Nearly everyone has scars from a burn, injury or surgical procedure, however, few scars are more distressing than acne scars as these tend to be on very visible areas of the face and body.
Fortunately, developments in cosmetic medicine mean we can now offer a range of advanced scar removal treatments to vastly improve the appearance of nearly any scar, including acne scars, on the face or body. Most scars will require a combination of treatments and more than one session for best results, but the results are worth it!
Research shows that the earlier you treat scar tissue the better the outcome tends to be, however, it is possible to improve very old scars too. Read more below about our acne scar treatments and enquire about the scar removal options available at Academy Face and Body.
* Note – Patient results may vary depending upon skin condition.
HOW DO ACNE SCARS AND OTHER SCARS FORM?
Scars are part of the skin’s normal healing process, following a wound or injury. All injuries to the skin will trigger the body to repair itself by forming new collagen fibres, the matrix of all body tissue. In the case of acne scars, a pore or follicle is blocked so the area becomes inflamed and infected. If the follicle tears, the infected material can destroy the surrounding healthy tissue and trigger the skin’s repair response.
Stretch marks are scars that form in an area of deep tissue that has weakened, usually during hormonal changes like puberty or pregnancy, combined with a stretching force on the skin such as weight gain or exercise.
Surgical scars are often dependent on the conditions of surgery and how effective the skin can align and mesh when held together by sutures. Other scars such as those occurring after tattoo removal may be due to ineffective treatment methods or therapist error, resulting in a burn.
As essential as this skin healing process is, it rarely results in the original skin structure or texture. Instead, there may be too much or too little collagen and fibrous threads may bind the scar tissue to deeper skin structures.
TYPES OF ACNE SCARS AND THE BEST TREATMENT OPTIONS?
There is no simple solution for acne scar removal. There is a wide range of scar types and skin types, so treatment programs need to be customised to your unique circumstances to ensure the best possible scar removal results.
At Academy Face and Body, our experienced skin physicians have access to a wide range of treatment modalities and can advise what is most likely to improve your unique scar tissue. Types of acne scars include:
Hypertrophic Raised Scars or Keloid Scars – sometimes, we produce too much collagen during healing, which creates a mass of raised tissue on the skin’s surface. This is more common on the torso, especially for men. The best treatment is steroid injection to flatten plus laser resufacing to soften and retexturise new tissue.
Atrophic Scars – this happens when there is a loss of tissue during the scar healing process. These may present as indentations or depressions on the skin, including:
Rolling scars that have a “wave-like” appearance across otherwise normal-looking skin. They are often best treated with a combination of fractionated ablative laser, subscision and dermal filler;
Box car scars are round or oval scars that give the skin a pitted appearance and are well treated by ablative laser resurfacing; and
Icepick scars are characterized by localised deep scars with steep walls. They are best treated with punch excision followed by laser resurfacing.
Most people have several different types of acne scars so a variety of acne treatment may be required to achieve optimal results. More severe scarring will generally require fractionated CO2 laser treatments, whilst mild scarring may achieve good improvement with skin needling.
Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is not scar tissue, rather a flat area of discoloured skin that occurs following tissue inflammation. It will eventually fade on its own but may take 12 months or more. It is possible to accelerate fading with use of photo-rejuvenation laser, prescription creams and home-care products that are available from our clinic.
Once acne scar tissue has been refined, complexion and skin tone can be further enhanced and maintained with dermal therapies such as IPL photo-rejuvenation, non-ablative laser, chemical peels, skin needling, microdermabrasion and home-care products. All these procedures and products are available at Academy Face and Body or our co-located sister clinics.
IF I AM INTERESTED, WHAT NOW?
Your first step is to book a consultation with one of our Cosmetic Doctors, which has a fee of $100. You do not require a GP referral. Following a detailed skin analysis, your Doctor will recommend the optimal acne scar treatment program for you. To make an appointment, please Contact Us and make sure to check current promotions.
You are welcome to book a complimentary skin consultation with one of our Registered Nurses to discuss your concerns and the various treatment options available.
WHAT ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE?
At Academy Face and Body we offer a wide range of treatments and programs to improve all scars including acne scars, such as:
For moderate to severe acne scars, fractional CO2 or ScarLess DOT laser is likely to be a fundamental component of your scar removal program. Fractional CO2 laser consistently produces the best results for nearly all types of scar tissue and is regarded by cosmetic surgeons as the leading skin resurfacing procedure available (without sedation), especially when combined with other treatment modalities.
The fractional CO2 laser has almost infinite settings, enabling our physicians to modulate treatments in line with your skin characteristics and scar tissue, including mild settings for Asian and darker skin types.
ScarLess DOT delivers high-powered thermal heat via thousands of micro-beams that penetrate into the skin, whilst leaving undamaged skin intact. This triggers a “controlled” healing process that stimulates new healthy collagen (for up to 12 months) and a tighter, smoother skin complexion.
Adjustments can be made throughout the procedure to more accurately treat specific conditions such as rolling acne scars on the cheeks, old injury scars, fine lines and even sebaceous hyperplasia (those little age bumps).
Fractionated CO2 laser is also the leading skin resurfacing and anti-aging procedure available (without sedation), providing material improvement in wrinkles, pigmentation and skin tightening. For more information, please refer to our Skin Rejuvenation Laser page.
ScarLess DOT settings are warm but relatively comfortable, although you should expect a few days up to 2 weeks of healing, depending upon the area teated (the face heals faster than the body). The number of treatments required will depend upon the severity of your acne scars and whether ScarLess DOT is combined with other treatments such as PurePRP.
Special silicone gel is applied post laser to enhance healing. Residual erythema (redness) is common but will fade or can be removed with IPL or NdYag (vascular lasers) if desired.
The likely number of sessions and a recommended treatment program will be advised during your detailed skin consultation.
Please watch our CO2 laser treatment videos on YouTube
Raised (keloid) scars can be flattened, quite effectively, with dilute steroid injection. This generally takes a few sessions and the effect is proportional to the dosage but only so much can be applied each session, at monthly intervals.
Steroid injections are often combined with factional CO2 laser in the same session to flatten, soften and retexturising raised scar tissue.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a natural skin and tissue regeneration therapy using your own concentrated blood platelets and bioactive proteins. PRP activates stem cells and releases growth factors, which triggers collagen production and tissue repair.
Most patients will notice improved skin hydration within a week of treatment, however, the underlying structural improvements start to improve after 30 days and continue for up to 90 days. Best results are seen 30 days after the recommended 3 treatments sessions.
PRP is autologous, meaning it is found naturally in your body (i.e. your blood). Because of this, PRP poses no risk of allergic reaction, sensitivity or other complication when extracted and re-injected under medical conditions.
At Academy Face and Body we only inject the advanced EmCyte PurePRP II. No other PRP extraction currently matches the concentrations and efficacy of PurePRP II to restore natural volume and tissue structure of the skin. You should expect some bruising following PurePRP injections and swelling that can last up to 48 hours.
PurePRP injections can be used alone to treat acne scarring, but results are materially enhanced when combined with fractional CO2 laser (or Skin Needling). If desired, we can offer PurePRP injections with lignocaine immediately prior to CO2 laser treatment, which means the laser treatment is quite comfortable.
To fill or plump depressed scars it is possible to inject dermal fillers for immediate volume. Alternatively, bio-stimulator fillers can be injected for longer term collagen formation in the area. Dermal fillers can last anywhere from 1-2 years, whilst bio-stimulators can last up to 4 years depending upon the product.
The advantage of dermal fillers and bio-stimulators is that they provide an immediate result with no downtime, however, they may not be suitable for all scars and will slowly resorb over time (so may need to be repeated every few years depending upon the product used).
A combination of CO2 laser resurfacing and fillers is ideal for rolling acne scars.
Subscision is a minor surgical procedure used for treating depressed scars. It is performed using a special needle, which is inserted under scar tissue and used to break up the fibrous strands that are tethering the scar to underlying tissue. This releases the upper layers of skin and new collagen is produced as part of the healing process.
Subcision can be performed in the clinic with local injection and is usually well tolerated. There may be some bruising and tenderness, but no downtime. A few treatments (2-6) may be required for best results. Subscision is not suitable for icepick acne scars or clients prone to keloid scarring.
For mild to moderate acne scarring and for those who can only tolerate a couple days healing time, Skin Needling using a Dermapen is available. Numbing cream is applied and an electric pen with medical grade stainless steel needles are passed across the skin creating thousands of micro channels, without heat, which stimulates collagen and elastin production.
The results are not as impressive as factional CO2 laser and more sessions will be required (3-8 sessions every 6 weeks), however, Dermapen is suitable for all skin types (including Asian and darker skins), has less downtime and is a cheaper treatment option. Dermapen is also a great skin maintenance treatment.
The results of the Dermapen are significantly enhanced with PurePRP injections at the same time.
PREPARING FOR ACNE SCAR TREATMENT
Microdermabrasion relies on a mechanical process to exfoliate the top layers of facial skin and expedite cell turnover, by using a fine stream of abrasive crystals. The intensity can be varied considerably to suit individual skin types and conditions, resulting in very mild flaking through to pinpoint bleeding and skin peeling over a few days.
Chemical peels also encourage the exfoliation of superficial skin, however, the peel is initiated via the application of a chemical solution, which can range from mild Glycolic or Jessner peels through to deeper medical—grade solutions. The deeper the peel, the longer the recovery time but less treatments are required. The correct chemical peel will depend upon your skin type and conditions (some skin conditions are not suited to chemical solutions e.g. eczma and rosacea).
Skin Preparation Products
Where active acne is present or skin is congested, your treating doctor may prescribe a topical Tretinoin acid (ReTrieve 0.05%) to speed up cellular turnover, which clears and prevents the formation of new pimples and blackheads whilst shedding aged or damaged skin, giving the effect of lightening and smoothing the skin.
For sun exposed or darker skin types, your doctor is likely to prescribe a melanin suppressing cream such as Kligman’s, which reduces the risks of hyper-pigmentation and enables laser settings to be higher.
If you are having laser treatment near the lip area and have been exposed to cold sores, anti viral medication will also be prescribed pre and post treatment to prevent an outbreak.
ACNE SCAR REMOVAL POST-CARE
Once acne scar tissue has been refined, your complexion and skin tone can be further enhanced and maintained with dermal therapies such as IPL photo-rejuvenation (to remove residual redness or brown spots), non-ablative laser for texture and firming, chemical peels, Dermapen, home roller needling, microdermabrasion and clinic strength home-care products.
All these procedures and products are available at Academy Face and Body or our co-located sister clinics.
RESULTS FROM ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS?
Whilst acne scars and other scar removal treatments generally require a multi-method approach and more than one session, the results for nearly all patients can be extremely good if you complete the recommended treatment program … especially on the face, which has an amazing ability to regenerate skin.
Patience and program compliance are essential as each treatment will produce an incremental improvement and collagen production, which continues from 3-12 months depending upon the treatment options.
HOW MUCH DO ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS COST?
Scar treatment programs generally require a range of treatments spread over multiple sessions. The ideal program will be recommended during your initial skin consultation and programs will be scheduled and quoted at a discounted package rate.
Acne treatment programs may involve Fractional CO2 Laser, Pure PRP, Skin Needling, Dermal Filler/Stimulator, Steroid Injection, Subcision, Microdermabrasion and/or Chemical Peels.