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Acne - They Called Me Scar-face

Aug 18, 2007
" Thou are all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee." Song of Solomon 4:7.

The above passage was taken from the old testament in the Bible. Even then, people equated beauty with good clear skin. The unfortunate who have acne, or worse, acne scars, while no longer publicly ostracised today, are still not regarded as beautiful as though with clear skin.

Acne scars are terrible to have. They are there as permanent reminders, even after the acne has long run it's course and the redness is gone. Some people develop severe acne spots, and yet, when the acne resolves, there is no trace of the disease. Others may have smaller, less red spots, but they can scar quite badly. Any form of scarring should be treated as severe acne, and needs aggressive treatment.

There are different types of acne scars. Some are shallow. Often, they are deep, called "ice-pick" scars. These are the result of a deep-seated severe inflammatory reaction in the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. These are hard to disguise with cosmetics and almost impossible to remove surgically.

Other forms of acne scars include keloid scars. These start like ordinary scars but can continue to grow so that they become heaped up and hard. These are difficult to treat.

Prevention of acne scars is still the best treatment. However, if acne scars have formed, these are some of the methods available to treat them.

Cryotherapy involves freezing the area of skin where shallow acne scars have formed. The hope was that peeling would occur but it did not work well. However, cryotherapy can still sometimes be used for severe acne cysts. But the treatment in itself can cause scarring.

Dermabrasion involves removing top layers of skin where scars are formed. This can be effective if shallow scars are present. It is not useful for ice-pick scars.

Lasers may be used to recontour scar tissue and reduce the redness of skin around healed acne lesions. In some cases, a single treatment is all that will be necessary to achieve permanent results. Because the skin absorbs powerful bursts of energy from the laser, there may be post-treatment redness for several months.

Chemical peels work on the same principle with the aim of using a powerful chemical irritant to remove the top layers of the skin.

Collagen implants work by injecting collagen, a normal substance of the body. It is injected under the skin to "stretch" and "fill out" certain types of superficial and deep soft scars. Collagen treatment usually does not work as well for ice-pick scars and keloids. Cosmetic benefit from collagen injection usually lasts 3 to 6 months.

Fat can be taken from another site on your own body and prepared for injection into your skin. The fat is injected beneath the surface of the skin to elevate depressed scars. This method is usually used to correct deep contour defects caused by scarring from nodulocystic acne. Because the fat is reabsorbed into the skin over a period of 6 to 18 months, the procedure usually must be repeated.

For very bad ice pick scars, skin surgery may need to be considered. Some ice-pick scars may be removed by "punch" excision of each individual scar. Each scar is excised down to the layer of subcutaneous fat and the resulting hole in the skin may be repaired with sutures or with a small skin graft.

As I said, prevention of acne scar formation is still the best. The final decision about which form of treatment you choose for removal of acne scars will depend on the type of treatment that is best for you in terms of your type of skin, the cost, what you want the treatment to accomplish, and the possibility that some types of treatment may result in more scarring.

You will also need to consider the way you feel about scars, the severity of your scars and seek a dermatologist's expert opinion as to whether scar treatment is justified in your particular case, and what scar treatment will be most effective for you.
About the Author
Karen Cheong has created a blog providing information on the various forms of treatment for acne. She also shares personal stories and those of her friends in the blog.

To find out more, come visit http://www.acnemed.info/
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