The scars left behind from acne can leave you feeling self-conscious and embarrassed in social situations. Although acne scars can never be completely removed, there are a number of treatments that can reduce their appearance and help you restore your confidence. Here at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, we are pleased to offer a variety of treatments for patients in Austin, Texas and the surrounding areas who are bothered by acne scarring. We understand just how frustrating acne scars can be and are dedicated to helping you enjoy an improved skin tone and texture so you can hold your head high.
Common Types of Acne Scars
There are a number of different acne scars that patients may develop after their active acne has faded. Rolling scars are pitted and become more obvious with age as collagen diminishes and the skin loses its elasticity. Boxcar scars are similar to rolling scars and feature clearly defined edges. Icepick scars are narrow, deep, and look like large pores. Keloid scars are raised and often have a rubbery appearance.
How Acne Scars Are Treated
In the past, the only way to treat acne scars was surgery and/or deep chemical peels, laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. While we still perform these procedures in the correct patients, we are now able to offer acne treatments in Texas with less recovery time and risk through the use of fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing.
There are many different brands of fractionated lasers including Fraxel, Dot, and Total FX. Our system is called the Matrix, which is a fully tunable fractionated CO2 laser. Treatments can be tailored from 35% coverage up to 90%. Multiple passes can be performed to increase the coverage even further.
For more severe acne scars, Dr. Buckingham will often recommend the tried-and-true method of combining chemical peeling with dermabrasion. This combination of techniques allows blending of the acne scarred area with the surrounding skin, recontouring of the acne scarred area, and collagen tightening. This procedure is performed in an outpatient surgery center and takes approximately one hour.
In addition to resurfacing, acne scarring is what is referred to as an atrophic scar. This means that the underlying subcutaneous tissue and the skin itself have lost volume. While the resurfacing will allow the collagen of the skin to rebuild, the underlying subcutaneous loss is still an issue. This can be corrected with the addition of the patient’s own fat utilizing a fat transfer.
Prospective patients are encouraged to call the office to schedule an appointment at their earliest convenience.
Good Candidates for Acne Scar Treatments
Candidates for acne scar removal should be in good physical health, be invested in improving their acne scars, and have realistic expectations for the improvement of acne scarring. They should understand that while acne scars can’t be 100% removed, they can be significantly minimized.
Many patients benefit from fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing using the Matrix system. For acne scarring that is more severe, a combination of chemical peeling and dermabrasion may be more appropriate. A private patient consultation with Dr. Buckingham is the best way for patients to determine which acne scar treatment is right for them.
Recovery From Acne Scar Treatments
Recovery following fractionated CO2 laser therapy with the Matrix system may last anywhere from five to fourteen days depending on the depth and concentration of the treatment. Swelling may be present for one week after treatment, and redness for up to one month. The Matrix system allows for less pain, less downtime and fewer side effects compared to other traditional CO2 lasers.
Chemical peeling combined with dermabrasion involves a recovery period of about ten to fourteen days. During this time, patients may experience some redness and swelling, and a scab or crust may form on the treated area. Some discomfort may occur, but this can be relieved with medication.
What to Expect During an Acne Scarring Consultation
During an acne scarring consultation, patients will meet with Dr. Buckingham at Buckingham Center in Austin so that he can perform a complete facial analysis. Doing so will allow him to determine the best treatment approach for the patient’s individual needs. He will also answer any questions or concerns that the patient may have and share before and after pictures from real patients so that they can get an idea of what type of results to expect.
Dr. Buckingham is a firm believer that successful facial plastic surgery results from the development and maintenance of good rapport between the patient, the surgeon, and his staff during the consultation and throughout future appointments. Therefore, a consultation is mandatory for any patients who are interested in treating their acne scars at our Austin area office.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Acne Scar Treatments
What causes acne scars?
When acne is active, the skin is subject to significant inflammation. One of the side effects of inflammation is that changes occur in the color and texture of the areas affected by acne. This is especially true in areas where there was cystic acne. Rather than being replaced with normal skin, the area where the skin has been damaged is left with scar tissue, which causes a visible difference in the skin.
Can acne scars be prevented?
There are a number of techniques that can help patients reduce their risk of acne scars. Patients who have active acne should avoid picking or popping their blemishes. They should also get into the habit of using a gentle cleanser to wash their face twice a day, invest in special face masks and peels and visit a dermatologist as necessary.
What treatments are available for acne scarring?
Traditional treatments for acne scarring in the past have included surgery, deep chemical peels, laser resurfacing and dermabrasion. While Dr. Buckingham may still combine chemical peeling and dermabrasion for more severe acne scarring, he can often achieve excellent results with less recovery time and fewer risks by using fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing techniques. At Buckingham Center, we utilize the Matrix Fractional CO2 laser.
Which acne scar treatment is the best?
The answer to this question varies from patient to patient. While one patient may benefit most from chemical peeling and dermabrasion, another may get better results from the Matrix Fractional Co2 laser. The general rule of thumb is the deeper the scars are, the deeper the treatment necessary.
Do acne scar treatments completely remove acne scars?
While the complete removal of acne scars is not possible, the appearance of the majority of scars can almost always be drastically improved. Many of our patients find that their scars are nearly invisible after undergoing treatment.
Laura knows her products and has really great technique. The treatment and results were really accurate as Laura had given me a real forecast on the process and explained to me what to expect. I’m so happy with the outcome!
What is Matrix Fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing?
The Matrix Fractionated CO2 laser system is used to resurface the skin to improve acne scars as well as fine to moderate wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and texture irregularities.
Pulsing and pixelating lasers are used to damage the skin beneath the surface, thereby triggering the production of collagen. Compared to other traditional CO2 lasers, the Matrix Fractionated Laser system allows for a much gentler treatment with less pain, less downtime, and fewer side effects.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a procedure which uses a chemical solution to peel away the top layer of damaged skin. Different strengths of chemicals may be used depending on the condition being treated. Dr. Buckingham will combine the chemical peel with dermabrasion for the treatment of more severe acne scarring.
What is dermabrasion?
Dermabrasion is a procedure which uses a high speed rotating brush to remove the top layer of skin. Dr. Buckingham will sometimes combine dermabrasion with a chemical peel to allow for more improvement and better blending with the surrounding skin.
What type of anesthesia is used for acne scar treatments?
The type of anesthesia used for the acne treatment in Texas will depend upon the procedure. In many cases, a topical anesthetic is all that is needed.
Why Choose Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery
Acne scars can remind you of years spent dealing with blemishes and take away from your self-esteem. At Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, we take great pride in helping patients from all walks of life treat their acne scars so that they can enjoy a smoother, more even complexion.
Dr. Buckingham is well-versed in the most advanced acne scar removal techniques and has used them to meet the goals of countless satisfied patients. If you are searching for acne scar treatment in Texas, you can expect individualized attention paired with the latest and greatest treatment options at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery.
Schedule an Acne Scarring Consultation at Buckingham Center for Facial Plastic Surgery
If you are bothered by your acne scars and you dream of smoother skin and greater self-confidence, you owe it to yourself to schedule a consultation at our Austin area office and learn more about acne scar removal. Dr. Buckingham is committed to designing an individualized treatment plan that can help you achieve your desired results. Call us at 512-401-2500 or fill out our convenient online contact form today.