Tips for tackling acne scars
Nearly everyone between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience an acne breakout at some point in their lives, but whatever the real figure is, there’s no denying a high percentage of the population will be cursed with spots at some point.
A lucky few will just have to deal with the usual teenage pimples, but others have to go through the hell of full blown acne which can reach into adulthood.
When you do finally shake those dreaded spots, whether you outgrow them or seek medical help, next comes the scarring. Not waking up with fresh zits is a revelation, but former sufferers will soon fill that self-conscious void with worrying about their scars.
Help is at hand though. We spoke to Dr. Firas Al-Niaimi of Harley Street’s Skin to get the lowdown on acne scarring options. Firstly, he explained how there is an acne grading system, based on how deep the scars are.
For mild scarring, laser is a good call and the medical expert talked us through Fraxel.
“The technical term is fractional non ablative laser,” he told Cover Media. “It generates columns of heat into the deeper layer of the skin and that heat will then improve the tightening of your collagen and stimulate the deeper layer of the skin. The heat kick starts an inflammatory response and switches on certain cells to produce better collagen.
“And when the collagen is better that’s basically the matrix of the parts of the skin we’re going to stretch.”
The side effects include redness and swelling for about three days, and the area can look a little puffy and feel more sensitive. The number of treatments required depends on the scarring.
Fractional ablative laser is a more powerful option, which injures the surface of the skin, and is suitable for moderate to severe acne scars.
If you’re not keen on laser, then microneedling (also known as dermapen or dermaroller) will be your treatment of choice.
“It’s a popular treatment because it just creates tiny shallow wounds into the skin,” Dr. Al-Niaimi said. “There’s a little bit of bleeding and oozing, but that puncturing of the skin stimulates mechanically the skin to produce better collagen and it will feel firmer.”
No heat is used with this method, and it also has a much shorter downtime. Skin is generally red for a maximum of 24 hours and make-up can be worn the next day. It’s also more accessible, lower in price and is suitable for darker skin, “which tend to react with the lasers which can cause darkening of the skin”.
For both options you will need a course of treatments, waiting between four and six weeks between each for light skin and a little longer with darker complexions.
For Dr. Al-Niaimi both methods yield impressive results, but he adds: “Laser is more predictable. Laser is better for moderate to severe. Mild can choose either.”