Knock Out Acne Scars with a One-Two Punch

by | May 15, 2001 @ 04:00PM

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Laser Treatment and Microdermabrasion

Schaumburg, IL – A new method to treat acne scars combines the best of laser technology with microdermabrasion. Thanks to skin surgery know-how and high-tech modalities, dermatologic surgeons can now help the millions of people who suffer a painful reminder of adolescence.

The most common souvenir is uneven skin texture, especially visible on the softer areas of the face like the cheeks. This is caused by tough scar tissue that forms both on the surface and in the deeper skin layers. With a series of combination treatments that alternate laser or light-based energy with mechanical resurfacing, patients can see a significant reduction of acne scar shadows, enlarged pores and overall smoother skin tone.

After evaluating the type and severity of the acne scarring, the dermatologic surgeon creates a customized laser and microdermabrasion treatment plan for the patient. The light from a sub-surfacing laser is used to foster the synthesis of new collagen in the deeper part of the skin. This causes the skin to plump out depressions in the skin. Microdermabrasion smoothes the scars by blasting very small aluminum oxide crystals on the top of the skin to eradicate fine lines and ridges. Both of the techniques are non-wounding and require little or no "downtime" for recovery.

"Acne erupts from the deep tissue to the surface of the skin, so the scars it leaves behind can be more complex than those from cuts and scrapes. We tend to think of scars as marks on the skin, but acne scars are three-dimensional – they go through the skin," explains Robert W. Weiss, M.D., professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "A combined laser and particle resurfacing treatment enables us to treat the entire scarred area from top to bottom."

At the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Dr. Weiss presented preliminary clinical data from his study of 20 patients with acne scarring on the cheeks. Four underwent particle-resurfacing therapy, four were given laser treatment with a 1320nm laser, and 12 had a combined therapy using both techniques. After a series of three treatments at one-month intervals, patients with the combined therapy exhibited better scar eradication than either method alone.

Dr. Weiss notes that combined therapy should be repeated periodically to maintain results. Combination therapy is most effective on large, soft areas of the face with rolling scar tissue. More severe damage, like "ice pick" acne scars, can be better treated with other dermatologic surgery techniques.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) was founded in 1970 to promote excellence in the field of dermatologic surgery and to foster the highest standards of patient care.

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