Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the U.S. While most teenagers experience acne to some degree, acne occurs in adults as well. Acne can include “blackheads” and “whiteheads” caused by blocked pores, pimples, and deeper lumps such as cysts or nodules. Acne may occur anywhere on the body but is most often seen on the face, neck, shoulders, back, chest, and upper arms.
Acne can often cause a great deal of emotional distress, particularly when it results in scarring which can become quite severe. Fortunately, there are solutions for improving acne and acne scarring. These include chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion, soft tissue fillers, and laser or pulsed light treatments. Dr. Miller and Dr. Steinbrech perform acne scar treatments on an outpatient basis at their JCAHO accredited office-based facility at Gotham Plastic Surgery of New York City. They will work with you to choose the best treatment for your individual needs.
Chemical peels use a chemical solution which is applied to the skin to remove the damaged top layers. There are different types of chemical peels available, from light to stronger peels, and these may be comprised of glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, or phenol. Chemical peels are able to improve the appearance of atrophic acne scars. In general, the deeper peels are more effective on acne scarring, though they do carry a greater risk and more extensive recovery.
Dermabrasion uses an abrasive tool which removes the outer layers of damaged skin in order to resurface the skin and improve its appearance. Varying techniques may be used, though deeper methods are typically more effective on acne scarring. However, these may include a more involved recovery and greater risk. Dermabrasion may not be effective on deep ice pick scars.
Microdermabrasion is often classified as light or very superficial dermabrasion. This technique uses aluminum oxide crystals to remove the outermost layer of skin in order to resurface it. It can improve acne scarring to some degree, as well as hyperpigmentation caused by acne, and will leave the skin smoother and refreshed in appearance. This is a painless procedure with no associated recovery or downtime. However, up to 15 treatments may be necessary to effectively treat acne discoloration.
Soft Tissue Fillers.
Soft tissue fillers, also referred to as dermal fillers or injectable fillers, are substances which add volume to the skin. Fillers can be used to improve acne scarring by filling in pitted or depressed areas. However, the results are temporary and repeat injections are needed to maintain their effect.
Laser or Pulsed Light treatments use a high-energy beam of light to destroy the outer layers of the skin to reveal newer, undamaged skin. They can effectively treat acne scarring but may involve some downtime and risk.