Acne Scars

They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, acne scars. almost everyone whose experiences a deep cystic, or nodule breakout knows the angst and anger that comes along with the aftermath these types of breakouts can leave behind.

There are three types of acne scarring: 

Ice-pick Scar

Box Scar

Rolling Scar

The difference between these scars are their shape; icepick shaped like a V, rolling scar having rounded edges like a U, and box scars having more definitive edges, like a box. Despite this fact, they all form the same way: when a breakout is deep enough, inflammation sits very close to the nerve endings (hence why this type of breakout hurts like hell). It causes damage to various layers of healthy tissue (this goes double if you pick at/have an unsuccessful extraction attempt) your body quickly moves to repair the breakout, but with so much damaged tissue, collagen cannot move fast enough to repair every layer, leaving a "dividend" in the skin that is bumpy to the touch.

How can we repair acne scars?

note: If your scars are shallow, there are cheaper, less-abrasive options you can start with before taking more extreme measures. These options are listed from least abrasive to most!

1. Micro-dermabrasion: a tool with crystalized edges is run across the skin to gently pull dead cells from your top layer of skin (its pretty cool, you can actually see your dead skin all around the esthetician table, very satisfying). Christine Chin Spa ($180), Buttercup Skincare ($85), and Pearl Skin Care ($120) all offer this service!

2. Chemical Peels: if your scars also have pigment to them, chemical peels mixed with resurfacing treatments (such as microdermabrasion) will expedite the process of cell turnover, and focus distinctly on discoloration. I would suggest having a chemical peel done at a dermatologists office, they must be carefully administered, too strong a cocktail and you could end up burned! 'REVEPEEL' is one of the strongest medical-grade peels on the market, a quick google search will tell you what doctors offices near you offer this service!

3. Micro-needling: this would by far be my #1 recommendation (mixed with chemical peels) to encourage new cell growth and fully eliminate deep scars. A tool with needles is run across the skin several times focusing on one section at a time, creating micro-injuries to the skin. This kicks in our bodies natural collagen production function, repairing wounds and generating new skin. You can also have micro-needling done with PRP, which is where you have your own blood injected into your micro-injuries which will further expedite the process by giving your skin immediate blood cells to work with (infamous 'vampire facial'); this procedure needs to be done in-office, whereas micro-needling without PRP can be done with a trusted esthetician. Recs: Russak Dermatology ($500/session, $1,000 w/ PRP, 15% off 3 session purchase), Studio Esthetique ($450/session, $750 w/ PRP 15% off 3 session purchase), Pacific Touch Spa ($350).

There are also at-home micro-needling options, 'Banish Scars' makes a user-friendly at home needle 'stamp' that can be used weekly! ($100)

4. Laser Resurfacing: non-ablative lasers penetrate beneath the surface to stimulate collagen production. Again, this should be done in a dermatologists office due to the complexity of the procedure. a numbing cream is applied, and a laser focuses on every inch of individual scars to stimulate new growth. post procedure you can expect to be red, with possible 'oozing' over scars for 3-10 days. Cost varies from $300-$3,000 depending on how many scars, and the severity.

As always, do your research and discuss the best options for your specific skin with a dermatologist or a trusted esthetician!

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