Laser treatments for acne and more! Lasting solutions for scarring.
Acne is personal. It affects the way others perceive us and the way we see ourselves – often affecting our confidence and peace of mind. It can also be a puzzle; each of us has a unique skin profile affected by many variables.
Welcome to our new Conquering Acne series, designed to effectively navigate acne treatments and causes. Each month our Derm on Bloor specialists will answer your questions about acne and get to the heart of real answers and lasting solutions! Read their advice for a fresh start and rewrite your acne story.
This month, we’re exploring acne scarring. If you have a history of acne, you’ve likely noticed that the landscape of your skin has changed. The texture may be bumpy, with indentations, discolouration, or other marks. Read on to learn more about solutions that work!
Dr. Sam Hanna answers our questions:
I’ve got acne scars and they really bother me. Where do I begin?
Firstly, the main focus will be to get your active acne under control. If your acne is worsening or not responding adequately to your current treatment plan, an option is to see your family doctor about potentially beginning prescription therapy. If your active acne continues to worsen, it may be time to see a dermatologist.
(Next month, our specialists will answer questions on finding the root cause of your acne.)
Watch and wait. Once your skin is in a balanced state, take time to observe your acne scars. Simply maintaining acne control and allowing natural healing to happen over months or years will often allow some improvement in the appearance of acne scars. Note how your acne scars change shape, fade, or alter over time. Sharing these insights with your specialist can also help them suggest the right action plan for you.
Book a consultation. Remember that we’re here to help. By coming in for a consultation, you’ll have one-on-one time with a dermatologist who understands the nuances of your skin and will develop a personalized plan based on your concerns and goals.
Are lasers a good solution for acne scarring?
It’s not always possible to get rid of acne scars completely – but laser treatments can improve the appearance of acne scars. The right kind of laser treatment depends on the nature and severity of your scars.
I have red marks as a result of acne – what laser treatment is best for me?
Redness reduction lasers and lights can be a great solution for the red marks and discolouration that are slow to resolve after an outbreak of acne. Lasers like pulsed dye laser and light-based devices like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy can be used over several sessions to reduce that redness.
What about severe acne scars – the more intense, deep scars that are more likely resistant to treatment?
When acne scarring is severe, resurfacing lasers are a more aggressive option in improving skin texture. Cost and downtime may be greater, but they afford people with acne scarring a more meaningful improvement in their skin quality.
If I’m not interested in laser treatments, what else could address my acne scars?
Here are some other effective options to explore:
>> Chemical Peels: A chemical peel uses a chemical compound to deeply exfoliate and improve the texture of your skin.
>> Microneedling: These treatments create tiny injuries in the skin, triggering acne scarred skin to heal with a smoother texture. The optional addition of Radiofrequency Energy (RF) to microneedling in a single device further helps remodel and improve the texture of the skin by stimulating collagen and elastin formation.
>> Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection (PRP): In this procedure, a small amount of blood is drawn – just like having a lab test. The blood is then spun down in a centrifuge which separates and concentrates your own unique growth factors and platelets (small fragments of blood cells that drive tissue rejuvenation). Nothing foreign is added, as these are your own natural healing factors. When they’re injected back into the skin (alone or in combination with other treatments) the complexion improves in texture and vitality.
What’s the best solution for those deep, tethered acne scars that are resistant to treatment?
This sort of scar is often called an icepick scar. It often needs to be released by a technique called subcision, in which the skin is numbed and a needle is used to break the fibrous band holding the skin down. Once this is done, the scar tissue is more mobile, and a small amount of dermal filler material, like hyaluronic acid (HA), can be injected to raise up the scar and reduce its appearance.
How much do most acne treatments cost?
Medical acne treatments are generally covered by private insurance and many options are also covered by government health plans. If medical acne therapy needs to be paid out of pocket, the costs of individual medications are generally $20 to $100 per month depending on the choice.
How much does acne scar laser treatment cost?
The cost range is broad and varies. There are endless options in scar therapy, depending on the extent and severity of scarring. Acne scar improvement may cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. These treatments are not covered by public or private insurance plans – which is why it’s always wise to come in for a consultation. We’re committed to helping you find the most effective, affordable plan that meets your budget and your goals.
Do you still have questions? Check back next month for part two of our acne series.