The Truth About Acne Scars

Fraxel acne scars

(Results vary by individual patient and  results cannot be guaranteed)

Many people suffer the effects of scars created from teenage acne. These effects can range from small, red or brown discolouration’s, to actual divots left in the skin. These are sometimes referred to as ice pick scars. Once these scars appear there is nothing that will make them completely disappear and restore the skin to its former smoothness. So don’t let anyone tell you that microdermabrasion or a skin cream will fix you.

However, there are some treatments that will help soften the look of acne scars by resurfacing the skin.

One of the best options on the market right now is a ‘doctor’s office only’ laser, called Fraxel. It works by penetrating the top skin layers with thousands of microscopic laser ‘wounds’. These wounds are healed by the healthy tissue surrounding  them that were left unharmed.

The deeper you go, the better the result and the more downtime you will need. Fraxel light energy stimulates collagen, and resurfaces the top skin layer each time the treatment is performed. Results ‘stockpile,’ so for severe acne scars 4-6 treatments might be necessary.

Why is this treatment preferred over the ablative CO2 lasers?

Some people prefer to pay more and get similar results in one treatment. However, if you are someone who would rather do the process more gradually and not have to deal with the risk of infection, long lasting redness and some wound oozing,  then the Fraxel would be your better choice.

We find that often, with the Fraxel Restore Dual, we are first asked to achieve a clearing of sun damage and fine lines by starting with the 1927 side of the combined laser. On the next treatment, we use the 1550 side of the laser which is where the deep collagen stimulation comes in. Each treatment will see some smoothing and in 4-6 weeks we re-treat the face again. Six months after all of the treatments are completed, there will continue to be some improvements in the skin.

It takes time for your collagen to work its magic.

What about the risks?

With all lasers, darker skin types are the most difficult to treat. They run a much higher risk of PIH or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation.  To get the results the patient is hoping for and still be safe, a darker skin type will need to be treated more conservatively, so lower settings and more treatments, more like 6-8.

You are looking at one week of downtime for each Fraxel treatment, 4 days if you don’t mind people asking a few questions. There one big DON’T, you must stay out of the sun! Especially for the 4 weeks following the treatment. This is when your skin is inflamed and all skin types risk getting unwanted pigment from sun exposure.

Obviously the middle of summer is not the best time for this treatment but if you are extremely careful, it can be done.

When is a good time?

Now! When the sun is low in the sky and you aren’t tempted to hang out in it. No matter what, you will still be applying your SPF 50 to be safe and wearing a hat until your skin is completely healed.

This may seem like a lot of hassle, but for someone who has spent many years wishing they could smooth out their acne scars, it’s a dream come true.

Age is a state of mind. Aging is a treatable condition.

by M. Wally

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