What Can You Do About Blackhead Pitted Skin?
Scarring from blackheads, or comedones, can occur as a result of improper blackhead extraction or when blackheads and lesions repeatedly form, break and drain. Severe cases are known as hidradenitis suppurativa. It’s important to manage acne symptoms and prevent new lesions and blackheads from forming before treating the scars themselves. Because no two people are the same, you should consult with your physician to find the best treatment plan for your specific skin condition.
Patients receiving laser treatments have not only shown significant improvements in acne scars, but they've also shown a reduction in sebum, the oily substance that can clog pores and lead to more blackheads. There are two types of laser treatments: laser resurfacing and less intense lasers. In laser resurfacing, the outer layer of skin is destroyed, causing new skin to form as wounds heal. Less intense lasers do not destroy the outer layer of skin. Instead, they heat the inner layer of skin, causing new skin to form. Several treatments are usually required before the full benefits can be seen.
A chemical peel is useful in the treatment mild acne scarring. A chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the top layer to peel off. The new skin is smoother, with better texture. Skin coloring will improve as the chemical peel also reduces sun and age spots, liver spots and blotchiness. Chemical peels are not as beneficial in the removal of deep scarring from acne.
Physicians can inject a soft tissue filler under the skin to fill in or stretch out blackhead pits. This approach can make scars less noticeable, but the results are temporary and patients will require periodic injections. There are a variety of soft tissue fillers available to physicians, including collagen, hyaluronic acid, your own fat, or donor tissue.
You can also directly inject steriods into scars. This method is often used in combination with surgery to reduce the size and appearance of scars.
Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion
Microdermabrasion is a procedure to remove the top layer of skin, classified as light, or very superficial, dermabrasion. Practitioners use it to treat acne and for general rejuvenation of the skin. It is painless, and there is no recovery time after the procedure.
For dermabrasion, a doctor removes the upper layers of the skin with an abrasive rotary instrument. This procedure leaves the skin red or “raw,” but once it heals, the new skin appears smother and healthier. Dermabrasion must be performed in the doctor’s office or in an outpatient surgical facility.
For more deeply indented blackhead scars that do not respond to other treatments, surgery may be an appropriate treatment. The physician will use a punch excision to cut out each acne scar, which is then closed with stitches. A punch graft uses small sections of skin taken from another part of your body and implants it where deep holes have occurred. You can also consider plastic surgery, but because it results in thinning skin, it can cause major complications if acne returns.
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