If you're like many people who experienced cystic acne as a teen, you still bear some of the scars of that condition on your face — and you probably realize that you'd look much better if these scars would simply disappear. The good news is that you're in luck. While your counterparts of the past had little choice but to live with pitted scars on their skin and could only hope to lessen their appearance by the use of thickly pigmented makeup products, those in your position have a far better range of choices when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of cystic acne. Although there are plenty of at-home treatments that may be effective for those with only light scarring, those with deep scars may be better off seeking professional treatments. The following are just three effective ways to dramatically reduce the appearance of acne scars on your face that can be performed in your dermatologist or aesthetician's office.
Ablative Laser Resurfacing
Ablative laser resurfacing is a process in which the upper layers of the skin are removed by the use of a laser instrument. It also promotes the production of collagen by the skin cells, which results in a smoother feel and appearance of the skin's top layers. Skin will continue to peel for up to seven days after the procedure, and patients must be vigilant about keeping the treated area clean. Total healing time takes between 10 and 21 days.
Chemical peels work on the same principle as ablative laser resurfacing by promoting peeling of the upper layers of the skin to reveal the fresh, new skin underneath. Because they can cause hyperpigmentation in individuals with darker skin, chemical peels are generally recommended for those with light skin. Peeling can last for up to 7 days, and the process may be repeated at intervals every 6–12 months.
For deeply pitted skin, dermal fillers may be the best choice, particularly collagen-based permanent dermal fillers. Their function is to fill in the pits caused by cystic acne. The procedure may cause light bruising in some people, and treatment areas may be red or swollen for up to 7 days. Dermal fillers are often used in conjunction with other treatments in order to achieve optimal results.
Your dermatologist or aesthetician can help you devise a customized strategy designed to provide you with a treatment plan for your individual scarring situation.