How to Help Acne Scarring
Acne most often results from the excess production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. This oily substance can block the pores, which may cause them to erupt into inflamed nodules. Acne can also cause scarring in severe cases when these nodules rupture and don't heal properly. A variety of medical procedures can dramatically reduce the scars caused by acne, such as laser resurfacing, dermabrasion and excision.
Try laser resurfacing. A laser such as a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser or an yttrium, aluminum and garnet (YAG) laser produces light with a wavelength that the skin absorbs readily. The heat from this light ablates the skin and removes the acne scars. Laser resurfacing is most often used on the face, which has skin that heals quickly.
Choose dermabrasion. A dermatologist removes the skin mechanically with a tool that has a head coated with diamond chips. The head rotates at a speed of up to 35,000 revolutions per minute and abrades the skin to the depth needed to reduce the scarring. Dermabrasion is most useful for skin that's very dark or very light.
Consider exision for the removal of keloid scars. This type of scarring is characterized by raised scars composed of hard tissue. These scars may be best treated by cutting them off of the skin and stitching the resulting wound closed.
Use dermal fillers to minimize the appearance of acne scars. A dermatologist also may inject a substance such as collagen under the skin to smooth out the pitting caused by acne. The effects of dermal fillers are generally temporary although some of the new fillers such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) are considered to be permanent.
Select chemical peels for light scarring. Chemical peels are generally useful only for scarring that affects the upper layers of skin. Chemical peels contain a solution of glycolic acid and may be used by both home users and dermatologists.
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