In a recent blog, we talked about the value of using laser resurfacing treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Laser resurfacing is a common procedure for reducing acne scarring – and often a very effective choice. But laser isn’t always the best option, because there are different types of acne scars and because lasers don’t work equally well on all skin types or colors.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives, though at least some of them are medical procedures not available in spas or salons. Because Dr. Jeffrey Raval is an experienced facial plastic surgeon, we are able to offer a full range of options to address acne scarring here at Raval Facial Aesthetics and Rocky Mountain Laser Aesthetics.
Here are some examples:
Dermal fillers for deep scars
Fillers restore volume under the skin’s surface. They can make acne scars less visible by literally filling in depressed or pitted scars from below. Fillers can be especially effective for “box car” scars, because these scars have steep sides that make them less responsive to techniques designed for less pronounced types of scars.
Most dermal fillers contain hyaluronic acid and other ingredients that trigger increased natural production of collagen and elastin, which helps produce longer-lasting results.
Microneedling and/or PRP injections for darker skin
Laser resurfacing works best on acne scarring if you have fair skin. But most people have mid-range or truly dark colored skin, so for you, we may recommend microneedling or PRP injections instead. These options are highly effective and entirely safe for even the darkest skin tones.
Microneedling can resurface very tiny or larger areas of facial skin. Tiny surgical needles prick the skin at a precisely predetermined depth, stimulating new production of elastin and collagen. The result is smoother, more youthful looking skin.
We sometimes apply PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to the skin’s surface during microneedling, to further stimulate new cell production. (PRP is produced from a small sample of your own blood.) Or we may use PRFM, a more advanced form of PRP, as an injectable to treat certain types of scars.
Excision for ice pick scars
Because these scars are very small but deep, they don’t respond well to typical resurfacing techniques. However, Dr. Raval can use a medical punch device to remove the scar itself. It sounds scary, but the procedure is simple, safe, and effective. Excision itself can produce a tiny surface scar, so Dr. Raval may recommend a follow-up resurfacing treatment to minimize that.
Mini-lift for 40-somethings (or older)
Often acne can leave rolling scars across your cheeks. As you age, your face loses volume and your skin loses elasticity, thanks to reduced production of elastin and collagen. These effects of aging can accentuate broad acne scarring. The scars don’t get “worse,” they are simply more visible.
Surprisingly, a mini-lift could be your best choice. The surgical procedure tightens skin, which makes acne scars far less visible, plus your lower face will look rejuvenated and more vibrant. Who knew you could address that pesky acne and wind up looking younger?
A multi-step approach, tailored just for you
Your face and body are unique, and that means your acne scaring is unique to you as well. The best treatment for someone else might not be effective for you. It’s also important to note that the non-surgical treatments described above may require multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. And since dermal fillers are made of natural ingredients, they are absorbed by your body over time, requiring renewal treatments to maintain the effect.
The only way to know which course of action will be best for you is to meet with Dr. Raval in person. That way, he can examine your face, evaluate your scars, and help you explore all your options – including laser skin resurfacing. He may very well recommend a combination of treatments to achieve the best overall results.
The bottom line, though, is that there are multiple ways to reduce the visibility of acne scarring, even later in life. Take a look at our eBook on the aging face and how you can improve signs of aging and scarring.