Are acne scars a problem for you? If they are, there are various options available to help reduce acne scarring. Due to the variability of acne scars, there is no single treatment that works for all types. The correct procedure will therefore depend on the type and severity of the scar. Subcision is a very effective method for the most common type of acne scars but just how does subcision for acne scars work?
Acne and acne scars
Acne is a skin disorder caused by the p. acnes bacteria. The bacterium is naturally found on the skin and is usually quite harmless. However, if there is an excess production of sebum by the sebaceous glands, this can mix with the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and become trapped in the hair follicles. When this occurs, the bacteria can then infect the clogged pores, resulting in the formation of pimples. When the pores break, the skin will then begin the repair process and collagen forms scar tissue, but these formations are uneven and discoloured.
Post-acne scars are common and can sometimes disfigure the face, so scar removal is an in-demand procedure. There are different types of acne scars ranging from mild to severe, each with their own specific characteristics. Depressed acne scars are distinguished by the fibrous bands of tissue below, which anchor them to the underlying subcutaneous tissue. Depressed scars can be further subdivided into rolling scars, box car scars, and ice pick scars. Depressed acne scars are also referred to as pitted scars, and are the most common type of acne scars. Rolling scars are broad depressions with sloping edges, while box car scars are wide depressions with steep edges that resemble a saucer. Ice pick scars are deep, narrow scars.
Treating acne scars
Treatment of acne scars may sometimes consist of a combination of procedures. The decision to treat a scar with subcision will depend on the type of scar, and also the location.
What is Subcision?
Subcision is a surgical technique that is used to improve the appearance of depressed acne scars. The procedure is done to break up the scar tissue and the layer of fibrous bands that pull the skin down as well as secure it to the tissue below. When the scar is released, the skin becomes smoother and will also get clearer as time passes.
How subcision works
The area to be treated is first cleansed and a topical numbing gel is applied. A local anesthesia is also used to minimize any discomfort. A hypodermic needle is then inserted underneath the scar. The physician will sweep the needle back and forth repeatedly in order to detach the fibrous bands, and release the scar from the subcutaneous layer below. The process also helps to stimulate collagen in the area of the scar.
At the end of the procedure, pressure and ice are applied to the treatment site to minimize any bleeding. Subcision takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, and is usually well tolerated by patients.
How many treatments will you need?
The number of treatments it will take to correct depressed acne scars varies, as it depends on the severity and location of the scar. Subcision is often used to augment other treatments for acne scars such as dermal filler injection or laser resurfacing.
What to expect
There is generally some swelling, bruising, and redness after the procedure, this typically takes 5-7 days to resolve. During the healing process new collagen is produced below the scar, and this helps to make the skin smoother. Undergoing acne scar treatment is a great way to improve the health and appearance of your skin, and enhance your self-esteem. If you are considering acne scar treatment, make certain to discuss the process with your physician, so that you have realistic expectations about the procedure.