Considering that so many people these days continue to get acne flare-ups well into their adulthood, and about half of them will develop scarring later, it is no surprise there is a high demand for acne scar removal in Singapore. It can be difficult to get used to the fact that your teen blemishes have chosen to stick with you through life. But you don’t have to put up with that if you don’t want to. Several treatments have proven to restore the supple and smooth look of the skin in just a few sessions. Take a peek to find out how you can get rid of your scarring.
Suitable for: hypertrophic scars
Administered by: aesthetician, dermatologist, medical practitioner, nurse
Home use: available
There is not much mystery around this treatment given the fact that the name is pretty much self-explanatory. In general, chemical peels are chemical solutions or agents which are dabbed on the face to ‘impair’ and weaken the outer layers of the skin. When this happens, the body is forced to go into recovery mode and produce new healthy cells. The process helps to even out the skin and deal with imperfections.
Chemical peels can be mild, medium, and strong/deep depending on the concentration of the solution used and their ability to penetrate the skin.
Lighter agents are available over the counter and used at home. Because of their low intensity, they are not that effective. But even though they are not as strong as their medical-grade counterparts, there is still a risk of getting it wrong. For example, you may apply too much solution or keep it on for longer than required because you want faster results.
This category includes alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), which is why you will see the likes of lactic, salicylic, and glycolic acids for sale in drugstores. Separately, they can target different skin problems like rosacea, fine lines, and discoloration. If you have multiple conditions, it is best to try some healthy mixes which combine multiple acids.
These do not require a lot of downtimes. They work on the skin surface without spreading to the middle layers, so it’s fair to say they have exfoliating properties.
Moderate and stronger chemicals
When it comes down to medium and deep agents, things are a bit different. First of all, you need to go to a dermatologist or aesthetician who is well-versed in this. They have to know the ins and outs of the procedure and the chemicals they use – which agents go together and which ones should never be mixed; how much time they should sit on the skin, what types of scars they are best for, etc.
These peels are capable of slipping in the outermost layer to reach down the middle one. So, they work on several levels. The most common agents are trichloroacetic acid and phenol. Compared to the mild ones, you cannot do these at home. You need to be in a doctor’s office and have your skin prepped and your eyes shielded with goggles. This is an outpatient procedure, though, so no hospital stay is necessary.
Please note that some deep peels might call for sedation.
Laser Treatments for Acne Scar Removal
Suitable for: atrophic scars
Administered by: medical practitioner, dermatologist
Home use: not available
There are different technologies here and each one is suited for a different type of scarring and skin. Most of the devices work for shallow scars. You’ll have to consult with an expert at a clinic like Cambridge Therapeutics to find which type of device is best for your type of scars. The essential thing about lasers is that they go down into the deeper layers and target damaged tissue. They not only destroy part of it but also heat blood vessels to spike up growth in collagen and elastin, an act that helps to give the skin strength and suppleness. In other words, they clear the complexion of spots and imperfections.
How does this help with scars exactly? When new cells emerge as a result of the procedure, they begin to push the depressions caused by the scars up. And this is how you end up with rejuvenated skin.
Now, what about healthy skin – does it get affected, you would ask. Older technologies tend to do some damage to the surrounding, healthy, tissue when treating the dreaded scars. This makes the downtime longer and uncomfortable.
In comparison, newer lasers are more advanced and able to pick up specific areas from the skin, which allows them to leave healthy cells intact. This is a big step in medicine, rendering procedures more precise and efficient and decreasing both damage and recovery time.
The secret is in the duration of a single pulse. Newer models are 1,000 times quicker than older versions. And speed seems to play a role not only in breaking down pigments but also in removing imperfections from the skin.
For example, Q-switched lasers release pulses of a nanosecond-duration which equals one billionth of a second. That’s how short-pulsed they are. In comparison, Pico lasers are even faster, working at one trillionth of a second, which proves to be more sparing to the skin, yet much more effective.
With multiple sessions, the outcome is quite good.
Dermabrasion for Acne Scar Removal
Suitable for: hypertrophic scars
Administered by: medical care provider, dermatologist
Home use: not available
Another effective cosmetic treatment worth mentioning is dermabrasion. It’s used for pox marks and acne scars (raised). It involves ‘sanding’ the targeted region with a handheld device to get rid of dead or damaged skin. Being such a harsh intervention, it has to be delivered by a trained professional in a medical setting, which means it cannot be done at home.
The treated skin turns red and swells up a bit, which can go on for a few days straight. The new skin will be bright pink and quite sensitive in the beginning. Give it some time to settle and it will be all right. You will need some time off work after the session, so make sure to discuss all aspects with your doctor in advance so you are prepared.
It is important to remember that people with fair skin are better candidates for dermabrasion, as those with darker tones may develop unpleasant side effects such as discoloration and scarring.
It should be pointed out there is another therapy bearing a similar name called microdermabrasion. People tend to think that these two terms are interchangeable but in reality, they are not. Microdermabrasion is a much softer and lighter procedure, as you can tell by the word ‘micro’ stuck to the designation. Thus, it’s suitable for all colors and skin types. It treats minor problems in the skin and comes with minimal downtime. However, it does not work for acne scars because it’s not that intensive and deep-reaching.