Acne clear up but leave behind their sequel – the acne scars. About 95% of acne cases leave behind scars. If left untreated, mild acne skin scarring caused by mild acne clear up over six months’ time.
These scars mar the appearance of the person and cause an adverse effect on the psyche of the person, especially during young age. Many develop an inferiority complex. Depression is a side effect, which can have serious repercussions. Treatment to remove the acne scars, therefore, becomes necessary.
It is the dermatologist (skin specialist) who treats moderate to severe acne scars and he has several safe and effective treatment options to clear those acne scars permanently. Usually, a combination of two treatments is required to get the best results. Your dermatologist chooses the type of treatment depending on the type of acne scar you have and its location on the body.
I have described the treatments below along with the information about their cost.
Treatment options for acne scars
Advances in dermatology now offer effective treatment options to clear the acne marks and give you back your original complexion. They cost but if you are the affordable type, it is worth it. Treating your scars at the dermatologist is the best option and gives the best results fast. Many a times, the dermatologist will use a combination of treatments to get the desired results.
1. Acne scar surgery
For depressed acne scars
Acne scar surgery or punch excision procedure is indicated to treat depressed scars that are few in number and very noticeable. It is a minor surgery and performed at the dermatologist’s office. He will first numb the area using a local anesthetic so that you do not feel the pain.
The dermatologist lifts up the deeply indented scar with a round sharp tool bringing the scar tissue closer to the skin surface. This tends to make it less noticeable. The scar fades away with time. If indicated, the dermatologist may also break up the scar tissue and use skin grafting.
For raised acne scars
Acne scar removal surgery is also indicated in a few raised or hypertrophied acne scars and keloids. Post surgery, the dermatologist follows up with injections of steroids, fluorouracil (5-FU), or interferon. Sometimes you get better results when two injections are used, such as steroids and 5-FU. Most patients receive these injections once a month for a few months.
2. Laser resurfacing treatment for acne scars
Laser resurfacing involves removal of the top-scarred layer of the skin and tightening of the dermis, the lower layer. As the wound heals, new skin tissue forms. This makes the scar less noticeable. You should take proper wound care to keep the wound clean and prevent infection.
This treatment can take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour, depending on the extent of scar tissue. Three to five treatment sessions are necessary. It works for all types of acne scars including depressed and raised scars.
3. Fractional laser therapy
This type of laser therapy works at the dermal layer of the skin (deeper layer) without disturbing the epidermis. It heats up the collagen, stimulating new collagen formation and tightens the dermis. Since there is no wound, the healing period is shorter.
Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing procedure. In this procedure, the dermatologist uses a rotating wire brush or a diamond wheel to remove the upper-scarred layer of the skin. This wound then heals forming a smooth layer with new skin cells. The dermatologist uses this procedure for widespread shallow depressed scars. Deeper scars may require acne surgery followed by resurfacing procedure. Healing usually takes place within 2 to 3 weeks.
4. Skin Tissue fillers
This therapy treats depressed acne scars. The dermatologist injects collagen or the patient’s own fat or another substance under the skin into the scar to plump up the skin over the depressed scars. This makes the acne scar less noticeable. You may be required to repeat this treatment because results are temporary and last between six to eighteen months.
How much do acne scar treatments cost?
I. Microdermabrasion without downtime – approx $125 and with a more aggressive procedure, which requires downtime about $200.
2. Chemical peels are skin-resurfacing procedures where the dermatologist uses chemicals to resurface your skin. Without downtime, the cost will be $95 whereas with downtime it can go up to $400.
3. Laser resurfacing can cost from $2500 to $4000 depending on the extent of the area involved.
4. Acne scar surgery or punch excision procedure costs between $250 to $750 per scar.