General Health

How Can I Improve Acne Scars With Minimal Downtime?

Do you have acne scars that you are longing to get rid of? It’s a very common problem that lots of people are dealing with.

While acne may be short-lived, acne scars are often seen on the skin long after the initial breakout has cleared up. While topical treatments for acne scars may make a small visible difference, there are now several other options that can help get them under control.

Those struggling with acne scarring probably want to know how they can reduce it, but with minimal downtime — in this article, we’re going to find out!

What causes acne scars?

Not everyone that has acne develops acne scars, but it’s impossible to predict who will. Acne scars occur as a result of the skin’s healing response to pimples or blackheads. If there is a lot of inflammation, the body may produce too much collagen during the repair process. This causes the skin texture to become rough and uneven, and scars are the result.

New treatments for acne scars are available

Acne scars may be indented or slightly raised and are often resistant to surface procedures. In recent years several new technologies like Fraxel Repair have come along that can treat acne scars with minimal downtime.

Fraxel® acne scar treatment

Fraxel Repair (formally Fraxel re:pair SST treatment) is one of the most popular treatments for acne scars because it treats all types of acne scars including ice pick scars, rolling scars, and boxcar scars.  The technology works by normalizing the collagen in the skin that causes the scars, and stimulating collagen and elastin to create a smoother surface.

Fraxel not only improves acne scars, it also enhances the overall health of the skin by activating cell regeneration. This reduces discoloration, and improves the texture of the skin. It also works to provide patients with a more even skin tone, and can soften deep wrinkles and frown lines.

Fraxel Repair is a fractional CO2 laser, so it is more intensive than non-ablative laser resurfacing treatments.

How Fraxel works

A topical numbing cream is applied to the skin at the start of treatment, and is left for about one hour to take effect. This helps to reduce any discomfort, and makes the treatment very tolerable.

The laser delivers focused energy that penetrates deep into the pore, and creates tiny micro-channels in the skin. This initiates the repair process, as it stimulates the growth of new collagen, and regenerates skin cells. The healthy collagen fills in the pitted scars, and the new skin cells replace the treated skin and improve areas of excess pigmentation.

Fraxel repair only takes about 20 minutes to perform. Doctors usually recommend a course of 2-3 treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Sessions are spaced about 4 weeks apart.

Fraxel Restore is another effective treatment for acne scars, and the downtime is even less, as it only needs 2-3 days for recovery. The Fraxel Restore laser works in a similar manner to the Fraxel Repair, but it is a less aggressive procedure that may require more treatment sessions.

Before & After: Patient with Acne Scarring After Three Fraxel Treatments:

Downtime after Fraxel

There is very little downtime after Fraxel Restore, as it only treats a fraction of the skin, and the top layer is left intact. That said, the skin will look sunburnt and slightly swollen for a few days, and there will also be some peeling.

Regardless, most patients need just two to three days of recovery after Fraxel Restore, so it’s common for patients to schedule their treatment on a Friday in order to give themselves the entire weekend to recover.

Recovery after Fraxel Repair is slightly longer, as it can take five to seven days. Because Fraxel Repair targets the scars without harming the surrounding skin, downtime after treatment is minimal. Depending on how aggressive the treatment is, most patients are able to wear make-up by day 5 or 6, and any lingering redness can then be concealed.

It’s also important to note that patients are advised to avoid excess sun exposure after Fraxel treatments, as the skin is usually very sensitive. As with your normal skincare routine, sunscreen should always be applied when going outdoors!

Who is a good candidate?

Fraxel acne scar treatment is ideal for younger patients with mild to moderate acne scars.

However, it’s always best to consult with a board certified dermatologist to find out if Fraxel is the right treatment for you.

Patients with Acne Scarring near Orange County, CA:

If you’re in the Orange County, CA area, contact Total Dermatology in Irvine, CA for more information about acne scar treatment — call 949.484.8660 today to schedule a consultation with board certified dermatologist Dr. Nissan Pilest.

Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD

Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD

Board Certified Dermatologist at Total Dermatology
Nissan Pilest, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist dedicated to the art of aesthetic dermatology. He has developed a national reputation with his dermatology practice, treating both medical and cosmetic patients, beginning in 1979.
Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD
Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD

Latest posts by Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD (see all)

Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD

Nissan Pilest, MD, FAAD

Nissan Pilest, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist dedicated to the art of aesthetic dermatology. He has developed a national reputation with his dermatology practice, treating both medical and cosmetic patients, beginning in 1979.

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