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Laser Treatments For Acne Scars

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Laser Treatments For Acne Scars
August 03
09:01 2016

Scars can be a real problem for women who have already suffered through acne. While it may seem that they will stay with you forever, laser resurfacing can help with minimizing or completely removing these scars, giving you the smooth skin you desire.

According to Dr. Daniel Schachter of Dermatology on Bloor in Toronto, the choice of laser treatment for acne scars depends on many factors, including the colour of a scar.

“When a scar is red, you can remodel it, you can improve it, or in some cases, even make it go away,” Dr. Schachter clarified. “But if you leave it long enough, it’s not going to be red, it will be white. And once it’s white, it’s more of a challenge.”

Deep red acne scars are usually first injected with a steroid to shrink them, after which a pulsed dye laser is used. This laser produces a burst of light to target abnormal blood vessels while taking away the scar’s red or purple colour, modifying and softening the scar, and gradually reducing its size. According to Dr. Schachter, a pulsed dye laser is the safest laser ever developed if used by an experienced specialist.

If left untreated, a red scar gradually turns into a white scar. The change of colour in the damaged area is explained by a decreased number or a complete loss of melanocytes – cells that produce a pigment called melanin. As there is no red pigment left in the scar, a pulsed dye laser, which is designed to target red tissue with vessels, cannot be used, which sometimes makes the treatment more complex and time consuming.

According to Dr. Schachter, fractionated lasers can be a perfect treatment for people suffering with white acne scars. By sending beams of light into deeper layers of the skin, this laser creates multiple little holes in the scar area, leaving surrounding healthy areas unaffected. Each repeated procedure triggers the skin’s natural ability to regenerate, and additional collagen production gradually makes the scar less visible. The number of procedures usually depends on how deep and old scars are, as well as on the laser used.

Laser Treatments For Acne Scars

Laser Treatments For Acne Scars

“With more aggressive lasers, results may be obtained faster than with less aggressive ones, though the downtime period may be longer,” Dr. Schachter noted.

The level of discomfort a patient experiences during a procedure greatly depends on the type of laser used. Often, treated areas need some sort of anesthetic, most of the time a topical cream, sometimes – injections of a local anesthetic, and very rarely – sedation.

According to Dr. Schachter, it’s important to keep the treated area clean, to use a gentle cleanser and to sleep on your back. If a patient is prone to cold sores, antiviral pills may be prescribed. In case a patient is experiencing a major post-procedure discomfort, Tylenol 3 may be suggested.

The most common risks associated with laser treatments are bruising and infection. If not performed by a specialist, this procedure can lead to other scars. Also, if basic safety rules are violated, such as protecting a patient’s eyes with special glasses, vision loss can result.

There are no age restrictions with laser treatments. It is not recommended for someone who has a history of infections and severe allergic reactions. According to Dr. Schachter, both pulsed dye and fractionated lasers can be used with any skin colour, but there are specific settings for different skin types.

Laser Treatments For Acne Scars

Laser Treatments For Acne Scars

Dr. Schachter emphasized that a timely consultation and proper acne treatment can prevent acne scars.

“We ask people not to play with the acne, not to squeeze their pimples and to get on medication,” he noted. “You should really see a dermatologist. The dermatologist is the only one that really understands what’s going on.”

According to Dr. Schachter, local treatments, such as antibiotics, are usually used for mild acne, while Accutane is prescribed for severe breakouts. This medication is a form of vitamin A that reduces oil gland activity in the skin and turns acne off, preventing further scarring. Dr. Schachter noted that only an experienced dermatologist can determine what kind of treatment best suits their patient’s needs.

“You have to have somebody who knows what they are doing, somebody who’s experienced, who has a laser machine that is best suited to the problem,” he concluded. “Then, you will most likely have good results.”

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