Acne Scars: How to Prevent and Cure Them?

Acne scars can cause damage to one’s skin because of the intense, collagen damaging inflammation to the skin. Acne usually starts to disappear within a few days, but sometimes tends to leave scars. Atrophic, boxcar-shaped, and ice-pick shaped scars are all types of scars that can occur after acne goes away. Atrophic scars are mostly shallow, while ice pick-shaped scars are narrower and deeper.

There are some things that can make acne worse, including exposure to the sun, and picking and squeezing acne. When acne is exposed to direct sunlight, the scar it will leave can become darker and it will slow down the healing process. If you are going to be under direct sunlight it is best to use sunblock with SPF 30 or higher. Picking acne can lead to more inflammation, which will injure the skin adding to the discoloration and causing scarring. Squeezing acne will cause bacteria to go deeper into the skin damaging the collagen.

The best way to prevent acne scars is to have patience, don’t try to pick or squeeze acne, not touching acne you get, will prevent scars. However, if you already have acne scars, it can be treated by using cortisone in order to reduce the inflammation. For deeper acne scars, laser and filler treatments might be the best option. In order to find out what to do to reduce the appearance of acne scars, it is recommended to visit a dermatologist.

CO2 Laser Treatment for Atrophic Scarring

Deep acne marks also known as atrophic scars are characterized by pits or craters in the skin. This type of acne scar can leave the face disfigured and have detrimental effects on one’s self-esteem. Although this type of scarring can be very difficult to heal and improve, CO2 Laser technology is the best method for atrophic skin resurfacing and scar diminishment. It works by sending short, CO2 Laser Treatmentconcentrated beams of light to the area of skin while removing the skin in layers. The new skin that is formed during healing will appear youthful and tighter. This process takes about 2 weeks.

The newest advancement in laser technology is fractionated laser therapy or Focal Acne Scar Treatment known as F.A.S.T. This new method yields similar results to typical laser treatments, but the difference is that this method treats a fraction of the skin, meaning that the energy targets damaged cells, destroying them, while leaving other areas of the skin unharmed. This method delivers fast, lasting results due to the fact that the skin is removed fractionally. The advantages to this method are increased safety, increased comfort, and decreased healing time.

When choosing laser treatment, make sure to speak with your dermatologist about which option is best for you and your condition.

Scar Types

Skin is the largest organ of a person’s body. Any type of trauma including burns, injury, and surgery can cause a scar to appear on the skin. Scarring can happen on any part of the person’s body that the trauma occurred. Some scars may be small or in locations that aren’t visible to the public eye. However, some people may have scars that are visible, which bother them. There are treatments that can help improve the appearance of the scar, but you can never make it completely disappear.

Scarring happens when the healing process begins. The depth and the size of the wound are one of the many factors of how big and visible the scar will be. Other factors can be your age, ethnicity, genes, and location of the injury. When it comes to surgical scars, the way the surgeon closes the wound can affect the visibility and size of the scar.

There are different types of scars:

Different forms of scarring

Keloid Scar, Contracture Scar, Hypertrophic Scar, Acne Scar

1. Keloid scar: spreads past the original injury and begins to grow
2. Contracture scars: when you burn your skin
3. Hypertrophic scars: Red scars which are raised
4. Acne scars: forms when people have severe acne. Acne scars can vary, some can be deep and some can even have a little bump.

Acne scars can be treated depending on the size, location, and type of scar. Some scars can be treated by over the counter or prescription creams. Another form of scar treatment is by injections or by surgical removal. In order to find out what the best treatment is for you, it is recommended to see a physician. If you have a scar from surgery it is best to see the surgeon who performed the surgery. If you have acne scars, it is recommended to see a dermatologist.

What Can Be Done About Scarring?

ScarScarring is the result of tissue fibers replacing normal skin after a trauma. Scarring can result from surgery, burns, open wounds, or any other abrasion of the skin. Scars are caused when the deep thick layer of skin, also known as the dermis, is damaged. Once trauma occurs, the body forms a collagen fiber which aids in the healing process of the wound and causes a scar. Because the tissue is a different consistency and quality the scar becomes visible.

Some scars can be easily hidden, while other will always be visible. Even though scars can never be removed completely, there are procedures offered that will improve the appearance of the scar. Laser resurfacing can be used to remove the surface layers of the skin, resulting in a less visible scar. If a person has a larger scar, surgery is an available option to reduce the size of the scar. Scalp Micro Pigmentation is a new method being offered which uses dermal pigments to camouflage the scars on hair bearing areas of the scalp or face.

If a scar leaves an indentation in the skin, you can use filler injections to raise the scar to the level of the surrounding skin. This type of treatment will be temporary, meaning it should be done a few times a year. If you have a keloid scar, scars that are raised, steroid injections can help flatten the scar giving it an enhanced appearance.

To reduce heavy scarring, topical creams and ointments can be used directly after trauma. Certain scars will fade away after a year and will not need any special method of treatment. For all other cases, it is best to see a specialist who can further assist you.

New Science Helps in Healing Victims of War

Traumatic Injures of War

A young child in Mosul, Iraq is playing in a war torn neighborhood. Chasing a ball made of newspaper in tape she inadvertently steps on an IED. Outside Kabul a coalition humanitarian worker and a soldier a bring aid to an Afghan family. There vehicle hits a landmine they are severely burned and scarred from burns and loss of muscle. New technology promise hope for such victims.

University of Pittsburgh doctors have helped a soldier injured in Afghanistan regrow muscle to restore his strength and range of motion in his severely injured leg. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Pittsburgh is headed by Stephen Badylak, doctors there are pioneering cutting edged treatments for recovery of traumatic battlefield wounds. These injuries include burns and blast injuries. These amazing treatments include wound healing, craniofacial reconstruction, and limb regeneration.

Wounded Soldier Facial Reconstruction

“Wounded Soldier Facial Reconstruction -Midway through surgical series.”

A new therapy developed at the institute is called the “skin gun.” It is actually a spraying device used to spray wounded areas with skin cells over burns on the ears and face. Skin can regrow over the affected burn areas in just a matter of days. The Bioreactor Group is under the direction of Professor Joerg Gerlach, they are the developers of this exciting restorative treatment.

There are three innovative treatment programs headed by the McGowan medical team. Extensive research on biominerlization (scaffolding) and bioceramic nanoparticles in non-viral DNA gene delivery. Professor Charles Sefeir leads the studies focused on the role of extracellular matrix in tissue engineering and biominerliazation.

One of the most critical areas of the centers work is the reconstruction of soldiers’ faces with the most normal looking appearance as possible for the patients. A cross functional team led by Professor J. Peter Rubin coordinate their complimentary expertise to bring about positive results with the advancement medical treatments of the McGowan Institute.

Ethnicity and Scarring

Skin Color and Scarring

Increasingly in pluralistic social cultures in the western societies people’s outward appearance may not be the best indicator of the inherited ethnicity. Ethnicity plays a significant part of how skin heals from injury or after surgery.

According to a national report in treating skin of color (SOC), expert physicians necessarily should consider not only patients’ desires and skin color. Additionally, and of prime importance is also the consideration of the patient’s ethnicity and history of scarring, post-inflammatory response, hyperpigmentation (PIH) and tanning.

Dr. Elliot Battle is CEO and President of Cultural Dermatology and Laser Center, Washington, and clinical instructor of dermatology, Howard University College of Medicine. He emphasizes that skin color and ethnicity are separate factors. He comments that out of 1,000 people with the identical skin color, “We would most likely have 1,000 different combinations of African, Caucasian, Latin, Spanish, Indian and Asian ethnicities,” he continues, adding that along with skin color, “Those combinations of ethnicities determine how one’s skin reacts to lasers and skin products.”

Understanding this it is important that your dermatologist to cultivate the habit of asking about a patient’s ancestral history — the ethnicity of their parents and grandparents. “We see many patients who might appear to be Caucasian, but one of their parents or grandparents might be a person of color,” he says. “The future of skin treatments will add ethnicity to the criteria for choosing parameters.

When concerned about scarring for any type be certain that your chosen physician has a good understanding of ethnicity and how it effects scarring.

Healing the Scars of War Victims

No single group deals with more debilitating scarring then victims of war; both military and civilians. The decade of wars heralding in the 21st Century has left millions of people suffering from life changing injures. Along with the emotional and tragic psychological scars are the physical scars as a reminder. There are organizations globally seeking to help people who unfortunately suffering from the life lone effects of debilitating human conflict. Share this resource with any person who can benefit.

Thanks the MEDSCAR team.

The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary network working to develop advanced treatment options for our severely wounded servicemen and women. They develop advanced treatment for severely wounded servicemen and women. This organization is designed to speed the delivery of regenerative medicine therapies to assist the most injured service members. The five major research programs include Burn Repair, Compartment Syndrome Repair, craniofacial Reconstruction, Limb and Digit Salvage, and Scarless Wound Healing.

Air Force Wounded Warrior
The Air Force Wounded Warrior ensures great care, services, and assistance before and after wounded warriors separate or retire. They have a strong emphasis on ensuring wounded airmen individualized guidance and support to help them transition out of the Air Force and back to civilian life. The Air Force Wounded Warrior, working closely with the Secretary of Defense programs, will keep these men and women on active duty.

Iraq Star, Inc.
Iraq Star is a recently founded non-profit organization. It offers surgery for disfigured veterans. Iraq Star recruits plastic surgeons across the country to provide free cosmetic surgery for soldiers who want to fix their deformities including scars.

Scars To Freedom
Scars to Freedom Foundation, provides FREE scar revision to all Military Veterans. This is our way of thanking them for their sacrifice and service for our Country.

Understanding Scarring and Scar Revision

The role of scar revision is to restore self-esteem and improve the quality of life. The skin is actually the largest organ of the body and vital to not only our physical health but also it’s health and beauty important to our emotional well-being. Scars have a natural process or progression towards a mature scar. This represents the completion of the healing process.

There are individuals who heal with very little scars and others who scar from the slightest of skin injury. Any injury to the the skin, that is a rupture to the integrity of its’ surface or that results in an opening or damage to the dermis, will heal with a scar.

Facial Scars effect self image.
Life changes that effect our hormones can effect the way our skin heals. Childhood to puberty, adulthood and finally to old age can represent significant changes in how our skin heals. Predicting how a person heals cannot be done with medical certainty. It is a persons observation of their own healing history and familial history that provides the best indicators.

However through observation of certain skin types that we understand their tendencies to produce abnormal scarring and formation:

  • Pigmented skin and Celtic skin have a higher risk of Hypertrophic and Keloid scarring
  • the chest and shoulders, eyelids, lips or labia heal with inconspicuous scarring
  • The goal of scar revision surgery is to make the scar to blend or making it inconspicous. Scars that result from injuries, burns or cancer excision can have a major psychological impact. This impact from the scarring can be profound adversely effecting self-esteem, self-confidence and social interaction. If you suffer from such issues a cosmetic surgeon can often help.

    Laser Technology in Scar Revision

    Advent of Laser Technology in Scar Revision

    Who doesn’t have a scar? The natural healing mechanism following injury or surgery most often leaves some level of scar. Many individuals bear no adverse reaction to scarring. Of course the location of a scar and its severity can make all the difference to some people’s self image. While the scar appearance is usually quite acceptable, in many other instances the scar can raise, thicken, or become red. This type of scarring is called ‘hypertrophic scarring.’ Some individuals may even develop an extreme form of scarring called a ‘keloid.’

    Laser Scar Revision

    Laser technology Advances Scar RevisionIn recent years the use of lasers in medicine has enjoyed rapid development in medicine. Doctors and researchers are experimenting with the devices in a wide variety of procedures, like opening blocked coronary arteries and reshaping the cornea of the eye to correct poor vision, dissolving kidney stones and in scar revisioning.

    These advances in medical laser technology allows for easier revisioning treatment of scars. Applied in the right cases laser scar revisioning can have remarkable success and can bemore effective than ever.

    Lasers are used in two primary ways in scar revisioning:

    • to treat the surface color of the scar
    • to go deeper and break up the collagen bunches that cause the scar

    The result renders scars smoother, more evenly colored. The application of these new laser treatments appears limitless as doctors and researchers fine tune the levels of laser frequency for different medical applications. Lasers are effective on scars from accidents, dog bites, cesarean sections, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery and skin grafts have proven quite successful and a large cross section of patients. It is important to note however because scarring is a highly individualized healing process that thorough medical consult is the best option. New laser therapies have ever proven effective on burn scars.

    Laser Scar Revision Results

    Scars cannot be completely removed from any treatment. Scar revision is meant to obscure the scar by making it blend better with your skin in colour and texture.; the more T the scar to blend s naturally with the surrounding skin The better the results. If the scar is uneven in texture, laser scar revision will help smooth out the scar so that the area is flatter. Additional treatments will continue to improve these effects.

    Risk of Scar Revision

    Pre & Post Operative Risk of Scar Revision

    Cosmetic procedures involve the placement of scars in inconspicuous areas heal with minimal scarring. Any time an incision is made, a scar will result. Unfortunately, the thickness and the texture of the scar is only partially related to the skill of the surgeon and the procedure itself. In no case will scar revision surgery eliminate a scar completely. In nearly all cases, it will minimize the scar. In very rare cases, the scar could be made worse. This is a risk that a patient needs to accept. The doctor’s knowledge of your healing history is critical to making the most educated decision for the benefit of the patient.
    In developed countries risk in surgery has greatly been diminished. However, a person considering elective scar revision surgery as with any surgery should discuss risks with their surgeon. Here is a partial list a person can ask their doctor about.

    Scar Revision Surgery Risk

    • Allergies (tape, suture materials,blood products, topicals, injected agents etc…
    • Anesthesia Options & risks
    • Changes in skin sensation post-surgery
    • Excessive Bleeding (hematoma)
    • Delayed or Slower healing
    • Deeper Tissue damage e.g. nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lung
    • Pain tolerance or changes to pain sensitivity
    • Possibility of revisional surgery or staged procedures
    • Post-Surgery Infection
    • Skin contour irregularities
    • Skin discoloration and swelling
    • Temporary or permanent damage possibilities

    Take the time to ask questions!. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress.