|Model (Courtesy of Dr. Adam Baker, MD)|
Acne scars are very common and of great concern because they can give a disfigured appearance. These scars are usually formed when pimples are popped; this release of the pus into the skin leads to an inflammatory reaction in which abnormal collagen is generated and the skin does not heal properly. The depressions that are left in the skin are called atrophic scars. It is important to differentiate these acne scars with the discoloration that can occur after blemishes (called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) because the treatment is different. The deeper the scars, the more aggressive the treatment required. There are multiple ways to address these scars. I recommend starting with a good skin care regimen with a retinoid, exfoliant, antioxidant, and sunscreen. After several weeks of pre-treatment procedures such as chemical peels and laser treatments may be performed. Fractional ablative lasers, especially when combining them with other procedures as in the A E Skin Ultimate Rejuvenation, can give outstanding results with minimal downtime. A series of three treatments is generally recommended at four to six week intervals. More may be done depending on the severity and response. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not be treated.