Individuals of all ages and backgrounds suffer from acne. Found almost anywhere on the body, typical acne problem areas include the face, chest, and back. Generally caused by excessive oil, bacteria growth can also cause long-term scarring of the skin. Acne scars can come in various sizes and shapes including shallow, deep, narrow, and pitted scars. Some patients cannot allow their acne to heal without scratching and traumatizing the pimples leading to a scar.
Board certified dermatologist, Dr. Edmond Griffin has been treating patients with acne scars for over 35 years and has found customized combinations of non-surgical and surgical acne scarring treatments, based on the patient’s individual needs, provide the most effective results. Most patients will need more than one acne scarring treatment for optimal results but should find improvement with each procedure.
Some non-surgical acne scarring treatments include facial fillers (frequently the patient’s own fat), chemical peels, needling and laser treatments. The providers of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta also use platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) which uses components of the patient’s own blood as a long-term facial filler of acne scars. Dermapen® is a type of needling that can be used to soften acne scars. Other non-invasive treatments for minimal scarring include chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, and microdermabrasion to remove superficial layers of skin and promote collagen production. Any one of these techniques by itself is not enough. The replacement of the lost tissue with Alloderm or fascia lata is most important to raise the depressed area and allow a leveling of the skin. First subcisions are performed beneath the rolling depressed scar which frees the pulled down portion of the scar and then fills the void. This allows a scaffolding effect which the bodies’ own stem cells move into and recreates the new collagen resulting in a smoothing effect. Ice pick scars are helped most by punch floating so that the scarring tissue is cut away and the pore is allowed to decrease in size.
Surgical acne scarring treatments include punch grafting, subcisions, fat transfer, and acne scar excision. Punch grafting is an effective treatment for ice-pick scars in areas of the body that are less mobile such as the forehead or the nose. Subcision is a minor surgical procedure used for treating depressed scars and is often combined with non-surgical treatments such as laser skin resurfacing for smoother skin. Fat transfer uses fat from another area of the patient’s body that is then purified and re-injected to fill acne scar depressions. Patients benefit from the decreased risk of rejection or reaction as this procedure uses their own fat. Acne scar excision is a technique that individually cuts out a scar and may be necessary for individuals with very deep, irregularly shaped scars: today this excision technique is rarely used because a scar always results. If pigment has been lost, the Xtrac laser is used to restore the pigment in patients of dark completion. Sometimes pigment is transplanted from other areas of the skin such as behind the ear to the areas needing the pigment. Final smoothing with hand sanding or laser resurfacing adds the icing to the cake. It is the last procedure performed not the first. Patients with very mild acne depression can be treated with multiple sessions of Fraxel laser which is non invasive and works well in mild cases. What you really need to do is be evaluated to determine the best treatment for your type of acne and your type of skin.
To learn more about acne scarring treatments available at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta or to schedule an appointment please contact our office at 404-256-4457. Be sure to connect with DAA on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest dermatological news and information.