Acne is among the most common skin conditions with a prevalence of more than 90 % among adolescents. Acne persists into adulthood in a considerable percentage of the cases with significant social and psychological implications. This dermatological condition mostly affects the body areas with high concentrations of sebaceous glands. These areas include the face, chest, and back.
One of the most harrowing side effects of inflammatory acne lesions is scarring. Acne scarring has been associated with substantial physical and psychological distress, in both adults and adolescents. The great news is that advancements in medical technology over the last two decades have made acne scar removal possible. Academy Laser Clinic offers a range of acne scar treatments.
WHAT CAUSES ACNE SCARS?
Acne scarring is the primary result of the skin wound healing process. Wound healing is one of the most complex biological processes and involves numerous substances and materials. As such, the results may not always be optimal in comparison to the original appearance and texture.
Acne scars originate at the site of tissue injury and can be either atrophic or hypertrophic. Tissue injury, in this case, results when infected follicles in
the skin damage the surrounding tissues. The process that results in acne scars progresses through three stages. The stages are inflammation, granulation tissue formation, and matrix remodeling.
CLASSIFICATIONS OF ACNE SCARS
The treatment option administered at Academy Laser Clinics will be dependent on the patient’s acne scar type. There are two primary classifications of acne scars. These are atrophic scars and hypertrophic scars. The classifications depend on whether there is a net gain or net loss of collagen following the acne healing process.
- ATROPHIC SCARS
Eighty to ninety percent of individuals with acne scars possess atrophic scars. These scars are associated with a net loss of collagen tissue following the natural healing process. Atrophic acne scars can be sub-classified into ice pick, rolling scars, and boxcar scars.
- Ice Pick scars – Narrow, punctiform and deep scars characterize ice pick scars. The opening of this type of scar is typically more extensive forming a ‘V’ shape. The recommendable treatment option for these scars is laser resurfacing preceded by punch excision.
- Rolling scars – Rolling scars give a wavy or undulating appearance to the skin (‘M’ shape). Their treatment option involves fractionated laser resurfacing, dermal fillers and subscision.
- Boxcar scars – Oval or round scars with
well-established vertical edges characterize boxcar scars. The scars can be shallow or deep and tend to be more extensive at the surface then ice pick scars (‘U’ shape). Their recommended treatment option is ablative laser resurfacing.
- HYPERTROPHIC SCARS
A minority of individuals with acne scars exhibit hypertrophic scars or keloid scars. These scars are associated with deposition of excess collagen and decreased collagenase activity. Hypertrophic scars are usually raised and firm with collagen bundles within the borders if the injury site. They are more common in darker-skinned people.
ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS AT ACADEMY LASER CLINICS
Most patients will possess different types of acne scars. As such, Academy Laser Clinics offer solutions for removing acne scars that will produce optimal results for each unique situation. The medical center also provides additional dermal services and products to improve the acne scar treatment results. Their range of procedures includes:
- FRACTIONAL CARBON DIOXIDE LASER (ScarLess DOT)
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is employed for treating moderate to severe acne scarring. It is also useful in the treatment of old scars. Numerous clinical studies have previously demonstrated the efficacy of CO2 laser treatments in the improvement of atrophic acne scars.
Cosmetic surgeons regard fractional CO2 laser resurfacing as the best skin resurfacing procedure. It produces optimal results regardless of the skin type of the patient. The reason for this is the nearly infinite setting parameters that allow the surgeons to modulate treatments concordant with patient skin characteristics.
ScarLess DOT is especially useful when it is combined with other treatment options. The procedure works through the delivery of thousands of microbeams into the skin surface. The resultant high-powered heat stimulates the natural healing process, leading to the production of healthy new collagen tissue.
Collagen production can occur for up to 12 months. The result is a smoother and tighter skin complexion. Fractional CO2 laser treatment is relatively comfortable for most patients. The healing process ranges from a few days to 2 weeks.
To help with the healing process, the doctors will administer a special silicone gel. During the initial skin consultation, Academy Laser Clinics will recommend the number of treatments according to how severe the acne scarring is.
- PURE PLATELET RICH PLASMA INJECTIONS
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a natural tissue regeneration technique that employs a patient’s concentrated blood platelets. PRP injections stimulate stem cells, releasing growth factors that result in the production of collagen and tissue repair. Since PRP is obtained naturally from the patient’s own body, this treatment has no risks of complications such as allergic reactions or sensitivity. Academy Laser Clinic uses the advanced EmCyte Pure PRP 11 for this therapy.
Patients are advised to undergo three sessions for the best results. Structural improvements to the skin are observed 30 days following treatment and continue for up to 90 days. Some patients report notable improvements in the first week. PurePRP injection therapy can be effective against acne scars on its own. However, an inclusion the fractional CO2 laser treatment or Skin Needling produces the best results.
- SKIN NEEDLING
Skin Needling is available for patients with mild to moderate acne scarring. This technique involves the use of a Dermapen, which is an electric pen comprising of a series of fine and sharp stainless steel needles. The needles pass across the cutaneous areas affected by acne scars. The technique results in the creation of thousands of microchannels in the skin.
The tiny bruises initiate the cascade of growth factors that lead to the production of collagen and elastin fibers. Academy Laser Clinics recommends three to eight sessions every six weeks. The advantages associated with this method are that it has no downtime, is less costly and works for all skin types.
- DERMAL FILLERS
Patients receive dermal filler injections to fill and plump depressed scars. The added volume enhances the appearance of the acne scars significantly. Patients can also receive bio-stimulator fillers. These tissue augmentation agents stimulate longer-term collagen formation.
Dermal fillers and bio-stimulators can last for 1-2 years and four years respectively. The results will depend on the severity of the acne scars and the specific products used. Dermal fillers have no downtime, and the results are almost immediate.
The only downside to this option is that it is not recommendable for all types of scars. The skin will reabsorb dermal fillers over time. For this reason, patients have to repeat the procedures every few years. A combination of dermal fillers with other options such as CO2 laser resurfacing works best.
Subscision is a technique that is employed in the treatment of depressed acne scars. A specialized needle is used to perform this minor surgical procedure. The cosmetic surgeon inserts the needle beneath the acne scar tissue to free it from the fibrous strands of the underlying tissue. This technique initiates the natural healing process as the upper skin layer is released from the dermis.
Patients tolerate this procedure quite well. It can be performed at the clinic with mild anesthesia. Subscision does not have any downtime, but patients will experience mild bruising. For the best results, Academy Laser Clinics recommends 2 to 6 sessions.
- STEROID THERAPY
Diluted steroid injections work best for hypertrophic or keloid scars. This treatment is spread over several sessions one month apart. The efficacy of steroid injections will depend on the dosage. However, there are limits to the dosage administered. Academy Laser Clinics usually combines steroid therapy with fractional CO2 laser treatment for maximum improvement of hypertrophic scars.
A multi-method strategy is often required for the treatment of acne scars. With patience, treatment compliance and proper post-treatment care, almost all patients will experience excellent results