When the acne is severe and not treated, the resulting scars can be very unattractive. Many individuals pick at their Acne pustules, which further worsens the scars. The scars which form after acne are varied in nature- some are superficial, some are deep and some may be accompanied by deep cysts beneath the skin. Treatment of acne scars is difficult and the results not always acceptable or pleasing. The methods used to treat acne scars include:
Drainage of the acne cysts: When medications fail to resolve the infected cysts, drainage may help remove all the pus and fluid from the cyst. This will help decrease the cyst size making further treatment easier.
Surgical removal of the scars: This is a major procedure and may require excision of old scars and punching out some old lesions. Surgery is the last resort and done when all other procedures have failed.
Injection of corticosteroids: Sometimes the acne scars are hard and inflamed. In such cases, intralesional corticosteroids may help reduce the inflammation and soften the scars.
Chemical peels: This is only effective for the mild acne scars. There are various peeling agents available which may help remove black comedomes. Various chemicals are used for different depth peels. Lighter concentration peels usually have no down time or side effects but the higher strength peels can cause scarring, redness, and the skin can take some time to heal.
Dermabrasion: This procedure can help remove the deeper scars and the technique is often combined with other surgical procedures. The scars are basically erased with a "sandpaper" like wire brush. A new smooth and fresh layer of skin replaces the old layer of skin
Laser: Laser treatment can help modify deep scars and can help tighten the skin. Today, laser is being touted as the panacea for all skin disorders. It may be wonderful but it is also expensive.
Tissue augmentation: Injections of various dermal fillers like subcutaneous fat or collagen can raise the deeper scars and bring evenness to the surface skin. The procedure does have to repeated frequently to maintain the cosmetic result. The fillers last anywhere from a few weeks to 6-9 months. The newer fillers like Restylane last 2-5 years after the injections. The majority of tissue fillers simulate the body's collagen and fill up the area, thus erasing the scar.
In some cases, the scars are filled with fat taken from other parts of the body.
Microdermabrasion: This miniature version of dermabrasion uses tiny particles to scrape the superficial layers of the skin. The method is best for those with minor skin flaws and scars. In most cases, multiple treatments are required to maintain the cosmetic benefit.
These above procedures are done by dermatologists or a plastic surgeon. Selection of the proper physician is extremely important if one desires a good result.
The type of procedure that one undergoes is highly depend on the severity of the skin condition, experience of the physician and whether the individual has undergone any other prior skin procedures
Before jumping into a procedure it is very important that you are realistic in your expectations.
You must know something about your condition and what treatment options available.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. You will be paying a lot of money for any of the procedures, so ask.
Laser and light treatments are quite expensive and long-term effectiveness is not proven.
The average cost of chemical peels is between $500 and $600; laser skin resurfacing costs between $2000 to 5000 while dermabrasion can cost $1000. Dermal fillers can cost anywhere from $400 and above, and fat fillers are always expensive costing anywhere from $1000 and more. Other costs may include consultation fees, anesthesia and use of operating room facilities.