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Acne Scar Treatments in Cleveland, Ohio
Acne is the most common of skin problems faced by most of the people at some point in their lives. Sometimes some people develop severe acne that leads to permanent or disfiguring scars. When collagen within the skin gets damaged due to inflammation, it leads to permanent changes in the texture of the skin and this process is known as scarring. Many patients refer the term "scarring" to the changes in color that remain for many months after the healing of acne lesion.
Acne scar treatments in Cleveland at Cleveland Cosmetic Surgery give an improved appearance to the skin. There are different treatments for different type of scarring. Besides surgery, much advanced techniques are available at Cleveland Cosmetic Surgery, which have a high success rate and patient satisfaction. The treatments for scarring and color changes available at Cleveland Cosmetic Surgery are discussed below in detail.
Types of Acne Scarring
Scarring from acne can be of different types such as "ice pick" scarring, hypertrophic scarring and atrophic scarring. These scars are discussed as follows:
- Ice pick scars: These scars are deep pitted and have steep edges.
- Heterotrophic scars: These scars are thick and lumpy scars which sit above the skin surface. They are common on the back and chest.
- Atrophic scars: These scars are pitted but not deep pitted. They have smooth borders.
Color changes are more common than scarring in acne. Sometimes it may take many years to disappear completely. The color changes are of three types:
- Post-inflammatory erythema: These appear as pink and purple patches at the site of acne lesions.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: These appear as brown or black discoloration at the site of acne lesion. This is very common in people with a darker skin tone or those who easily get tanned. These color changes worsen the appearance of acne.
- Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation: These appear as white marks at the site of completely healed acne lesion.
Ethnic Skin and Acne Scars
People with darker skin commonly suffer from acne. The treatment of acne is more important so as to prevent the formation of acne scars or discoloration. The risk of occurrence of acne in different ethnic groups is given below:
- African American patients also have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that are more at risk of scarring.
- Hispanics and people of Middle Eastern descent also have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Asians have a lower risk of hyperpigmentation as compared to African Americans, but the risk is higher than Caucasian patients.
The risk of acne scars in different ethnic groups is as below:
- Risk of keloidal and hypertrophic scars is 5-15 times higher in African Americans.
- Risk of keloidal and hypertrophic scars is 3-5 times higher in Asian descent patients.
Prevention and Treatment of Acne Scars
Acne scars are permanent but they can be treated so as to give an improved appearance to the skin. Acne scar treatments in Cleveland are never 100% effective but the results show a marked improvement. Different kinds of treatments are required for different type of scarring. For the treatment to be effective, clearing of acne is a must. Acne if persistent will lead to the formation of new scars. The most effective acne scar treatment is with surgery. Most patients need combination of treatments to get the best results.
Laser resurfacing is very effective for removal of acne scars. The lasers use a high-energy beam of light to target specific structures in the skin. The CO2 and Erb:Yag (Pixel®) lasers destroy epidermis and superficial dermis of the skin as they are less specific. Laser resurfacing gives a smooth and improved appearance by destroying the outer layers of the skin and this technique is known as ablative technique. Ablative techniques are very effective and require more recovery time; so are less popular.
Subcision is a technique used to treat atrophic scars. In subcision, local anesthesia with sedation or a general anesthesia is used. The scar tissue is released by inserting and gently moving a needle under the scar, underneath the skin. This method has been tested and found to be effective.
Punch excision and grafting
Complete removal of the scars is the only effective acne scar treatment in Clevealnd that is available for deep, ice-pick scars. For this a punch is used to cut out the scar. Punch is a small, round device like a cookie-cutter. The edges of the wound are sewn together with a suture after cutting out the scar. In this procedure a deep and large scar is made to treat a tiny line scar, which is then treated so as to blend with rest of the skin. Large scars are easy to treat as they can be removed and filled with a skin graft. Skin for the graft is usually taken from behind the ear. Contouring with dermabrasion helps in blending of the grafts into rest of the skin.
Fillers add volume to the skin and thus improve the appearance of the scars. Fillers can be used alone or in combination with any of the above procedures. They flatten the scar and thus improve the appearance of the scar. The lesions need to be re-injected at regular intervals so as to maintain the results.
Chemical peels or chemical resurfacing (see section on Chemical Peels), are acne scar treatments in Cleveland done with the use of chemicals to produce an improved appearance of the face. Chemical peels make use of chemicals to produce a controlled injury to the skin which in turn promotes the growth of new skin and thus improving the appearance. Different chemicals produce different type of injury. Some chemicals used for chemical peels include trichloroacetic acid (TCA or Obagi Blue Peel™), glycolic acid, salicylic acid, phenol and "Jessners" solution.
Medium depth and deep peels produce injury to the dermis, so they are used in improving the appearance or treating the atrophic acne scars. Deeper peels carry risks of complications such as scarring, infection and discoloration but are more effective. Deeper peels carry more risk for patients with dark skin. Studies performed in patients with dark skin have shown that some peels have proved to be beneficial for them. For example, in a study of Asian patients, superficial peels; using the chemical glycolic acid, improved the pore size and acne scarring. Further studies are going on.
Microdermabrasion is commonly referred to as "lunch time" due to no recovery time. It is a very popular procedure, classified under light or superficial dermabrasion. The efficacy of this procedure has not been scientifically proven, but many patients report a feeling of smooth skin after the procedure. In this procedure, aluminum oxide crystals are propelled at the skin and sucked up immediately. It is a painless procedure without any recovery time. For effective acne discoloration treatment, up to 15 treatments are needed and this comes out to be expensive.
Treatment of Hypertrophic Acne Scars
Hypertrophic and keloid scars are comparatively uncommon, but are more disfiguring and harder to treat than other types of acne scarring. Hypertrophic scars are more common on the chest and the back and they tend to recur after removal for some still unknown reasons. The acne scar treatment in Cleveland for hypertrophic scars involves the use of injected steroids, topical steroids, cryosurgery or silicone dressing. Pulse dye lasers have been used in some cases with much success.
Treatment of Discoloration from Acne
Discoloration in form of red, purple, brown, black or white is common but less permanent in acne. Discoloration is comparatively easier to treat than scars. Topical medication or surgical methods or both can be used for the treatment.
Some over-the-counter creams are quite effective. Over-the-counter creams contain 2% hydoquinone, which is a bleaching agent, or prescription creams using single agents such as Retin-A (tretinoin) or combination of medications such as hydroquinone with tretinoin plus a cortisone cream have proved to be very effective, when used properly. The risks of medications are to be discussed with the doctor before using.
Get rid of acne scars and have a smooth, even-toned skin with acne scar treatments in Cleveland at Cleveland Cosmetic Surgery. Our offices are conveniently located at Canton, Lakewood and Middleburg Heights.
Call now to receive a free Skin Care Consultation at Cleveland Cosmetic Surgery at 216.227.FACE
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