Q: As a teenager I suffered from severe acne, and while I haven't had a breakout
in years, I still have quite a few scars along my cheeks and forehead. They
make me just as self-conscious as the actual acne. I know it's holding me back
from being more outgoing with coworkers and friends. Is there help for me?
Dr. Donnica: There are essentially six different treatment options for acne
scars. After reading some general information about them (visit www.acne.org),
consult your dermatologist for her recommendation about what's best for you. Keep
in mind that these treatments are costly and may not be covered by your insurance
carrier. In addition, many of these options require repeat treatments.
Dermabrasion is a technique in which damaged skin is removed using a rapidly
rotating diamond-edged wheel, allowing healthier new skin to grow. Laser resurfacing,
a newer and costlier technique, has the same goal, but uses lasers to remove
shallow imperfections. Chemical peels may be helpful for very mild acne scarring.
They involve applying different types of acid to remove the top layer of skin
so that a smoother layer can surface. Punch techniques and subcision are ways
to remove the pits of deeper scars; these are often recommended in combination
with resurfacing techniques. Augmentation techniques involve injecting material
(usually collagen, but sometimes fat) under the scar to bring it to surface
Created: 10/29/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.