The right mix of at-home care and in-clinic treatments can help get rid of any imperfections. Here’s our complete guide to banishing the most common scars. Skin conditions like chronic acne are frustrating to deal with in themselves, but the scarring after can affect people’s self-confidence and mental state.
While a lot is being done by the new crop of influencers who are normalising scars of every kind, from stretch marks to acne pits, for many people, getting rid of them is a big concern.
Small wounds and mild acne can clear out on their own in time, but others may take expert intervention. We spoke to Dr Batul Patel, dermatologist and medical director, The Bombay Skin Clinic about the best way to bid goodbye to these persistent scars; here’s what he had to say.
How to tackle acne scars
“Acne scars are indentations on the skin which tend to deepen with age because of loss of collagen,” says Dr Patel. There are different types of scars like open [enlarged] pores, rolling scars (formed if you are prone to scarring or pick on your acne too much while it heals), box scars (red and brown marks) and ice pick scars (caused due to a deep acne cyst or pustule).
With the advancement of technology there are several options to treat scars safely and effectively with minimum downtime.” According to Dr Patel, while there are a lot of at-home ways to treat active acne, there aren’t any effective ways to tackle deep rooted scars that have been on your skin for a long time. He helps us understand the best in-clinic options below to vanish the marks for good, once and for all.
Use a Dermapen
Dermapen is an advanced technology for non-surgical remodelling, reduction and removal of acne scars. Rejuvenating fractional micro channels are formed in the skin that actively break up existing scar tissue. This encourages the production and distribution of new collagen that will work to build healthy, thicker and firmer skin in the scarred region. You will notice your skin becoming smoother and far more even with the treatment.
Microneedling RF is a technology for acne scars, skin tightening and rejuvenation by utilising minimally invasive micro-needles to deliver controlled radio frequency (RF) energy directly into the various layers of the skin. The RF energy heats the tissue and stimulates new collagen, promotes skin re-modelling and effectively breaks the scar bands improving skin collagen and reduction of acne scars.
Chemical peels are effective to get rid of dead skin cells and create space for younger cells to penetrate the upper layer. There are different types of chemical peels such as alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, omega-hydroxy acids and glycolic acid and are useful for removing deep rooted acne. Medium to high level peels needs to be used under the guidance of a dermatologist for acne scars.
Dermatologists use two types of light therapy—red and blue. Blue light therapy helps to kill the bacteria that causes acne. There is hardly any recovery time needed after the treatment and no side effects have been reported from this acne treatment. Red light therapy is used for treating inflammation caused by acne. It is a non-invasive and safe acne treatment as it reduces the size of painful zits and stimulates energy cells of your skin. It also reduces oil production in your skin.
Laser skin resurfacing
This is a laser treatment where the top layer of the skin is removed to reveal the younger skin cells underneath. It helps to increase the production of collagen to make your skin look healthier and younger.
Treatment for acne on the affected areas may take about 30 mins to 2 hours, depending on your individual skin. Moreover, this treatment helps to effectively remove acne scars, but is not for all scar types. This treatment needs to be used with caution as the downtime is much longer in comparison to other acne-clearing treatments, standing between 10 to 21 days.
Also, it’s very important to protect skin from the sun and application of sunscreen is a must. There are high chances of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation as well—transparent consultation with your dermatologist is very important.
Minor surgery for acne scars
You can also opt for an actual skin surgery as opposed to a quick treatment for your scars. Using an in-clinic procedure called punch excision, your doctor will treat individual scars and repair the wounds.
Another similar technique is subcision which involves the physician inserting needles under the scar to break the fibres, hence releasing the depressions of individual scars to help improve its appearance. Subcision is a very important step which ideally needs to be performed as a first step before any treatment for acne scars as this helps to actually break the scar tissue.
How to treat keloid scars
Keloids are extra skin that grows onto a wound or any sort of scar on your body—the tendency to grow keloids also makes you prone to them on all kinds of scars and tears. The growth of this extra scar tissue isn’t harmful for you but can form in very visible areas of the body like the chest, shoulders, earlobes and cheeks.
One thing you should make a note of about keloid scars is that they are very difficult to treat and require patience and maintenance. It’s important that your skin doctor first educates you about skin healing. You should avoid getting yourself pierced or tattooed or undertake any treatment which can take time to heal.
The first line of treatment here is an intralesional steroid injection which is given as a micro-puncture once a month for a few months till the skin heals. Another treatment option for resistant keloids is skin grafting or Co2 laser, keeping in mind that relapses are common.
This can be seen in the form of flat, brown patches on your skin causes by excess of melanin in the area due to a scar or injury. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation takes two to six months to heal and the first step is strict and consistent sun protection by applying sunscreen. Since this is an inflammatory process, you can use a mild steroid cream to reduce the inflammation which will help to prevent the pigmentation from becoming more stubborn.
Also, azelaic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and as a depigmentation cream without any side effects. Treatments performed at dermatology clinics with low level light like blue or red light also help in the healing of the skin.
A laser treatment like the Q Switch laser helps to reduce the melanin deposition and hence, reduces the pigmentation. Newer peels containing active ingredients like jasmonic acid, mandelic acid and azelaic acid also work well to treat these scars. #KhabarLive