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Dermatology for Acne Scars

Dermatology for Acne Scars


Nearly 85 percent of people will suffer from acne at some point in their lives. Onset generally occurs during the teenage years or in the early 20s. Some sufferers will develop scars from their acne lesions. While early treatment of acne is key in reducing the likelihood of scar development, dermatology treatments are available to diminish the appearance of acne scars.


Acne scars can result from severe inflammation and lesions that progress deeper into the skin's layers than most pimples, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Many acne scars, sometimes referred to as "pockmarks," look like deep craters in the face. The scars also can involve blotchy discoloration and dark spots on the face, the AAD says.


The goal of dermatology techniques used in acne scar treatment is to lessen the appearance of the scars, the AAD says. Acne scars never can be eliminated completely, but they can be made much less noticeable. In most cases, patients report that they are satisfied with the results from their dermatology treatment for their acne scars.


There are several dermatology procedures that can treat acne scars. Laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels often are recommended to treat mild to moderate acne scars. Laser skin resurfacing uses a laser beam to remove the top layer of skin, while a chemical peel removes the top skin layer with a strong acid. Microdermabrasion utilizes fine crystals to essentially sand the skin smooth, lessening the appearance of scars. People with severe scarring might need a combination of two or more procedures. They may also consider soft tissue fillers or even punch skin grafts to fill in their worst scars, the AAD says.


Dermatology techniques to treat acne scars generally are effective. For example, in a study published in the journal "Dermatologic Surgery" in 2009, researchers compared two different types of lasers used in dermatology practices and found both to work moderately well to reduce scarring. Dermatologists consider a variety of factors, including type of scarring, skin tone and overall medical history, before determining which type of procedure to recommend.


Many dermatology practice treatments for acne scars can cause temporary side effects, such as redness and swelling in the area. The more invasive treatments, which include surgery, ablative laser treatment, and chemical peels, carry a small risk of infection, and an even smaller risk of permanent skin discoloration or other effects, the AAD says. Dermatologists urge potential acne scar treatment candidates to consult with their physician to determine what treatments would be most effective for them.

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