(HealthNewsDigest.com) – If you weren’t afflicted with severe acne through those wonderful years of puberty, count your blessings. Not only does acne steal a little self confidence, the spotlight of your graduation photos, and maybe some social events because of a bad break out – they may also leave a physical reminder as you enter adulthood; a documentary of scars. All those years of wishing for a fast forward leap into an age where all the acne has disappeared, are betrayed by the battle wounds of adolescence.
Many can relate to this. Acne affects about 20% of the population in North America and about 1% have acne scarring. Even when acne is treated and the majority of outbreaks are controlled, there has been a high level of inquiry into the treatment of acne scarring.
How Come Some People Get Scarring And Others Do Not?
There are different factors that go into winning the acne-scar lottery. Although there are no precise measurements or genetic dispositions which alienate the potential for scarring, certain factors can increase the risk. Do you ever remember witnessing, perhaps excruciatingly, a kid pick at a pimple or squeeze the pus pocket until it popped? The level of discomfort you felt as you watched this happen, despite the appetite loss, reveals a simple fore-warning. Picking at a scab or abnormality of the skin disrupts the healing process of the skin. The healing process involves production and distribution of collagen to the site where the skin is broken. Agitating and over-stimulating the broken skin may promote too much collagen production or too little collagen production. This same collagen dynamic is in effect when inflamed acne and broken skin are not treated immediately. The longer the inflammation endures, the higher opportunity for hypo or hyper-collagen response. So as a note of concern from your skin – take care of your skin when you have outbreaks as if you were protecting them from any harm.
So What Can We Do About The Scarring If We Lose The Lottery?
There are many different routes you can take. Natural and non-invasive techniques tend to require a long term commitment to diet, topical creams, and herbal tinctures. While this is a great exploration into what your particular skin type responds to, and a noble inquiry into holistic health – it takes a long time, has not guaranteed results, and some of the side effects are unknown and understudied. I am not discouraging the practice of good eating habits and joining forces with nature to promote healthy skin and radiance. This should be a practice done for the enjoyment of living healthy and feeling good, not necessarily as a first line of response to acne scars.
Laser therapy, or laser scar removal, has the fastest and most effective results. There are still factors at play in how effective, and how quickly the results are produced. Some scars are deeper into the epidermis (layers of skin) and some scars are more superficial. Some scars are depressed into the skin, and some scars are elevated or protrude away from the skin surface. Since laser therapy relies on the natural healing ability of the body, healing and recovery also vary depending upon each person’s ability to heal and their dedication to the healing process.
A pulse dye laser (PDL) treatment works by eliminating blood vessels and reshaping the dermis. The light from the laser is converted into heat and only attacks the areas of lesioning and discoloration. The procedure only takes about 10-20 minutes and the pain levels have been comparable to being snapped with an elastic band. So if you used to have elastic band wars with your siblings, you are already a veteran and it may even be slightly nostalgic. A study performed with 22 patients revealed a 68% clinical improvement in six weeks after just one pulse dye laser treatment. Alternate laser treatments produce different results on different scarring cases.
There are many different laser treatments which differ in laser intensity, settings, and functions. The choosing of which laser treatment is very important and you should consult a dermatologist who can match your skin type and degree of scarring to the appropriate laser treatment and regime. For example in this article, it is suggested that a non-ablative laser is recommended for third grade scarring. Third grade scarring are scars which are visible beyond 50 cm, cannot be covered up by makeup or short facial hair and can be flattened by stretching the skin around the scarring.
From infrared lasers to the gold standard of CO2 ablative laser treatments, there is a suitable selection for your skin type and scarring grade. Each laser treatment has varying scopes of effectiveness, recovery times and treatment intervals and frequency.
Keep in mind that when you are going through the process of interviewing and preparing for laser treatment that you avoid too much sun exposure and quit smoking if you do. Be well rested and be in the best condition you can be in. As for any healing modality, medication, or laser therapy – it’s effectiveness not only depends on the right option, but also on what you bring to the doctor’s office.