Acne not only attacks your skin. It also wages war on your self-confidence, your comfortability in social situations and your general outlook on life. But you can fight back. Discover the many cosmetic services at your disposal to use as tools in winning the battle with acne.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles get clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. Plugged pores commonly cause whiteheads and pimples or blackheads. Severe acne can result in large, painful bumps under the skin, both as nodules and pus-filled cystic lesions. Acne typically arises on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back, where you have more sebaceous glands that produce oil. The bumps and cysts of acne can cause scarring, from shallow depressions to deeper, “ice pick” scars. If you have acne, it’s important to seek early treatment with a dermatologist so that you can reduce the severity of the outbreaks and thus, the severity of the scarring. Once you have the flare-ups under control, you can start to explore the various cosmetic treatments that help smooth out and heal your skin. Your dermatologist can guide you in which treatments are best for the type of scarring you have.
Resurfacing is a common treatment used to reduce shallow, depressed acne scars and some deeper scarring. There are various methods of resurfacing, including laser therapy, chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. In each of these procedures, the top layers of skin are removed, which evens out the skin’s texture and stimulates new skin growth. A chemical skin peel uses the application of acid to the surface of the skin, causing the top layer to peel off. Dermabrasion can treat both shallow and deeper acne scars with the use of a spinning wire brush that removes the top layer of skin. Microdermabrasion uses a tool with an abrasive surface that sands away the surface of the skin. Chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion not only help to reduce scarring, but also remove whiteheads and blackheads. Laser therapies use either ablative or nonablative high frequency laser lights. Nonablative lasers (like Fraxel) help to stimulate collagen production, which improves skin tone and texture. Ablative lasers remove the top layers of skin, often creating significant improvement in wrinkles and scars. Ablative lasers require more healing than other types of treatment, but you typically won’t have to get multiple treatments to achieve great results.
Dermal fillers are products that are injected into your skin to help plump and smooth areas on your face or hands that are wrinkled, scarred, or creased. Many dermal fillers (like Restylane, Juvederm and Belotero) contain hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in your body that binds to water and helps to moisturize your skin. When the dermal filler is injected, it plumps your skin to help even out acne scars, as well as fine lines, folds and creases. Dermal filler injections are a quick, outpatient procedure that require little downtime. After a number of weeks after your injections, your body will gradually absorb the injected hyaluronic acid.
Microneedling (also called collagen-induction therapy) is a procedure where a handheld device with small needles is rolled over the skin. The puncturing of the skin helps to stimulate collagen production, which then firms up the skin to reduce acne scars, wrinkles and large pores. Multiple sessions of microneedling is known to help with shallow scarring from acne. The sessions are relatively quick (around 2 hours) and require little downtime, with some redness and irritation that dissipates within a couple of days.
Botox is being used by dermatologists to both help prevent acne breakouts and scarring and to help relax the puckered skin around an already existing acne scar. Some dermatologists are treating acne with Botox by injecting the areas on the face where more oil is produced. The Botox injection helps to slow the production of oil. Dermatologists can also inject Botox around an acne scar to help release the muscle tension that causes the scar to pucker.
For deeper acne scars, often called ice pick scars, dermatologists can perform surgery to help raise the scar. One surgery is called a punch excision in which the doctor cuts out the individual scars and repairs the wounds with stitches or skin grafts, usually from behind the ear. Another minor surgery that can help with scarring is called subcision. In subcision, the doctor injects needles below the acne scars, which loosens the fibers below the scars and raises the skin under the scar. Frequently, surgical procedures are combined with other treatments, like microneedling or laser treatment, to achieve the best results.
Call Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area today to schedule your appointment. The experienced dermatologists at Vanguard can advise you on the best treatments for treating your acne and can expertly perform a variety of cosmetic treatments to restore your skin to health.