Chronic acne feels like an uphill battle, and it may seem like there is no end in sight. Many people try all kinds of products and medications in the hope that the acne will disappear like magic and will never come back. The bad news is that when it comes to chronic acne, clearing up the issue is a bit more complicated than a topical, over-the-counter product. Many frustrated young people and adults end up turning to Accutane, a powerful acne medication that can clear up the problem, but also carries some significant risks. The good news? It’s not the only option for treating chronic acne—treatments with a qualified plastic surgeon can sometimes be extremely effective as well.
You Have Options
There are several powerful facial treatments that can help with the treatment of active acne. Popular options include:
Blue Light Therapy
This FDA approved treatment is fairly new, but is now considered a gold standard in mild to moderate acne treatment. Blue Light works by killing the bacteria that cause acne. A blue LED is used to destroy the offending bacteria inside the pimples, and can even be used to help control cystic acne, the most stubborn, painful, and embarrassing type of breakout. Blue light therapy can be even more effective when used with treatments like aminolevulunic acid (ALA). Several minimally invasive treatments will be needed, spaced twice a week. The number of treatments needed will depend on the severity of the problem and whether Blue Light was combined with ALA. If used with ALA, there will be some significant facial redness for a few days after treatments, and each session will be spaced farther apart.
A gentle treatment, microdermabrasion uses aluminum oxide crystals to brush away dead and damaged skin. This treatment improves overall condition of the skin, and should be repeated at intervals of 1-2 weeks until desired results are achieved. Microdermabrasion can promote healthier skin and help prevent breakouts.
Which Treatment is Right For You?
There are several different types of acne, and unless you’re an expert on the subject, it can be tough to tell which one you’re dealing with. A dermatologist or board certified plastic surgeon should be able to determine what type of acne you’re struggling with and recommend a treatment plan, which may include facial treatments, medication and/or changes to diet.
Got Acne Scars?
Unfortunately, acne often leaves its mark long after active breakouts are no more. Cystic acne in particular often leaves pitted acne scarring that can be damaging to confidence and self-esteem. Though acne scars can be difficult to treat, there are some ways to help reduce the appearance of acne scarring. Treatments include:
CO2 Laser Treatment
A powerful resurfacing procedure, laser treatments help the skin to peel off old skin and form fresh, healthy skin, with fewer noticeable acne scars. A fairly invasive procedure performed under sedation or general anesthesia, the recovery time for CO2 laser treatments typically lasts a few weeks, with residual redness taking longer to fade.
Dermabrasion is an in-depth technique that essentially “sands” down the skin to make pits from acne scars less noticeable, as they will blend in with the rest of the skin more closely. An abrasive rotary tool is used to perform this procedure, which does result in a fairly intensive recovery process. Patients should expect to spend a few weeks in recovery, and must keep the skin protected from the sun for at least 6 months following the procedure to prevent brown pigment from forming.
While effective acne scar treatment usually involves a fairly invasive procedure, it doesn’t hurt to ask your provider about other procedures that might be able to help improve acne scarring.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Provider
If you’re ready to tackle your acne once and for all, then it’s time to seek out an expert. Our team of board certified plastic surgeons offer extensive expertise in the treatment of acne and acne scarring, and will be happy to help you design a treatment plan that works for you. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with our experts, call Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery at (866-487-3223) for an appointment in Birmingham, or Dearborn, MI.