Types of Acne Scarring
Acne scarring occurs in 95 percent of people who have experienced acne. Scarring can be categorized by the type of depression it leaves in the skin's surface. Rolling atrophic scars are the most common types of acne scars and appear as raised areas and valleys that disappear when the skin is stretched. They form when collagen and subcutaneous fat below the skin's surface are broken down due to inflammation associated with an outbreak of acne.
Two other categories of acne scarring are boxcar scars and ice pick scars. Boxcar scars have defined edges that do not disappear when stretched. Ice pick scars are narrow depressions that extend deep into the skin's surface. Boxcar scars are often treated with laser resurfacing while ice pick scars respond well to chemical peels.
Treatment Option: Dermal Fillers
Rolling atrophic scars are often treated with dermal fillers. Dermal fillers offer a non-surgical method for treating scarring that can be used alone or in conjunction with another form of treatment, such as laser resurfacing. Fillers are administered by injecting the product into depressions to raise the base of the scar. As the depressed area of the scar is elevated, it gives the skin's surface a smoother, more even appearance.
Some fillers require multiple treatments to achieve the desired results and may dissipate after a few months. Long-term dermal fillers have been developed that can improve the skin's surface for up to a year before another treatment is needed. Treatment may cause swelling, which can be minimized with a cold pack. However, further injections may need to be postponed until swelling abates.
Before Treatment Begins
Fillers can't be used on skin that currently has an acne outbreak or on skin that shows any type of inflammation such as sunburn, rash, or cold sores. Some fillers, such as Bellafill, require pre-treatment testing to determine that the patient is not sensitive to bovine collagen or the acrylic compound used in the filler. The FDA requires that testing and observation occur 28 days prior to treatment, according to The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
Acne scarring treatment using dermal fillers doesn't interfere with daily activities and doesn't require any downtime. Swelling and redness are likely to occur but will lessen within a few days. Bruising can occur at or near the injection site. The treated skin may also feel itchy temporarily or appear lumpy. Symptoms should be resolved in a week.
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