The best way to protect your skin from acne-related scarring is to take preventative measures early on. But it is often true that people who suffer from acne are unable to prevent future scarring sufficiently. In fact, it is estimated that more than 10 million Americans end up with scarring caused by acne.
There are many degrees of acne-related scarring. In some cases, the scarring is very minimal and hard to notice. But in other cases, scarring is severe and can cause long-term emotional damage. Many teenagers who have severe scarring caused by acne suffer from depression and a loss of self-confidence. They may become emotionally withdrawn and isolated, unhappy with their appearance.
There are many different factors that contribute to the level of severity of acne-related scarring. Dermatological studies indicate that genetics may play a large role in determining how mild or severe an individual's scarring may be. It is also evident that adolescents who suffer from particularly problematic acne may be more likely to have severe scarring in adulthood.
Luckily, many therapies and medical procedures have been developed to help ease acne-related scarring. The earlier someone begins appropriate treatment, the better the chance that scarring will be diminished.
Those who are considering undergoing therapy or medical procedures to combat acne-related scarring should discuss the possibilities with their dermatologists.
Laser treatment is one approach to help with acne-related scarring. There are two major kinds of lasers that are used in acne scar laser therapy. They are ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers.
Ablative lasers work by removing the outermost layers of the skin. These lasers burn scar tissue and cause a tightening in the dermal collagen. This reduces the visibility of the scarring. The yellow light laser, a sort of ablative laser, can help to treat keloidal scars by reducing redness and flattening the surface. Yellow light lasers also reduce itching of raised scars.
Laser treatments performed with ablative lasers actually injure the skin and leave it exposed without its outermost protective layers. Those who receive this sort of laser therapy must take extreme care to help wounds heal and prevent possible infection from occurring. The skin may appear reddened for a several months or even a year after the laser treatment. Non-ablative laser treatments affect the dermis directly and do not injure the outermost layers of skin, or the epidermis. Smoothbeam is a non-ablative laser recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Smoothbeam works by heating the sebum-producing sebaceous gland, which helps to reduce acne formation. Smoothbeam also heats the collagen, which causes a tightening in the dermis, making scarring less apparent,
Before non-ablative laser treatment is performed, a topical cream is applied to the skin. In order to prevent epidermal damage, the skin is cooled. The patient receiving this treatment will experience some stinging and some sensations of heat during the procedure, but the topical cream helps ease these sensations. The procedure lasts for about an hour. Three sessions are usually recommended to achieve noticeable improvement in acne-related scarring.
Because ablative and non-ablative laser treatments for acne-related scarring differ so much in their effects and side effects, those considering laser therapy should discuss the details of these procedures with their dermatologists.