Today’s Question: I had bad acne that is finally clearing up. Unfortunately, it has left behind scars. How can I get rid of them? Charlotte, Claypool
Answer: If having acne isn’t bad enough, the scars it can leave behind are a painful reminder of the often embarrassing condition. Not that it makes it any easier, but you are not alone,Charlotte. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 have outbreaks of the skin disorder at some point. Those outbreaks can not only scar our self-esteem, but also our face. The good news is there are several treatment options to erase those acne scars including: medical skin care, chemical peels, dermal filler and fractional laser.
1. Medical Skin Care: Medical skin care is a great option to not only lighten and erase acne scars that look like red or purple marks the acne has left behind known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), but also to improve the overall health of your skin. By combining prescription-strength retinol to exfoliate the skin with prescription-strength hydroquinone to lighten the skin, you will see a marked improvement in your scarring in as little as six weeks.
2. Chemical Peels: Chemical peels work beautifully in combination with medical skin care to treat both red and purple acne scars as well as pitted or pockmark scarring. Today’s chemical peels combine the strongest acids without causing pain during the peel or weeks of downtime afterward. They will help to continue to exfoliate the dead skin off of your face as well as to lighten the scars’ pigmentation. A series of medium-depth chemical peels can also help to significantly reduce the size and appearance of the pitted type of scarring as well.
3. Dermal Fillers: Dermal fillers can be a great temporary solution to hide deeper, wider pitted acne scarring. They work by partially lifting the depressed scar and filling it in to bring it back up to level with your skin. This procedure causes minimal downtime or pain, but can cause some bruising and swelling. Fillers typically last six to 12 months.
4. Ablative Laser: Pearl Fractional® laser treatment is a permanent option to dramatically improve or remove the pitted acne scarring. This laser treatment removes the outer layer of skin, removing the scar tissue and then stimulates the growth of healthy, new skin. Removing only a small portion, or a “fraction,” of the skin ensures a safe treatment with a rapid recovery.
Charlotte, you don’t have to live with your acne scars any longer. Schedule a consultation with your medical skin care professional for a skin evaluation and find out which treatment option will be most effective for you to get rid of those acne scars for good!
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on medical cosmetic procedures.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com