Scars from acne, surgery, or trauma can cause an individual to feel self-conscious, and are often very bothersome to patients. There are many procedures that can improve the appearance of scars significantly, and the permanence of unwanted scars is decreasing as more and more improvements are being made in laser technology. Dr. Lina Naga and Dr. Terrence Keaney of SkinDC in Washington DC are specialists in laser cosmetic treatments that can reduce or eliminate the appearance of scar tissue.
How are acne scars treated?
Depending on the severity, discoloration, and depth, there are a wide range of treatment options for acne scarring. It is important to first clear the acne that is causing the scars, however, attempts to correct scarring while inflammation is active reduce the effectiveness of treatment. The type of scarring also influences the best techniques. For example, acne scars that are lower than the skin’s surface respond best to resurfacing via chemical peels or laser treatments, collagen induction methods such as microneedling and subcision, and fillers. Raised scars may respond better to injections such as corticosteroids or interferon, lasers, or cryosurgery, before conventional surgery is attempted.
How are surgical or traumatic scars treated?
While the appearance of scars resulting from surgery or an accident may look quite different from the pits and bumps of acne scars, many of the same treatments provide improvement. Chemical peels remove and regenerate the surface layers of skin.
This can sometimes be all that is needed to ameliorate skin color variations and minor skin level irregularities. Microneedling and subcision are treatments that induce collagen by the method of direct, controlled skin injury to stimulate collagen that fills in scars and makes them less noticeable.
Laser treatments work at the deep dermal level, and in most cases, patients can return to daily life immediately after treatment. There are several types of laser techniques, using different wavelengths of light for different kinds of scars. Intense pulsed light and radiofrequency devices may also produce similar results as lasers on some types of scars.
How does laser scar treatment work?
There are several effects created by different laser devices. These reactions depend both on the laser used and the ability of the specific tissue that is being targeted to absorb energy from the laser, and then respond with the desired effect. Laser devices create different effects depending on which component of the skin they target. Changing the wavelength of the laser light determines which tissue is affected. For example, ablative lasers transmit energy to the outermost layer of skin, resulting in skin resurfacing. Collagen stimulating lasers bypass the outer skin layer and target the dermis, warming the collagen, which triggers the regeneration process. Vascular lasers target the redness that is often present in scars. Dr. Naga and Dr. Keaney are specialists in cosmetic laser use, and select the correct techniques, alone or in combination, to treat the many types of scars.