Acne scars have been ruining our complexions since the beginning of time, and while there have been many treatment options over the years, few did more than slightly minimize a scar’s appearance…until now.
Technology advancements have completely changed the skincare industry, making acne scars a thing of the past. Before laser technology evolved, those seeking acne scar removal were forced to endure painful procedures with long, uncomfortable healing processes. Now with laser skin rejuvenation taking over the skincare industry, you no longer have to put up with your acne scars, or worse, fear what these harsh older techniques will do to your skin.
Here’s a look at how acne scar removal has changed over the years:
1960s: Chemical Peels
Chemical peels became popular for treating acne scars in the ‘60s after dermatologists Florentine Karp and George Miller MacKee tested phenol peels on the skin. After they published their success with these skin trials, phenol-based chemical peels gained popularity. Over time, chemical peels were developed in different degrees of harshness to be used for other skincare concerns. Phenol chemical peels are still used to this day, penetrating the deepest layers of the skin to take care of severe skin conditions including acne scars. As the most aggressive type of chemical peel, they leave the skin raw and side effects are painful. It takes at least a week of downtime to heal and this is known for being an uncomfortable recovery period.
1970s: Collagen Injections
In the ‘70s, the use of collagen from various types of animals was thoroughly tested and began to be used on humans. These injections were used for numerous reasons, including to alleviate the appearance of acne scars. Injecting atrophic acne scars with collagen would help give the skin a smoother, more natural texture. Over time, injections became increasingly popular for other cosmetic procedures, including lip and cheek injections. There are a number of dermal fillers that are FDA approved for alleviating the signs of acne scars, including synthetic brands, giving those who seek this treatment a number of options.
It was in the 1980s that surgeons first started performing excisions to remove acne scars. Almost like a hole-punch, doctors would use a device that removed each acne scar as well as the skin around it. They would then stitch up the skin, letting it heal. If the area needed further attention after complete healing, then a chemical peel would be performed to smooth out the skin’s surface. This technique is similar to punch grafting, which was also popular during this time. The difference between the two is that, rather than stitching up the area where the acne scar was removed, a piece of skin would be taken from somewhere else on the body and grafted onto the area. Often this piece of skin would come from behind the ears, as scars there would be easy to hide.
1990s: Skin Needling
While skin needling or microneedling practices began thousands of years ago, and were often used by the Chinese, they didn’t become popular in Western culture until recently. Similar to acupuncture, skin needling uses small needles to create small wounds in the skin. The body then naturally reacts to these wounds by producing collagen and new skin cells to heal the skin. Most acne scars are caused by improper collagen production during the healing process, so this can help reduce the appearance of the scars. It was first done in the ‘90s by a Canadian cosmetic surgeon named Dr. Andre Camirand, who used a high-speed tattoo gun for the procedure. He published his results in 1997, and the technique has evolved ever since.
2000s: Roller Needling
Similar in concept to skin needling, the roller needling technique requires a tool that allows you to roll a cylinder full of small needles across the skin, creating small puncture wounds. The technique started in Germany and quickly grew popular. It was known for improving collagen production as well as filling the depressions in the skin caused by acne scars.
2018: Laser Acne Scar Removal
These days, getting rid of your acne scars is quick and painless. Fractional lasers are used to target the damaged skin cells around the scars. As you know, atrophic acne scars are caused by minimal or nonexistent collagen production while a blemish heals, creating those frustrating depressions on the skin’s surface. Laser acne scar removalcreates microscopic wounds deep in the layers of your skin, encouraging your body to naturally proceed with the healing process. This process eliminates the damaged skin cells that cause scars, and replaces them with new, healthy cells. The healing process also encourages collagen production, so you won’t have the same problem when these wounds heal as you did when your original blemishes were healing.
Fractional lasers are able to target imperfections in the deepest layers of the skin without damaging the surface. This means your laser treatment will leave little evidence behind that you had anything done, and you won’t have to take time off from your regular busy schedule for the healing process. Depending on how severe your acne scars are, you will likely need several treatments in order to get the results you’re looking for.
At Body Details, all of our True Laser specialists hold medical degrees and are licensed by both our facility and the laser manufacturer. Our teams are experts when it comes to laser resurfacing for acne scars. Check out this video that describes what our True Laser specialists are all about: