Acne is a skin condition that affects some of us from our teenage years onwards, and appears anywhere on the body that there are sebaceous glands. The most commonly affected areas include the face, chest, back and upper arms.
Acne scarring is also a major concern for many acne sufferers. The primary cause of acne and acne scarring is usually a combination of genetics and hormonal factors, so our acne and acne scar removal treatments take this into account to get the best results.
At ENRICH, we utilise the latest dermatologist treatments for acne scars and acne such as laser and radiofrequency, and combine these with topical creams or oral medication to create individualised programs for treating acne and for acne scar removal. It is important to control ongoing active acne before embarking on any treatment to address acne scarring. Dermatologist treatments for acne scars and acne are many and varied, but we have a few staples in our acne removal treatment arsenal.
What is acne?
Acne is caused when oil and dead skin cells block a hair follicle. Hair follicles naturally produce oil (sebum), which keeps our skin supple and protected. When there is too much oil, this blockage traps bacteria, which causes an infection in the hair follicle (or pore, as it may also be called). Acne is a series of mini infections across an area of the body by clogged hair follicles.
These mini infections (acne) can be difficult to treat, and lead to acne scarring. Treating acne scarring can be sometimes harder than treating the acne itself, though long-time sufferers of acne who ended up with a lot of acne scarring will attest to the sometimes excruciating difficulty of both.
Acne most commonly occurs on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders, since these areas have the hair follicles with the greatest oil production. More oil equals more acne equals more acne scarring for an unfortunate percentage of acne sufferers.
There are whiteheads, blackheads, and acne. A whitehead is an infected, inflamed hair follicle with a membrane (the white bit) across the top that prevents the contents being exposed to air. A blackhead is the same situation, but the membrane is gone and the sebum has been exposed to air, blackening it (oxidisation).
Cysts can develop under the skin, causing what’s known as cystic acne. Bacteria is easily spread across the face, infecting more hair follicles, and causing pain, redness, and possibly acne scarring later.
Acne is not caused by having ‘dirty’ skin or from not cleansing skin enough. Acne’s causes are deeper than that, and sit more with your hormones and oil production than anything else.
Treating acne and acne scarring at our Melbourne clinic
We have a solid handful of really excellent treatments for both active acne and acne scarring. We use lasers, radiofrequency treatments, plus creams and medication where appropriate. We will sit you down and take a thorough history to find out what your skin needs to be healthy and smooth.
Gentle cleansing does help
Washing your face with a special acne cleanser does help acne, because it kills bacteria and soothes the skin. Over-washing, however, is bad news, because you can further inflame your skin, perpetuating the cycle. Cleansing by itself is not the answer.
Dermatological and medicated creams and washes
We have high-quality creams, ointments and washes for you that will not worsen your acne, but can actively work to resolve it, in conjunction with other, more biologically-active acne removal treatments.
For example benzoyl peroxide is great as an antibacterial pimple treatment and can help unblock your hair follicles, while other topical applications can help your skin cells regenerate.
Medicines for acne
Medication for acne and as a pimple treatment is reasonably limited to the oral contraceptive pill for women, and a powerful prescription-only drug used only in severe cases.
RF and laser treatments
Acne and acne scarring treatments include radiofrequency devices and lasers that hit the skin cells at a deeper level, strengthening and supporting the skin. Each machine has a slightly different function, including some lasers that treat acne scarring by ablation. These wave-based therapies also have the added benefit of killing bacteria and improving overall skin tone and texture.
Common at-home acne-treatment mistakes
There are a few mistakes you can make while trying to treat acne at home by yourself. These include over-treating your skin with too many different treatments at once, instead of trying one at a time to see what works.
Acne removal can be a long-term process, so take your time and do it properly – don’t give up too soon. There is a natural inclination to scrub our skin ‘clean’ of this affliction, so we scrub, exfoliate, and generally over-clean our skin, to its detriment, usually without success at acne removal. Over-cleansing is a quick way to get redder and sorer. Your skin isn’t dirty, so over-cleaning won’t work.
Spending proper money on good products is also important. Having cheap products can cause you more damage than its worth by not only not helping your acne, but causing further inflammation. Using the right amount of products also matters, so use the amount you are directed to use – not less, not more.
Picking your pimples is a no-no as an acne treatment, because you put more bacteria into the already-infected pores, plus cause further inflammation. May be tempting, but keep your filthy mitts out of it.
Another common mistake is to stop treatment because it worked! Acne is generally not something you ‘cure’; it’s something you manage, and if you’re lucky, yes, resolve over time. Most acne that responds to treatment has had the problem tweaked not solved, but it means you need to keep going with the treatment.
Acne is a problem with your insides, not your outsides, so get the proper treatment, find the true cause of your acne, and deal with it appropriately. You may have a hormonal imbalance, an underlying condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome, or excess testosterone. Not knowing leaves you stabbing in the dark with treatments.
It really pays to get professional advice and get your acne treated properly before it starts acne scarring, which is harder to treat, especially with active acne.
Acne scar treatments in Melbourne
Our Melbourne-based acne scar specialists treat acne scars in various ways, depending on the depth, type, and characteristics of the acne scarring. Dermatological acne scarring treatments have progressed in some significant ways over the years, with the latest idea of ‘remodelling’ scars becoming a real thing that we can do.
Remodelling a scar is more or less what it sounds like: creating a new shape out of the scar tissue. This means we can change the way the collagen appears, since scars are made out of collagen fibres. We can’t make the scar tissue go away completely, but we can make it look different (better).
Our radiofrequency machines work in big ways with collagen, stimulating new collagen production, while having the capacity to shape the collagen that already exists in scars via the denaturing process (collagen is a protein). The Kleresca program also works on collagen.
Surrounding tissue remains untouched, and overall your skin will be smoother and firmer. Treatments are comfortable and effective, without downtime required like some laser treatments.
Lasers can work by either stimulating the collagen-producing cells and collagen, or in fact working in an ablative fashion. An ablative laser used as an acne scar treatment is useful if the acne scars are able to be ‘worn down’ this way, and removed from the surface of your skin.
Some acne scars will be too deep for ablative laser treatments to work alone, and therefore a combination of medicated creams, medication, lasers, light treatments and lasers may be the best route to clear, smooth skin.
Different types of acne scarring and acne scar treatments at our Melbourne clinic
Some forms of acne more frequently cause acne scarring, for example cystic acne and acne fulminans.
Most common forms of acne that cause scarring:
- Nodulocystic acne
- Acne conglobate
- Acne fulminans
- Infantile acne
Types of acne scars include:
- Rolling scars – broad, sloped-edge depressions in the skin
- Ice-pick scarring – pitted, deep, thin slit-like scars
- Box-car scars – defined-edge depressions
- Atrophic scarring – thin, flat scars
- Keloid (hypertrophic) scars – thick, lumpy scarring
Acne scar treatment options include:
Acne-scar treatments can include creams, applications and devices, with some scars even requiring specialised surgical treatments. We also use a dermal filler which can fill in scars to reduce their appearance.
- Radiofrequency devices (ThermiRF)
- Dermal filler
- Light-based treatments (IPL)
- Specialist creams
Each form of scarring responds better to certain treatments, so we’ll do a thorough investigation to see which scars you have, and how we’ll approach them. An example of this might be the thin, flat scars of the atrophic type which respond really well to dermal fillers, radiofrequency, dermabrasion, skin needling and laser resurfacing. Hypertrophic (keloid) scars respond better to topical steroids, skin needling, removal (cryotherapy), or surgical revision.
Looking for acne and acne scar treatment answers?
Visit our Melbourne clinic for an appointment with one of our acne and acne scar specialists. We have specialist acne scar dermatologist with the knowledge and experience to smooth your skin once and for all.
Contact our acne scar dermatologists for expert guidance on your skin.
*Results may vary from person to person