers are also used to stimulate the growth of the skin's collagen. This triple-action of deep fractional skin resurfacing, which releases the tethering scar fibers and rebuilds the skin’s collagen matrix, means the skin is restored to its natural position, resulting in much smoother skin. Other treatments such as Chemical Peels can also reduce scarring appearance.
Significant improvement is achieved after just one treatment. With the reduction in the risk of complications, multiple treatment sessions can be carried out safely. We can thus achieve a considerably smoother skin surface safely and effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions on Acne Scars
1. There are many treatments in the market to treat acne scars, which one do I choose from?
The type of treatments is usually recommended by the doctor after careful assessment of the patient's skin condition and the scar type(s). Depending on the severity of the scars, the doctor may use a combination of lasers and other energy devices or injectables to achieve optimal results.
2. Will it be painful?
Some of the treatments may have a slight tingling sensations during the session, however it is also dependent of individual's threshold. While other treatments can be comfortable as numbing cream will be applied to reduce any pain or discomfort for patients during the treatment.
3. How many treatments do I need and how long will I see visible results?
It varies on individual's skin condition, scar type(s) as well as the treatments recommended by the doctor. A consultation is required in order to provide an accurate assessment and treatment plan for our patients.