Acne is the most common skin disease in the United States, affecting about 50 million people each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. What’s more, while it primarily affects people in their teens and early 20s (the AAD says it affects about 85 percent of people in this age group), you can have acne breakouts well into your 30s and 40s. Active breakouts are bad enough, but at least they eventually clear up. Unfortunately, depending on the type of acne you have, you can wind up developing acne scars, which can end up sticking around for the rest of your life, taking a major toll on your self-confidence.
At Andrew H Krinsky, MD, Gynecology, we offer laser therapy for acne scars, helping soften scars so they’re less noticeable (or, in some cases, not noticeable at all). Laser treatment at our practice uses the IconTM laser, a state-of-the-art system with features especially designed for acne scar treatment. If you have acne scars, the Icon laser can help reduce them to give you a clearer complexion, smoother skin and improved self-esteem.
How acne scars form
Acne scars actually form as part of the body’s natural healing process. Normally, your pores are open, allowing your skin to “breathe.” Pimples form when the hair follicles in your skin become clogged with dead skin and oils. Bacteria found naturally on your skin and inside your follicles become trapped, and they begin to feed on the dead skin cells and oils. The warmth of your skin provides the perfect environment for bacterial growth, and soon, the pore becomes inflamed and filled with pus, forming the pustules and papules that are the hallmarks of acne breakouts.
As the follicle swells, it becomes weak and damaged, eventually breaking and releasing its contents. As inflammation spreads, the surrounding tissues become damaged as well, triggering a series of healing events. The primary healing action in your skin is the production of collagen, strong protein fibers that bind together damaged tissue to restore and repair the area. Collagen is strong, but it’s also more fibrous than your surrounding tissue. The repairs it makes form scar tissue, which feels and looks different from the rest of your skin.
Unfortunately, while collagen can help prevent your skin from becoming more deeply infected, it can still leave a visible scar that can last for the rest of your life. Although collagen development occurs in all types of acne healing, scars are more likely to form when the acne infection is in the deeper layers of skin, where natural healing can take longer to occur.
Icon laser treatment for acne scars
Scar formation isn’t the only role that collagen plays. It also forms a supportive network for our skin overall, helping skin feel and look firmer and more toned. As we get older, our skin produces less collagen, and that means it can start to sag. Not only does that mean we’re more likely to start developing wrinkles, but as the skin loses some of its natural support and firmness, it also means our acne scars tend to become a lot more noticeable. So, even though it may have been years since we’ve had an acne breakout, our scars still provide an all-too-evident reminder of the disease.
The good news is that the Icon laser system is designed to help reduce the appearance of those scars, and it can help improve skin’s overall firmness and tonicity too. The laser works by targeting acne scars with focused laser energy. During an Icon laser treatment, the laser energy gently but effectively heats the deeper layers of your skin, triggering skin renewal and stimulating the development of new collagen to help reduce the appearance of scars and “smooth out” your skin’s surface.
Icon laser treatment is fast — typically takes less than a half-hour — and there’s no downtime after your treatment. You may have some mild redness or tenderness in your skin, but these issues will resolve as natural healing kicks in over the next few days. While one treatment can provide visible benefits, many patients opt for a series of treatment to maximize their results.
If you have acne scars, laser therapy could be just what you need to smooth your complexion and feel more confident about your appearance. To learn more about Icon laser therapy with Dr. Krinsky, contact the practice today.