Acne Scars – When is the best time to treat them?
Conventional thinking might suggest you “wait” to see if your acne scars improve over time. But in reality, waiting means your scars will worsen over the years.
- Natural aging means collagen loss
- Elasticity lessens
- Natural aging means facial fat loss
- * As you age your skin’s ability to regenerate collagen decreases
We starred #4 for an important reason. Today’s fractional laser and radio frequency treatments are successful because they create a collagen production response. This action is what smooths scars.
The younger you are when you treat scars, the more successful the outcomes will be and the more quickly you’ll get results.
The cost of waiting
It’s tempting to “wait” because young people don’t want to experience any downtime or have people ask what they’re doing to their skin. Plus, treating acne scars can feel expensive for young budgets. Unfortunately insurance doesn’t cover acne scar treatment – though we firmly think it should! Scars are as psychologically damaging as other major traumas. (Perhaps if there is a major demand from patients, insurance companies will start listening.)
But this is one case where waiting is costly in a real sense. Scars that are left alone become far more costly to treat later since the number of treatments required increase. Older skin needs much more stimulation to produce enough new collagen to smooth out scars. See dermatology colleague Dr. Day’s Allure article about early acne scar treatment.
Accumulated sun damage hampers the process even more since sun damage equals compromised DNA and increased susceptibility to over production of melanin. If you HAVE to wait because of budget constraints, at least find out what you can do in the meantime that puts the situation on a more positive trajectory.
Are my scars bad enough to treat?
Short answer: If your scars bother you at all, they are bad enough to treat.
Scars don’t “un-scar” by themselves.
How do I know what treatment’s right for my acne scarring?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to smoothing acne scars. The right treatment for you will depend on several factors:
- The type and severity of your scars dictate potential outcomes. Very shallow scars may end up being virtually undetectable. Deeper scars can be improved and with the new acne scar filler, the potential end result can be very satisfying.
- Your ethnicity matters because pigment levels matter.
- Scandinavian skins are a perfect match for Fraxel’s erbium laser or even Fraxel RePair, which is CO2.
- Consider superficial CO2 with Fraxel 600
- Skins with more resident pigment-producing cells (even if you aren’t “dark”) do better with non-laser like eMatrix or Micro Needling.
- The ability or acceptability to have some downtime can determine treatment levels.
- Any budget constraints you may be under can also affect choice. There are special credit options if you need to access them.
- In any instance, regardless of age, you should find out what your options are.