Once your acne clears up, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief – until you notice all of the scars those pimples have left behind. If your scars are mostly discolored and are not deep pits and crevices, fading them should not be too difficult. One treatment your dermatologist may recommend is microdermabrasion. This non-invasive, very safe treatment won't make you look perfect overnight, but it can significantly fade your scars within a few treatments. Here's a closer look.
What does microdermabrasion entail?
Microdermabrasion involves the use of abrasive materials, like sand, to rub away the outer layer of the skin. Since this is where the scarred skin is mostly found, the newer skin that's revealed has a fresher, less-scarred appearance. Your dermatologist uses a special tool to pass the sand over your skin. Then, the sand and the dead skin cells the tool frees are sucked up in a little vacuum device. This process won't be painful, though you may feel some slight scratching or an itchy sensation.
Though there are at-home microdermabrasion systems, your best bet is to seek professional treatment from a dermatologist, such as Henry E. Wiley, III, M.D. He or she will be able to customize the treatment based on your skin to reduce the chances of side effects like drying and peeling.
What happens after your microdermabrasion treatment?
Your skin may be a little red and sensitive for a few hours, but serious soreness and peeling aren't usually issues as with more intensive treatments like laser therapy and chemical peels. You may want to stay makeup-free for the rest of the day after your microdermabrasion treatment, but the next day, you can apply makeup as normal. Your dermatologist may recommend a moisturizer to use after treatment to keep any dryness to a minimum.
Your skin should appear more even after just one treatment, but for more pronounced results, your dermatologist will likely recommend returning for a few treatments with a couple of weeks between treatments.
If microdermabrasion doesn't work, what are your other choices?
If your acne scars are very dark, microdermabrasion alone may not fade them away completely. Your dermatologist may instead recommend laser treatment. In this therapy, a laser is used to treat the scarred skin. You'll have some scabbing and soreness after the procedure. Chemical peels may also be recommended if your scarring is widespread across your face. A chemical solution is applied; it causes the outer layer of your skin to slough off, revealing less-scarred skin beneath. As with laser treatment, you'll have some pretty pronounced scarring and redness – so it's worth trying microdermabrasion first!