Sometimes it seems like over-the-counter treatments just make acne-prone skin more irritated. If you’re ready to try something different, talk to a dermatologist about painless, effective treatments for active acne and acne scarring.
How Dermatologists Treat Acne and Acne Scars
Topical acne treatments only work on the surface. To address the causes of acne and get rid of acne scars, dermatologists have a whole arsenal of lasers, light therapy, chemical peels, and injections that can finally give you smooth, acne-free skin. Instead of complicated skincare routines every morning and night without seeing results, you can enjoy the long-lasting benefits of a professional-level treatment.
A dermatologist will assess the causes of your acne and choose the treatment that will work best for you. Some options they might use include:
Photodynamic therapy uses an agent like 5-aminolevulinic acid to make treated skin more sensitive to light. After this topical application has had time to work, your provider will use a blue light to target the sensitized skin. This treatment can kill acne-causing bacteria, shrink pores, and put the brakes on oil production.
Blue Light Laser
Using harmless, high-intensity blue light, this painless laser treatment targets pores and the bacteria that live there. This treatment works well even if you have very sensitive skin, and can make a good introduction to the world of dermatological acne treatments.
Chemical peels range from very mild and refreshing to an intensive deep peel. Dermatologists even have gentle peels that work on skin with active acne breakouts. Chemical peels can purify the pores, get rid of bacteria, and remove dull outer layers of skin and pore-clogging debris. Peels can reduce acne scars, too.
Erasing Acne Scars
Constant struggles with acne cause enough frustration, but even once you get the breakouts under control, you’re left with pits and scars to remind you. To see these scars disappear, talk to your dermatologist about treatments like:
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Dermatologists have different types of lasers for skin resurfacing, but almost all of them will work effectively on acne scars. The laser creates tiny areas of micro-damage to the skin, triggering the healing and renewal process. It also signals the production of new collagen, which firms the skin and reduces the appearance of acne scars.
Platelet-rich plasma also works on acne scarring by signaling the skin to make more collagen. The dermatologist extracts a small amount of your blood, then separates the plasma and injects it into the skin. Plasma is full of platelets, which trigger healing and rejuvenation, smoothing out acne scars.
The steroid treatment Kenalog is a cystic acne treatment that a dermatologist injects into an area of active acne cysts. The steroid calms the inflammation and reduces cystic acne within a few days. Used when cystic acne appears, Kenalog can prevent scars from forming.