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New Years Resolution: Reduce the Appearance of Atrophic Scarring

Melissa Federico, LE and Beauty Writer

Truth: isolation can be stressful.

Stress manifests itself in all sorts of ways. Right now with continued mask wear, it’s likely on the lower half of your face in the form of breakouts. Sometimes after acne heals it can result in flat red scars that will go away on their own. Then there are the other times when they can leave small depressions in the skin that go deeper than the surface layers, resulting in an uneven texture known as atrophic scarring. When this occurs, it will take will more than your topical skincare routine to treat the problem. Your overall goal will be to remove the top layer of skin and resurface it to achieve a smoother complexion. This can be done through several methods as detailed below, depending on budget, commitment and home care.

Chemical Peels
Estimated cost: $80-150
Downtime: Several hours to several days
Lasts: Results with proper homecare

Popular and accessible, chemical peels are a great option because they can be easily customized with little-to-no downtime. Peels work by applying an acid to the skin, creating a controlled wound that as it heals, stimulates collagen and elastin for a fresher complexion. Shedding and sloughing of the skin can occur as part of the process but generally stops within a week. Unlike some of the treatments below, chemical peels can take several applications and time to yield results but it’s generally a great way to balance and maintain your complexion as well as other skin and aging issues.

Estimated cost: $250-1000
Downtime: 3 – 10 days
Lasts: 2 – 6 months

Collagen Induction Therapy, CIT, is a growing and proven way to plump the skin by increasing collagen and elastin. This will smooth the surface of the skin and reduce the appearance of pitting and scarring. Depending on the desires results it can take multiple sessions to decrease deep scaring but by creating these micro-junctures within the skin you can also get better professional treatment results.

Smooth PDO Threadlifts
Estimated cost $500-2500
Downtime: 7 – 12 days
Lasts: 1 to 3 years

A trendy treatment to break up scar tissue and stimulate collagen to reduce scarring is with a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure called Smooth PDO Threadlifts. This treatment involved smooth absorbable surgical polydioxanone sutures that are placed under the skin to target problem areas. It does take some time to see full results as the threads work on breaking down the scar tissue and promoting collagen to fill out the surface area and reduce the appearance of scarring. But there is still instant gratification when it comes to lifting indentations in the skin, an ideal treatment for large and deeply scarred surface areas.

Dermal Fillers
Estimated cost $500-800
Downtime: 5 – 14 days
Lasts: 3 months – 2 years

Within the last decade, dermal fillers have been safe and approved for use in multiple areas of the face to plump and also shallow contours and wrinkles. Fillers can range in price and can be made from synthetic materials, minerals, hyaluronic acid and even permanent beads. There are four main types of dermal fillers: Hyaluronic acid, Calcium hydroxylapatite, Poly-L-lactic acid and Polymethylmethacrylate. The results and longevity will depend on the product and the placement, but dermal fillers can be customized to spot treat a small problem area or specific scars. While this is not a permanent option, hyaluronic acid fillers, over time, have been known to stimulate natural collagen production in the areas where it was placed.

Estimated $500-1600 per treatment
Downtime: 3-5 days
Lasts: Years with proper homecare

Fractionated Lasers and Intense Pulse Light, IPL, are both terrific resurfacing options for scar revision. There are different lasers and wavelengths depending on concerns, but lasers are definitely one of the most effective ways of reducing the concave texture from atrophic scarring. However, this treatment does give better results when used in conjunction with other modalities like micro-needling and topical treatments.

From cosmetic procedures to collagen induction therapy and laser resurfacing, it really depends on your budget and the associated downtime you are willing to endure. However, if acne scarring is affecting your self-esteem it’s worth exploring and investing in treatments that will help you feel better about the texture of your skin.