Acne Scar Treatments
At Schweiger Dermatology, Group we firmly believe that combination therapy is the most effective approach to acne scar treatments.
Sorting through numerous acne treatments can be frustrating and overwhelming for the 50 million people who cope with acne. Our dermatology providers expertly streamline that process and recommend the best options for patients, treating both active acne outbreaks and the scarring resulting from lesions. We want to help our patients feel better about their complexions and, ultimately themselves.
At Schweiger Dermatology Group, we take a holistic approach, meaning we consult one on one with patients to determine the best course of action. Beyond the actual treatment options, we also want to help patients create a skincare regimen that works and lead to healthier, acne-free skin.
The type of treatment you would need depends on the type of acne scars you have.
Types of Acne That Can Lead to Scarring
Usually, acne in the form of whiteheads and blackheads tends to heal smoothly and doesn’t leave scars. Other forms of acne can lead to scarring. These include:
Papules are pink to red bumps that hurt when you touch them.
Pustules are pus-filled lesions, red at the base and white or yellow at the top.
Nodules are solid lesions that are larger than papules and pustules and can hurt more because they extend deeper into the skin.
Cysts lie deep within the skin and are painful, full of pus, and most likely to scar.
Scars most often form on the face, chest, and back.
Types of Acne Scars
Pitted – This is when there has been a loss of tissue, and the skin looks like it has indentations.
Post-inflammatory – This is when there are red or brown spots left on the skin after active acne lesions disappear.
Why they Form
They form as the result of inflammation of acne blemishes. How your body responds to healing determines if and how much scarring you will have. Part of the healing process includes collagen formation. If your body produces too much collagen, then raised scars appear. Loss of tissue, which creates pits or indentations in the skin, can also cause scarring.
Note that just because you have acne, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically have scars.
The type of treatment depends on the kind of acne you experience and your skin condition. Here is a list of some of the most popular treatment options that have shown significant results for our patients.
Dr. Eric Schweiger developed a process known as Focal Acne Scar Treatment (F.A.S.T.), which utilizes the fractional CO2 laser in a unique way to treat pitted acne scars for faster recovery time and greater results. Using this procedure, our dermatologists can focus on specifically targeted areas of the face and significantly reduce the overall look and appearance of acne scars – even the more severely pitted areas. This truly is the gold standard for pitted acne scar treatment.
Check out this YouTube video where Dr. Eric Schweiger demonstrates how the FAST procedure is done.
The Isolaz® laser acne treatment is an exciting and painless in-office acne treatment. Isolaz® is an FDA-cleared procedure used to clear out the pores and kill the P. acnes bacteria, leading to acne breakouts.
There are two components to the Isolaz® treatment, a gentle suction that cleans your pores and a light that simultaneously destroys the P. acnes bacteria. In a 2008 clinical study, researchers noted that acne continually improved for 3 months after a series of Isolaz® treatments.
That same study showed a decrease in both inflammatory (pimples) and non-inflammatory (blackheads and whiteheads) acne and reported an 82% satisfaction rate (moderate to very satisfied). Isolaz® is also very effective at treating acne on the back and chest.
Regular skin treatments can significantly reduce acne outbreaks, help alleviate active lesions, and minimize acne-related scarring. Our facial options include cleansing, chemical peels, extractions, and microdermabrasion.
Microdermabrasion is one of the most effective ways to slough off the top layer of dead skin cells, rejuvenate the skin, and reduce the appearance of mild acne scars. During microdermabrasion, our experienced clinical esthetician treats your skin with gentle, mechanical exfoliation, using a high-speed instrument that quickly removes the outermost layer of skin. The microdermabrasion instrument sprays tiny exfoliating crystals onto the skin. These help sand the skin and reveal smoother, clearer, healthier-looking skin when the dead cells are sloughed off. The treatment is effective for those with residual red and brown spots left behind after active acne lesions resolve.
Microdermabrasion is a quick and painless procedure with no downtime. Many patients find it to be quite relaxing. Immediately following treatment, your skin will appear brighter, more youthful-looking, and far more even-toned.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) utilizes a blue or red light in tandem with medication to kill the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts. Completely painless and non-invasive, this procedure has allowed us great success in clearing acne and improving skin texture. Patients feel better and more confident about their complexion even after one PDT treatment. PDT also helps to diminish the appearance of red and brown spots that may linger after an acne lesion disappears.
PDT significantly shrinks the skin’s oil-producing glands using blue light to activate a medication called 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). Thus, the amount of oil in each pore is drastically reduced. Acne-causing bacteria find it more difficult to thrive without this natural oil present. Beyond just shrinking these oil glands, PDT also targets the acne-causing bacteria directly. This procedure is best used in tandem with other types of treatments and a specially designed skin care regimen.
Photodynamic therapy for acne works best when patients receive three to five treatments approximately 3-5 weeks apart. We highly recommend avoiding sun exposure for up to 48 hours post-treatment. And patients with darker skin color should be cautious about staying out in the sun.
Blue and Red Light treatment may be the answer for some patients who have tried other forms of acne therapies to no avail. Blue and red light treatment kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation. This FDA-approved treatment has worked wonders for many of our patients.
Blue and red light treatments are pain-free. The lights work in tandem to kill the P. acnes bacteria responsible for acne outbreaks and reduce the inflammation at the acne site. The red light also helps to speed up the healing process, thus leaving patients with a clearer and smoother complexion sooner.
Blue and red light treatment is an in-office procedure lasting approximately 15 minutes. After just one treatment, patients notice a difference and feel better about their skin. Since there is no downtime, patients can resume their normal activities right after treatment.
Generally, we recommend 4-8 treatments of blue and red light therapy. Of course, as every patient is different, we will first consult with you to determine your treatment needs and available options. Blue and red light treatments are frequently used in conjunction with other types of acne therapy, such as topical products and prescription medications.
We use Focal Acne Scar Treatment (FAST) + Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for deeply pitted acne scars. First, we use our signature Focal Acne Scar Treatment (FAST), in which a high-intensity CO2 laser is targeted just at the scarring. Second, we use a standard Fraxel laser over the entire face. Lasers work because they poke microscopic holes in the skin, signaling your immune system to build new collagen, which fills in and thus repairs the scars. We then inject platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the scars to ramp up the collagen remodeling.
Microneedling + PRP
Microneedling can also be used (with or without PRP) to treat acne scars. Topical anesthesia is placed on the skin for comfort prior to the treatment. An electric device with small needles is then used to create small channels around and into the acne scars. These channels stimulate collagen, which allows healing and repair of the scar tissue.
How PRP Works To Correct Pitted Acne Scars
At Schweiger Dermatology, we use the gold standard SELPHYL system to spin the blood and separate the Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix (PRFM), which contains many beneficial growth factors that help heal the skin, promote collagen, and regenerate elastin. Blood is drawn from the patient’s arm and then put into the SELPHYL centrifuge, which removes white and red blood cells, leaving only the PRFM.
The centrifugation system converts your blood into “Liquid Gold,” a gel-like substance that contains only PRFM. Liquid Gold is called such because it has only pure platelets, which contain active growth factors. This platelet-rich blood is then injected into sites on the face with acne scars. The concentrated platelets release a host of beneficial growth factors that help to promote healing and stimulate the regrowth of collagen and elastin.
The platelets found in our blood do many beneficial things, such as stimulating the regrowth of collagen and elastin, the building blocks of young and healthy skin. When your blood is injected back into your skin, the body naturally begins a healing process that helps rid of acne scars. We often recommend PRP as an add-on therapy to laser acne scar treatments to deliver the best results possible to our acne scar patients. At Schweiger Dermatology, we strongly believe that combination therapy is the most effective approach to your treatment.
Acne Scar Treatments Near You in NY, NJ, PA, and CT
At Schweiger Dermatology Group, our experienced, board-certified dermatologists offer customized acne scar treatments.
For appointments, call Schweiger Dermatology Group at (844) DERM-DOC.
To find a location near you, check out our location pages. We look forward to working together to find the best treatment for your skin.