“What can I do about my acne scars?” We hear this question every day. Depending on the amount of scarring, the depth of the scars and your skin type, the answer ranges from “some improvement” to “a lot of improvement”.
Although it is hard to hear that there is no procedure that can promise to completely obliterate scars, the technology improves all along.
Acne Scar Formation – How Did This Happen to Me?
Acne scars are a result of tissue destruction that came from inflamed pimples and cysts. When you had red, tender and swollen pimples, the infection literally destroyed tissue at various levels of your skin. Picking and squeezing likely made things worse, but when you have acne, it’s hard to think about anything past making it go away!
Scar tissue itself is denser than normal skin and tends to contract, so you often see young scars deepen as time passes – a good reason to treat earlier than later. Scar tissue does not share the same regenerative properties of undamaged skin since it’s missing hair follicles and a healthy blood supply. This makes successful treatment without substantial downtime more difficult and lengthy. But scars CAN BE IMPROVED!
Lasers – How They Work to Smooth Acne Scars
Lasers have “targets”. A laser designed to smooth scars, acne or otherwise, targets the water in your skin. With fractional lasers, tiny columns of laser beams penetrate your skin, effectively coagulating tissue. It’s a sort of controlled injury. Your skin’s response to this heat-derived injury is to produce new collagen. The untreated skin next to the treated skin assists in healing though its healthier blood supply and regenerative properties. As the skin heals and produces new collagen, the scar is smoothed and lifted by the new collagen matrix.
Successive treatments repeat this process.
Treatment Programs – Why Do I Need Multiple Procedures?
Your scars did not appear overnight, and it will take a measured amount of time to make them less obvious. So be prepared to commit to a program of treatment that will have you seeing better looking skin. We take into consideration that you have a life to live and long downtimes are unacceptable to nearly everyone. Fractional lasers treat the problem by affecting only a percentage of skin during a treatment. Multiple treatments allow more of a full surface coverage plus cumulative collagen build to smooth the treated areas. Be patient. Nature takes time to do her magic.
Active Acne – I’m Still Breaking Out; What Should I Do?
Controlling your acne is a first step. Acne that continues unabated will create more scarring and misery. An acne control program will bring you immense relief and save your skin at the same time. We can work hand-in-hand with you with first getting any active acne calmed and controlled and then begin the process of scar smoothing. Our team can recommend some excellent acne treatment programs that are very successful and fast acting.
The benefits of fractional over conventional full surface lasers are many:
- Customizable treatment levels
- Manageable downtime
- Faster healing
- Improved healing from adjacent healthy skin
- Tolerable treatment discomfort
- Much reduced infection risk
Why Skin Type Matters
Lasers are fantastic in what they can accomplish. But lasers work by heating the skin. Light skin is more easily treated because there is less pigment that can be called up by the laser heat. Darker skin will need certain pretreatment to lessen the potential for pigment formation. For some skins, we skip lasers altogether and opt for radio frequency, which can bypass most of the pigment in the skin.
Why the Fraxel Laser?
Fraxel has become the gold standard for acne scar treatments. With a long history and a unique delivery system, we chose Fraxel for its proven performance and evenness of treatment.
What If Fraxel Is Not Right for Me?
Fraxel is not a panacea for every skin. Darker skins are more sensitive to laser and that must be considered. When it is deemed you are not a good laser candidate because of heightened pigmentation risks, then we may instead recommend Genius RF MicroNeedling, which was developed with this problem in mind.
Our Laser Team
Our laser and technology team are dedicate professionals who seek the most extensive training possible. Ray Jalian, Board Certified Dermatologist and our "in house laser guru", and Angela Sarff, Nurse Practitioner, have impeccable education and experience with all our systems. You will always receive an honest assessment of treatment potential – not a promise that is beyond reach.
Please contact the office of Rebecca Fitzgerald MD online or by calling 323-464-8046 today for more information about acne scar treatment. Our laser team serves Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and the Larchmont area.