Even though you may have cleared a majority of your breakouts, they oftentimes leave behind indented or pigmented scars. These can be just as frustrating to deal with as the acne itself. Luckily there are ways you can repair the damage caused by acne scars!
How Acne Scars Form
The development of scar tissue is part of the body’s natural healing process after the skin is wounded by acne inflammation. The process is complex and involves coagulation, formation of granulation tissue, re-epithelialization, and extracellular matrix remodeling. In regards to scar tissue formation, the process begins when cells called fibroblasts in the skin’s lower layer of fibrous connective tissue (also known as subcutaneous tissue) are stimulated after an injury to grow into granulation tissue to seal the wound. Scar tissue is formed by dense masses of granulation tissue.
There are many different types of acne scars, but most commonly these scars are caused by a lack of collagen that produces a pitted (or atrophic) scar. Indented scars that are the result of acne can be treated with injectable dermal fillers, such as Juvéderm® or Restylane®. Both Juvéderm® and Restylane® involve injecting hyaluronic acid into the treatment areas. Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (a sugar-based compound) that is naturally produced in the body to keep skin healthy and moisturized. The injection of dermal fillers is a minimally invasive procedure that takes approximately 20 minutes with no downtime, although the filler will need to be readministered 6 to 12 months after the initial treatment.
If your acne scars are pigmented, instead of indented, there is also an option for you! At the Art of Dermatology, Dr. Jessica Krant treats pigmented scars with either Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or the PicoSure® laser technology. PicoSure® is an FDA-approved aesthetic picosecond laser that is the first of its kind. It improves the appearance of scars by using a gentle pressure instead of the damaging heat of traditional lasers. Treating scars with the PicoSure® laser is safe and effective, with no need for downtime. Multiple laser treatment sessions are typically required to see optimal results, but the results can be permanent or very long-lasting.