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The best treatment for acne scars is prevention. You should treating inflammatory acne and cystic acne promptly will decrease the risk for acne scars.
Acne scars occur because of inflammation an destruction of the collagen in the skin. It results in a skin surface that is very irregular with pockmarks and divots and color changes which can either be a reddish or dark hue.
There are many variations of acne scars which dictate different types of treatments. Some acne scars are atrophic meaning that they are shallow and have a thin almost fragile appearance. Others may be rolling or “boxcar in shape. The acne scars that cause the most disfigurement are the “ice pick” scars or variations. They are deep and narrow, though some may be deep and wide particularly as a person ages.
While there are effective treatments for acne scars, there is no “magic bullet.” At the Gladstone Clinic, our philosophy is to treat you on an individual basis and customize your treatments.
Combination treatments tend to work best for most acne scars. Combining laser resurfacing with subscision may smooth out the topography of your skin. Subscision uses a special needle to break apart the acne scars. It is also thought that this technique may stimulate collagen production and push up the acne scar depressions. This is performed with local anesthesia. At the Gladstone Clinic, we perform both the traditional subscision underneath the skin and the newer roller subscision.
While there may be only one laser treatment, subscision may take several treatments.
The downtime for the fractional carbon dioxide laser is one week. For the subscision, it is 3-4 days. There can be bruising and swelling.
For some patients, adding a filler such as Sculptra may also soften acne scars.
*The results described are not typical and will vary based on a variety of factors.