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About acne scar treatment

Anyone who suffers from significant acne scarring knows that it can cause feelings of self-consciousness and frustration. Fortunately, there are several wonderful techniques and technologies available today that can help. First, it is helpful to understand what causes acne scars.

Acne scars are the result of damage to your pores from built-up bacteria, oils, and dead skin cells. When the buildup reaches a certain point, your skin becomes unable to clear itself, leading to deep, permanent lesions. There are two main types of acne scars: hypertrophic (keloid scars) and atrophic (depressed scars). Hypertrophic scars appear as raised tissue and are caused by excess collagen produced by your body in its attempt to heal a wound, in this case, your acne.

Atrophic scars are basically the opposite — they appear due to loss of tissue after acne has healed. They can appear in various shapes and sizes, including a V shape, a rectangular shape, or sort of round. At Starkman Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery, we offer many different types of treatment for acne scarring, depending on your specific case. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Starkman today to find out how acne scar treatment can renew the texture and appearance of your skin.

Ideal candidates for acne scar treatment

Virtually anyone with acne scarring can be a candidate for one or more types of scar treatment. Like with most treatments and procedures, the best candidates will be in general good health with good circulation and should be nonsmokers. Acne scar treatments can help provide:

  • Less need or desire for concealer and makeup
  • Smoother, clearer skin texture 
  • Glowing, healthier-looking skin 
  • Boosted self-confidence
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Treatment techniques during acne scar treatment

Depending on the specific type and degree of acne scarring, Dr. Starkman performs many different types of treatments. These treatments can be done as standalone procedures or combined, which can be discussed and determined during your initial consultation in our Scottsdale office.

Surgical punch incision

This technique uses a small punch tool to quickly and precisely excise a scar. It is best for "ice pick" or V-shaped scars and is typically done in conjunction with a chemical peel or laser treatment.

CO2 laser skin resurfacing

This technique can be used for raised scars, as well as for minor "pitting." The CO2 laser is able to safely deconstruct the top layers of skin, which allows newer, unscarred skin to emerge as it heals.

Radiofrequency microneedling

This treatment uses minimally invasive radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen and elastin fibers. The collagen fibers are the background structure of skin and add volume to the skin around acne scars. Elastin fibers then tighten the skin around acne scars, effectively reducing their size and visibility.

Medical-grade chemical peels

This technique works similarly to the laser resurfacing; however, it uses a chemical solution that is applied to your skin and the depth of treatment is significantly more aggressive.

Injectable dermal fillers

This technique involves the use of dermal fillers to improve the look of atrophic, depressed, or pitted acne scarring. The type of injectable Dr. Starkman chooses will depend on your skin and scar type but may include Restylane, Radiesse, Sculptra, or Juvéderm Voluma.

What to expect following acne scar treatment

The recovery time and results of acne scar treatments will be different for each patient, depending on which technique or techniques were used, as well as the degree of scarring.

  • Surgical punch procedures on their own usually have very little downtime, although you will most likely need to wear a dressing over the wound for about a week.
  • C02 laser skin resurfacing has an initial healing period of about two weeks, but complete healing can take up to six weeks. Depending on the severity of your scarring, you may require more than one resurfacing session.
  • Radiofrequency microneedling typically will have 1-2 days of downtime. The skin may appear pink and slightly swollen, similar to if you spent too much time in the sun the day before.
  • Medical-grade chemical peels usually have a downtime of at least a week during which your skin will be peeling, fairly sore, and quite itchy. It is extremely important during this time to not pick at your skin and to follow Dr. Starkman's at-home care instructions very carefully.
  • Injectable dermal fillers generally do not have any downtime at all. If anything, you might have some minor redness, swelling, or itching, but these should subside within just a few hours.
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How much does acne scar treatment cost?

The costs for your scar treatment will vary, depending upon which technique is used, the degree of your scarring, and how many areas you have treated. All of these issues will be talked over during your consultation with Dr. Starkman, and he will be able to create the best plan for your specific case. Starkman Facial Plastic Surgery accepts many types of payments and can also help you find low-interest financing to make your treatment more affordable.

Should I get a chemical peel or laser resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing and chemical peels both address surface imperfections, including acne scarring, by removing surface layers of skin so that healthier, smoother skin can grow back in its place. The biggest difference is that laser resurfacing uses heat and energy while a chemical peel uses a liquid or gel-like solution. A medical-grade chemical peel will typically go more deeply into the skin, which can produce more noticeable results. Dr. Starkman will discuss both options with you at your consultation to help decide which technique is right for you.

Will my face hurt after a chemical peel?

Deep chemical peels, like those performed by Dr. Starkman, generally cause redness, swelling, and intense itching afterward, though not significant pain. Your skin will likely feel like you've been sunburned, and you will need to use specific skin care products during your aftercare.

Is there any downtime associated with dermal injections?

After most types of dermal injectable fillers, you'll be able to go right back to your normal day. You will need to avoid exercise and other strenuous activities for at least one day, however. A cold compress can minimize any slight bruising or swelling you might experience. We also recommend sleeping with your head propped up and avoiding touching your face for a few days to avoid pushing the filler into other areas.

How many acne scar treatments will I need?

Your number of treatments will depend on your degree of scarring and the technique used. If Dr. Starkman performs a surgical punch incision, you will likely only need one. Dermal filler results typically last from 6 – 18 months. Chemical peels and laser resurfacing results are very long-lasting, but you will probably need more than one session to get your best results. Dr. Starkman will discuss how many sessions he estimates you will need during your consultation.

Acne scar treatment at a glance

Average Cost: $800 - $2,000
Recovery Time: 1 – 2 Weeks
Average Procedure Time: 1 – 2 Hours
Post-op Follow-up: 4 Weeks
Procedure Recovery Location: In-Office

Smooth away acne scarring

Dr. Starkman is a highly skilled plastic surgeon with training and experience in all types of scar revision and treatment. One of the most frustrating types of scar is acne scarring; it can be difficult to mask and cause men and women to feel self-conscious or embarrassed. If you suffered severe acne in the past and now have visible acne scarring, Dr. Starkman can provide multiple different solutions to help you achieve a smoother, brighter complexion. Contact Starkman Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery in Scottsdale, AZ to schedule your consultation.

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