Approximately 50 million Americans struggle with acne. As the most common skin condition in the United States, acne is incredibly frustrating. However, when your pimples and blemishes finally fade, a more frustrating cosmetic issue can remain: acne scars.
Acne scars are difficult to cover with makeup. They can cause you to feel self-conscious, affecting your social and emotional wellbeing. What’s worse, they can be very long-lasting.
While acne scars are a stubborn concern, it’s possible to treat them. However, there isn’t one solution to this problem. The best approach is an individualized combination of safe and effective treatments.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Shaun Patel today at 786-618-5039 to learn how he can help fade your acne scars for smoother, more even skin. At Miami Skin & Vein, we happily welcome patients from Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas of Florida.
Types of Acne Scars
Typically, acne scars form when a severe breakout damages the surrounding tissue. Sometimes shallow marks can fade on their own. However, deeper injuries often become bumpy and uneven as your skin attempts to repair the area.
There are three main types of acne scars:
- Ice pick: These scars are very narrow and deep. Characterized by pitted, V-shaped indentations, they are often the most noticeable type of acne scar. Because of their depth, home treatments have little to no effect when it comes to improving ice pick scars.
- Rolling: These wide, slightly depressed marks have smooth edges. They get their irregular “rolling” appearance due to tissue band development below the surface of the skin.
- Boxcar: Like rolling scars, boxcar scars tend to be shallow. However, they have sharp vertical edges instead of smooth round ones. They tend to look like small squares or rectangles.
In addition to these depressed or atrophic types of scars, you may be dealing with raised marks known as hypertrophic scars. They stand out from the surface of the skin and are common on the chest and back. Raised scars occur when your body produces too much collagen during the healing process.
What's more, acne often results in red and brown pigmentation issues. This stubborn discoloration is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or PIH.
Acne Scar Treatment Options
There are many ways to improve acne scars. It’s usually necessary to combine several different treatments to get the best results.
Your options for improving acne scars include:
- CO2 laser resurfacing
- Sublative rejuvenation
- Microneedling with optional PRP
- Chemical Peels and TCA CROSS
- Dermal fillers
Your Customized Acne Scar Treatment Plan
Your treatment will depend on the type, or types, of acne scars that you have. Dr. Patel will examine your skin and develop a customized plan during your consultation.
Most treatments will require multiple sessions to get the best results. The exception to this is a more aggressive fractionated CO2 treatment, which can produce an optimal outcome from one appointment.
Ice Pick Scars
TCA CROSS is a simple treatment that has become the go-to method of improving ice pick scars. It essentially consists of taking a toothpick, dipping it in a high concentration of trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and putting it in the base of the scar.
This approach causes an inflammatory reaction in the skin that helps fill the depression with new collagen fibers. CROSS stands for the chemical reconstruction of skin scars.
While rolling scars can be difficult to treat, subcision is usually the first step. Rolling scars are indented because they are tethered down by fibrous bands. By using a special needle to break the tether, the area can become smoother and more even.
Incorporating PRP during the subcision process can further improve the scar. From there, laser treatments, microneedling, and other options can be used to improve the uneven texture of the skin.
Fillers can also help elevate the depressed scar tissue. When administered at the base of the scar, fillers add volume and rejuvenate the area.
TCA CROSS can help with narrow boxcar scars. For wider scars, fractionated CO2 is usually the best approach. Sublative rejuvenation is also an effective treatment for wide boxcar scars.
Red and Brown Pigmentation
If your acne caused red or brown spots, IPL treatments can help. Vascular lasers are also effective.
If you are pursuing CO2 laser treatments to address your acne scars, you will also see your pigmentation concerns improve. However, CO2 lasers are not usually recommended if PIH is your only issue.
Learn More About Improving Acne Scars in Miami
There’s hope when it comes to treating acne scars. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Patel today by calling 786-618-5039. Miami Skin and Vein is located in Coral Gables and serves Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and nearby areas of Florida.