In addition to the embarrassment of an acne outbreak, sometimes the face is left with scars from the lesions. It's important to differentiate between scarring and temporary marks, however.
Macules are red or reddish flat spots that are left from the most serious acne lesions. The macule lingers for up to six month but will eventually disappear without a trace. Another aftereffect of acne is discoloration of the skin, or a loss of pigmentation. This, too, is rarely permanent and is not a scar although it can be up to eighteen months before the skin brings itself back to normal. Chemical peeling may lessen the time frame but should be used only in extreme cases.
There are two types of acne scars: a sunken area and thick, raised tissue known as keloids. Sometimes these scars will repair themselves over time and disappear or appear barely noticeable but some need further treatment if they really bother a person. There are a number of treatments for acne scars and no one treatment is right for everybody. By consulting a dermatologist that will examine your scars, your skin and take a family history, you'll be able to find out which treatment is right for removing your scars.
Collagen injection is often used to fill out and stretch scars so that they blend in with your face and become unnoticeable. This type of treatment is not permanent and lasts anywhere from four to six months. Another method is to inject fat from elsewhere in your body underneath sunken scars, elevating them and correcting the contour. This is also a temporary measure (the fat is eventually reabsorbed by the body) and lasts from 6-18 months.
Dermabrasion is considered the most effective way to treat acne scars. A local anesthetic is given and a tool is used to remove some of the surface skin and re-contour the scar. Some of the more shallow scars will disappear completely and deeper scars may be made invisible or unnoticeable to all but the closest inspection. Microdermabrasion, a newer process, uses chemicals in a vacuum tube to remove the surface skin and hide or banish the scar. One treatment may not be enough and dermabrasion is generally considered the better treatment of the two.
Laser treatments are very successful in removing scarring, are more precise and usually require only one treatment. There may be some redness for a time or even several months following the procedure but the success rate is impressive.
Surgery on your scars and skin grafting are drastic steps but sometimes the infections of acne have damaged the skin and underlying tissues so much that surgical intervention is needed.
Acne scars can be psychologically painful as well as embarrassing. If you do consider medical treatment for your scars after finding they haven't faded over time, it's imperative that you choose a specialist that is board-certified. Board-certified physicians have met competency standards and have established sterling reputations among their fellows and their patients, as well as having their credentials verified and validated. Never, ever treat yourself with injections or medications not administered by a doctor; the money you save isn't worth the risk to your health and your life.
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