Acne Scarring

Acne is a common condition experienced by up to 85% of people between 11 and 30 years of age and by up to 5% of older adults. In some patients, during the healing process of active acne, the severe inflammatory response results in permanent, disfiguring scars.

Classification of Acne Scars

There are two basic types of acne scars depending on whether there is a net loss or gain of collagen. 80%-90% of people with acne scars have scars associated with a loss of collagen (atrophic scars) compared to a minority who show hypertrophic scars and keloids. It is unclear why some acne patients develop scars while others do not, as the degree of acne does not always correlate with the incidence or severity of scarring.

The atrophic acne scars can be further divided into 3 sub-categories:

Boxcar scars have sharp cliff-drop-like vertical margins and a larger, flatter base and usually appear on the temples and the cheeks. Their appearance is similar to chicken pox scars.
 Rolling Scars are wide and shallow and create a wave-like appearance. They become visible when the tissue beneath the skin gets damaged. Their aspect resembles rolling hillsides.
Ice pick scars are deep and narrow and form pits in the skin. This condition is usually caused by a deep pimple or cyst that has destroyed the follicle.

Hypertrophic/Keloid scars

Unlike the more common atrophic scars, here we see extra tissue where the scar is, in the form of a bump. Hypertrophic scars occupy the site of the original acne lesion, while keloid scars grow beyond the boundary of the original wound. Both are more commonly found on the chest and back, however they can occur on the face as well.

Dr. Banki uses Sublative TM RF to treat acne scars. This laser is the only technology proven to reduce moderate to severe acne scars for all skin types. The SublativeTM RF applicator is designed to deliver radiofrequency energy to the skin in a fractional manner, via an array of multi-electrode pins. The array delivers bipolar Radiofrequency energy to the skin. Microscopic zones of epidermis and dermis are thermally ablated in a grid over the skin surface, where non-ablated zones serve as a reservoir of cells that promote rapid healing.

Typically only 48 hours of mild downtime is required after the procedure. Since the treatment uses radiofrequency instead of light, the chances of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a skin discoloration that can occur in patients with darker skin, are greatly reduced.

Expected side effects are redness and swelling after the procedure that lasts from hours to days, and occasionally even up to a week or beyond (very unusual). Any resurfacing procedure can result in a scar or infection, although this is exceedingly rare. Darkening or lightening of the skin although extremely rare could happen.

On average, most results appear over a period of three to six months (it takes time for collagen to grow), but some patients notice results immediately after treatment.

Content Credit: Syneron Candela

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