microdermabrasion treatment systems

Microdermabrasion & Acne Scars

Microdermabrasion is increasingly being seen as a primary treatment for reducing and eliminating acne scars. The popularity of microdermabrasion as an acne scarring treatment is evident by the fact that in order to have microdermabrasion done, you no longer need to visit a professional dermatologist, but you can get it done at a beauty spa.

Acne is a skin condition that affects millions of people every year, out of which 95% end up with some type of permanent acne scarring on their face or body. Until recently the only options for treating acne scars were costly and invasive surgical procedures, injections and lasers. Microdermabrasion, however, has become for many acne scar sufferers the treatment of first choice because of its ease and comparatively cheaper cost.

This is particularly good news for people that have suffered the emotional distress associated with acne scarring. Whereas only a few years ago they would have been unable to afford the thousands of dollars necessary to remove their scars, microdermabrasion offers an effective, cheaper and non-invasive alternative.

What causes acne scars?

All acne scars are caused by acne, but not necessarily everything on your face that looks like a scar is an acne scar! Scars are caused by a lack of collagen which is the substance that lies under the surface of the skin and keeps it smooth and at the same level. After acne pops and goes away, the surface tissue has no collagen to rest on so it gets depressed into a deeper layer of skin where it heals. The skin surface heals by binding itself onto deeper layers, and once this is done collagen can’t get back into that area, leaving behind an uneven scar, otherwise known as an ice pick scar.

Microdermabrasion, acne scars & PIH

PIH is often confused as an acne scar by people who are still suffering from acne. PIH stands for ‘post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.’ PIH are dots that you see left on your face immediately after the acne spot has burst and gone away. The colour of PIH depends on your skin colour. If you have fair skin the PIH will be a red colour, whereas if you are dark skinned the PIH will be dark brown. Although PIH looks distressing and in some ways is similar to acne scarring, they are not the same thing. The main difference between acne scars and PIH is that the latter goes away by itself with time. The time it takes to go away varies greatly from a week to several months, but it isn’t the same thing as acne scarring and there’s no need to seek treatment for it.

How does microdermabrasion work on acne scars?

Microdermabrasion works by gently removing the top layer of skin from your face. By removing the top layer of skin, your body is naturally encouraged to reproduce a fresh new layer of skin. Every time you perform microdermabrasion your skin heals and becomes slightly smoother and more even on the surface. After several microdermabrasion treatments your skin would have reproduced new skin several times removing those acne scars that were on the top layer of your skin.

Is microdermabrasion an effective treatment for acne scars?

The effectiveness of microdermabrasion in treating acne scars depends on several factors. In truth, there is not one single treatment that works best for all acne scars. Choosing the best acne scar treatment for you depends on your circumstances. Firstly you need to examine your own acne scarring and assess a few things about your scars: microdermabrasion_acne_scars

  • Number
  • Size
  • Location
  • Depth

These four factors determine the severity of your acne scarring and form the basis of your decision about what the best acne scarring treatment is for you. Of course, if you have many large scars spread out all over your face the treatment you need will differ than if you only have a few small acne scars.

If you are considering microdermabrasion for your acne scars then the number, size and location of your acne scarring will definitely affect the number of treatments that you’ll need before seeing great improvements. People with mild acne scars often see improvement as soon as the first treatment, although more extensive acne scars often need more than 10 treatments to subside.

Microdermabrasion & deep acne scars

Microdermabrasion has one serious limitation when it comes to treating acne scars: depth. Because microdermabrasion works by exfoliating the top layer of skin, it’s a relatively superficial treatment and no amount of microdermabrasion will ever get rid of those really deep ice pick scars. If you want to get rid of those, you should consider alternative acne scarring treatments.

However, if you have deep ice pick acne scars, that doesn’t mean microdermabrasion is of no benefit to you. Most people with acne scarring have a variety of different types of scars on their face. For example, you may have four or five ice pick scars on your face accounting for 20% of the total area on your face that has acne scars. The other 80% may be superficial acne scars and can be treated by microdermabrasion. So, while microdermabrasion won’t eliminate all your scars, you’ll probably look and feel a lot better with an 80% reduction in your acne scars.

Microdermabrasion, acne scars & age

When considering acne scars its important to remember that time and age are of the essence. The older you get and the longer you leave your acne scars, the harder it will be to treat. The general principal with microdermabrasion and acne scars is the sooner the better. A delay in treatment of acne scars for more than 3 years makes microdermabrasion treatment more difficult, although it will still work.

As you get older, however, the success of microdermabrasion against acne scars diminishes for another reason. Above the age of 40, your body starts to produce less collagen which is what pads out the surface of your skin and makes it smooth and even. As collagen diminishes your scars sink even deeper and look more pronounced.

How many microdermabrasion treatments are needed for acne scars?

The number of microdermabrasion treatments you’ll need depends on the extent of your acne scars. If you’re considering professional microdermabrasion treatment for your acne scars then at least 4-5 treatments are recommended and for more extensive acne scars as many as 10 treatments may be required.

It’s always important to leave about 7-10 days between treatments or more if possible. This gives your skin time to heal and grow a fresh layer in between treatments. Otherwise, you’ll be removing deeper layers of skin with each treatment which would lead to soreness and skin damage.

Why is microdermabrasion a popular acne scar treatment?

Although microdermabrasion is not the most effective acne scar treatment because of it’s limitations in dealing with ice pick scars, it is nevertheless an increasingly popular alternative to other acne scar treatments. Some of the advantages of microdermabrasion for acne scar treatment include:

  • Painless: Microdermabrasion doesn’t hurt. There is no need for anaesthetic.
  • Safe: There are no risks or side effects.
  • Cost: Compared to other treatments, microdermabrasion is a lot cheaper
  • Healing time: There is no post-treatment down time. You can be back to work as soon as the microdermabrasion application is finished.
  • Convenience: There’s no need to visit a dermatologist. You can get microdermabrasion done at a beauty spa, or even at home

Microdermabrasion acne scar treatment: Side effects

The only side effect associated with microdermabrasion treatment is a mild soreness and slight redness of the skin immediately after receiving microdermabrasion treatment. However, this only lasts for a few hours and the only thing you need to be careful to do is avoid strong and direct sunlight immediately after microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion acne scar treatment: Professional & home kits

Both professional treatment and microdermabrasion home kits have been proven to be effective at diminishing acne scarring. Some home kits claim to produce results comparable to professional treatment, if used regularly over a minimum period of one month.

The effectiveness of home microdermabrasion kits at treating acne scarring depends largely on the extent and depth of your scars. While home kits are great for improving overall complexion and diminishing some scars, they do not penetrate as deeply as professional microdermabrasion treatments which use sophisticated machines.

In fact, even if you opt for professional microdermabrasion treatment, you will probably need to decide on whether you’d prefer to go to a dermatologist or a beauty spa. While they both use similar microdermabrasion machines, those used by doctors are often more powerful and effective at performing microdermabrasion on a deeper level. This is obviously better for treating more extensive deep acne scars.