I’ve been pouring over scar research for days now. It is pretty endless, but I’m making progress. I’ve read through the latest summaries of research as well as a bunch of your comments on the scar treatment ratings pages. I have a couple of initial strong feelings:

1. Prevention is key! Scar treatment is hardcore–bleeding, oozing, bruizing, pain, long recovery time, permanent change in pigmentation at times, and major expense. It is far easier to prevent acne than it is to attend to scars. I happen to not be prone to scarring, but if I were, I would be diligent on the regimen and I would also be serious about creating anti-inflammatory action in my body. I’d be all about fish oil, zinc, eating well, exercising, and if I was healing from a pretty hardcore zit, I’d take an advil or two during recovery to prevent over-inflammation in my body and the scar response (this is only theorized and not proven to work, but I’d try it). I’d also refuse to pick at my skin, knowing that picking can cause as much scarring as the acne itself.

2. Scar revision is more of an art than a science. I’ve researched 19 different procedures so far. These 19 different procedures often need to be combined for best results. If I were looking for a doctor to take care of my scarring, I would look specifically for a plastic surgeon who specializes in acne scarring. Furthermore, I would not just take their word for it. Lots of people seem to “specialize” in whatever you’re paying $4000 for. Rather, I’d feel more comfortable if they themselves had scar revision treatment performed and if this is what got them into plastic surgery to begin with. I’d also make sure they had lots of before and after pictures for me to look at of their own previous clients. To give you an idea of what I mean regarding combination of treatments, if you have some ice pick scars, some narrow and some wide boxcar scars, and several rolling scars here and there, your treatment might consist of one or two punch excisions, one or two punch elevations, a bunch of subcisions, and perhaps some 75% TCA applied directly to a few scars. Then, 6 weeks would pass and you might get CO2 laser revision, followed by Er:YAG, or alternately, 5 medium depth TCA peels, with a little needling should it be required. I think you catch my drift.

I’m angered and motivated from some of the reviews you guys have written about doctors with a laser just sitting you down in the chair with no prep work and just lasering away, taking your $3500 and being done with it, leaving you with less than desirable results. Let’s help educate one another so those of us who need scar revision can be better advocates for themselves and others. I’ll post what I’ve got on the updated scars pages soon.

14 Responses to “Scars–so much to learn”

  • frank

    lets hear something about stem cells, PRP (plasma rich platelets) and extracellular matrix as possible future treatments for acne scars or scars in general. all of these show promise for scarless healing. definitely something to look into.

    also i’ve been reading that derma-rolling is a more cheaper and safer treatment compared to lasers to induce Collagen.

  • Jordy

    I’d like to hear about various laser treatments Fraxel, etc. For non-ice pick scarring. Mostly just faded red marks but still with slight discoloration.

  • Ann S

    I think that for most people spending thouands and thousands of dollars for plastic surgery is not even an option. Day to day facial scrubs and cleansings is beneficial in order to either prevent or minimize the amount of acne breakouts you encounter. Knowing what causes acne in the first place is the key, oils, dirt and even stress are some of the leading problems that cause acne.
    Including a daily routine of facial scrubs and massaging creams into our skin are a wonderful way to relax and unwind. Opening the pores and allowing them to breath can give you that fresh and uplifting feel our skin is looking for.

  • Gene

    Scars are treated with use of vitamin C and the treatment should start as soon as possible. Cream Melt with vitamin C widely used to treat post acne scars in different countries.

  • Marisol

    Extremely helpful and good to know! Will definitely keep in mind as I research post-acne treatments!

  • josh

    Its ashame these dr.s making promises with these treatments and hopes to us and we all find out in the end broke and not much difference. SUE THESES DR.s. Lasers are a joke

  • john

    Thanks Dan for this really helpful post. Thought about laser treatment for my acne scars for a while, but decide against it so far. Just don´t have a really good feeling with it.

  • amy

    is there anything you can use yourself to reduce scarring? Like a cream? I’d rather use something like that instead of paying alot of money.

  • Jeff

    Alll of us have different skin and from that we have different regimens to follow. I truly appreciate the research that’s being done for scarring even though you may or may not have it. The cost to fix scarring hurts people in the end with just minimal results and it pains me to read about how people use themselves as guinea pigs as that’s what I have done to myself. They say that because it’s cosmetic it makes sense that insurance won’t cover it. but the true disease that people suffer isn’t only from what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside as well. And, that’s something that those lawmakers can see or understand.

  • jan

    I DID have laser treatments about 3 – 4 years ago – and my scarring is worse now then before I started. I am actually trying to find someone who has had the same results. I saw a few messages posted but unfortunately – there is no way to get in touch with these people. What is the best way to get to talk to someone who has had the same experience. Oh – the laser treatment was smooth beam.
    I would be willing to share my e-mail address with anyone who has experienced the same after affects as me.

  • Chelsea

    Can someone please tell me if this looks like scarring. I am on accutane and have been on for a month. I have a lot of face make up on in this picture and underneath the make up is red marks. Take a look and tell me what you think and if the accutane will help this type of acne ! :) /Users/chelseasteinkamp/Desktop/acne.jpg

  • K

    This article was so interesting and I can’t wait to see what you post next! I am trying to educate myself in this subject as I suffer from acne scars on my right cheek. I am in Chicago and see a facial plastic surgeon. He does a procedure called CROSS… it uses the strength of a deep peel and the acne scars are selectively targeted. I have had 8 of these and I have seem a little improvement- but not enough to make me not count them everytime I look in the mirror…

    Does anyone in Chicago have a good referral for possible alternative treatment?

  • sats

    I had 7 scars altogeher, some on my cheeks & the side of my nose. I went for erbium laser resurfacing hearing how great it was to freshen up the skin & get rid or smooth out the scars. At least that’s what the doctor said. After surgery I looked like i was in an accident. Beet red, dents, more scars. I was devistated & still am. The doctor just ran out of the office & never ever tried to help. Just wanted more money to do anything for me. I’ve seen so many doctors that didn’t want to touch me. It’s been 5 yrs. & after having laser after laser treatments I’m still suffering.I’ve had IPL for the red, I’ve had smoothbeam, affirm, restore dual, fraxel, injections, peels, bio oil, merderma, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, egg whites & still nothing helped what he did to me. I’ve stopped counting how much I spent besides the emotional toll on me & my family. I lost me. I don’t know why insurance doesn’t pay for things like scars when it takes turns people into hermits They will pay for a doctor to talk to you but that’s it. I am now trying needling on my own. Seems to do as much as the lasers did & a peel here & there. Yes i did this to myself but not for a younger looking me. I did it for damages to my skin from acne. Insurance should pay for skin problems Suppose i fell & hust my skin or had cancer & needed graphs. That they’ll pay for.. So many are home & hiding because of this affliction. If you have dark spots there is help.for that. Try lemon or a good doctor who gives IPL treatments. Light microderm scrubs are good to make your skin feel soft but as far as scars?? I give up. I’m so tired of trying everything on the market & all the down time. I also lost over 30 lbs from anxiety. Pills they’ll put you on. But help, nothing. I just wish there was a doctor somewhere that could help the millions of people with scars from acne. If anyone ever had any progress from any of the lasers or any treatments please let me know. If I ever found a way to help I’d give the recipe out for free. I know how lonely it is being afraid to see a freind stop by or have a family affair coming up. Getting rid of acne is easy compared to scars. My skin is so clean you can eat off it but clean skin doesn’t help with scars.

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