Acne scarring is a specialist field in itself. Scars maybe present at different depths and types, and in different skin types. All cases of acne scarring are assessed individually and a treatment plan tailored to the clinical examination of the patient.
Laser treatment of acne scars
Our Specialist center has 12 lasers, each with a specific role. Patients with acne scars types are matched according to which laser is BEST for their scars. Early and mild scarring respond best to Fraxel 1927 or the Fraxel 1550 (ideal for scars), whilst severe scars respond best to a combination of CO2 plus Erbium laser. Early scars respond best to RadioFrequency with Ematrix, whilst scar in darker skin types respond best to Erbium Profractional laser. Red flat scars respond well to IPL and V Beam or 755 Alex laser.
Sounds confusing? It’s because Westside Laser Dermatology tailors a program based upon your scar type, skin type and downtime- no cook book programs at our center.
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High strength TCA peels
TCA Cross is a method used for treating isolated deep ice pick scars. Application of high strength Trichloroacetic acid encourages collagen formation, lifting deep scars. Several treatments are advised. Ice pick scars are notoriously difficult to treat, they do not respond to Fractionated laser resurfacing/ Fraxel treatments.
More information on TCA cross for acne scars
Skin needling/ Roll Kit / Derm Rollers / Dermapen
With the event of Fraxel and Fractionated laser systems, the use of skin needling has seen a steady decline over the past 2 years. Skin needling uses a medical grade roller to puncture minute columns in the skin, reaching deeper layers to stimulate collagen formation. Several treatments are needed. Skin needling is safe on all skin types including darker ethnic skin. Fraxel and ProFractional systems generally perform 30-60% BETTER than needling. Recovery time is in the order of 3 to 7 days. Expect to see between 20% to 30% improvement with each session of skin needling or Dermapen. Do not be confused, skin needling is NOT laser fractional resurfacing. The controlled heat with lasers provides superior collagen remodeling than DERMAPEN treatments.
More information on skin needling
This surgical technique is often combined with Fraxel / ProFractional laser systems to treat deep bound down scars. This technique breaks down collagen that puckers the scar downwards. The surrounding scar is injected with local anesthesia, and a needle is inserted to run parallel to the skin to deeper structures. Release of the bands that bind down the scar visibly lifts the scar, smoothing the skin’s appearance. Punch excision can also be used to treat deeper ice pick scars.
AHA peels can be of benefit in cases of mild acne scarring. Glycolic acid peels can stimulate collagen early in the course of scar repair as well as improve skin texture. Once acne is under control with various acne treatments, patients have the option of the Clear Skin Program – a series of AHA peels alternating with Red Light LED treatment.
More information on the Clear Skin Program
Dermal fillers / dermal grafting
This method maybe effective in treating depressed scars. Fillers last 4-18months. Dermal grafts for acne scars last longer. We prefer to use dermal fillers rather than dermal grafts due to the 5-10% complication rates of dermal grafting.
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Blue and red light treatments
These wavelengths of light have been effective in treating acne and acne scarring. Treatments are best conducted early in the process of scarring. Improvements can be expected in mild cases of acne scarring. A series of treatments are advised. The wavelength of red light has been shown to stimulate collagen formation, and aid in wound recovery. We often combine LED treatments with Fraxel/ Fractionated laser resurfacing and chemical peels for added benefits. Blue light can temporarilytreat acne, and is NOT recommended as a cure for acne.
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This method is used to treat raised scars- hypertrophic or keloid scarring. These scars generally occur on the upper back, chest, shoulders and jawline areas and present as hard lumpy areas. Several courses of injections can flatten out these areas over time. The result is generally excellent.Fractional laser can also reduce the hardness of these scars, however 3-4 treatments are often needed.
The successful treatment of acne scarring is a major challenge to treating specialist. For the patient acne scarring can be traumatic and distressing. In the past scar treatments have had limited success however with the evolution of new laser technology, patients can expect to see significant improvements with little down time. Fraxel or fractionated laser resurfacing has revolutionized acne scar treatments.
It is important to realize that patients will often have a mixture of scars and choosing a specialist skilled in performing all procedures will give the best outcome.