Question: My son is turning 21 next month and has had an awful time with severe acne that has left him with a scarred face. As a birthday present/college graduation present, I want to help him rejuvenate his face and start his career with some confidence. What is the best approach to cleaning up skin that has been riddled with acne?
Answer: Well, the first part of any approach to treating a face that has been riddled with acne is to assure that the active acne is under control. If he no longer has any active acne and we are now dealing with acne scarring, I would still highly recommend that he stay on a good medical-grade skin care line to minimize his chances of a recurrence of his acne, and I would then discuss various treatment options for the visibility of his acne scarring, depending on his evaluation. I have found that many patients, especially younger patients, have a significant amount of redness to the acne scarring, and that draws the eye even more than the depressions that the acne has caused. To treat this redness, we typically recommend intense pulsed light or broadband light, which works exceptionally well at getting rid of the visibility of the redness in the scars. Many times, this is all we need to perform, as the remaining depressions are relatively mild and really do not catch the shadows very well or draw the eye. For patients with depressions that do draw the eye or create shadows, I would then recommend a series of treatments with the ProFractional laser by Sciton, which is an Erbium laser that lasers small tunnels in the skin. These tunnels then cause the healing response to deposit a significant amount of collagen in the deeper dermis and this in turn then tend to flatten out depressions, whether they be acne scarring, surgical scarring, or chickenpox scarring. We have had very high success rates with extremely significant changes to the appearance of the acne scarring for the better. In my practice, this has replaced dermabrasion and deep full laser resurfacing as my treatment of choice for acne scarring as, in my personal opinion, it seems to provide a better outcome for my patients. Ultimately, an evaluation at Quintessa Medical Spa would be recommended so that a customized treatment plan can be created for his specific needs.