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I'm 25 now, suffered from terrible acne during my teens, and am left with deep, pitted scars that are very noticeable and cannot be concealed by any amount of makeup. My acne was cystic so you probably know how bad the scars are. I'm desperate to get that stage of my life over with and to have normal looking, smooth skin. I'm on a budget but this is something I am willing to spend as much as I can afford on, as long as it definitely works. So that's where you come in! Can you help me??? What treatment do I get done to get rid of my deep acne scars that will hopefully work the first time and perhaps in a few sessions?

Thank you!

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Hiya,

I'm actually just back from a holiday, and I thought I'd check in here to see what's going on here. Yeah, acne scars suck. I totally hear you. Of course you want to get rid of them and you're, like, totally right to be looking into this a bit more deeply rather than spending your dough on stuff that don't work, you know? I think you should see a dermatologist for a proper consultation (can be free). That's 'cause there's actually tons of different options around for acne scar removal, and you'll want to check out which is the best for you. Anyways... yeah, here's some stuff you may like to research in the meantime. 

Collagen fillers under the skin can make deep scars basically invisible not by removing them but by filling them up. Laser resurfacing is another of those real popular options out there at the mo. You could also go for botox, for surgery where the scar is removed, and dermabrasion, which is a really good choice for deep scars. For some folks, yeah, chemical peels like TCA are enough. But if you had the cystic acne than yeah, I don't think so, you know? Anyways, nobody knows your skin like a derm. Not even you, LOL. So go for that consultation!

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I think it's really useful to look at what the American Academy of Dermatology has to say about treatment options for acne scars. 

They say:

  • Treatments dermatologists offer include laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, surgery, fillers, skin needling (dermaroller), for "depressed" acne scars, which I assume you have. For raised scars, also cryosurgery (freezing) and gels. 
  • Such treatments can make scars barely noticeable, but they may not go away altogether. You may need several treatments. 
  • Because different skin is best suited to different procedures, consulting a dermatologist is essential. 

I hope you find a treatment that works well on your skin. Don't be scared, as these are routine and fairly minor procedures.

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All plastic surgeons acknowledge that acne scars are difficult to treat. I would look for an experienced facial plastic surgeon. Profractional Laser Resurfacing is said to be a rather effective method that is safe for almost all skin types and works well for minimizing scars within five to seven treatments. There is "downtime", meaning you need to recover, which takes up to five days. The bonus is that it is cheaper than some other methods, with a high rate of success and less recovery time. CO2 Laser Resurfacing is another option for deeper scars. This costs more, with around nine days downtime and requires two to three treatments. 

Best of luck! Rosie

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Hi,

You have already received some pointers when it comes to more medicalized treatments for acne scars. I thought you may like to try home remedies before resorting to something more expensive and invasive, as you have nothing to lose by attempting this.

* Aloe vera leaves, when you peel off the outer skin of the leaf, can be rubbed straight into your scarred areas. This is calming and non-irritating, improving your complexion even if you do not find it reduces scarring, which for some people it does.

*Coconut oil has recently become popular as a moisturizer. Few people know that it also has healing ingredients for skin that sustained long-term damage, such as sun damage and yes, acne scars. Use extra virgin coconut oil and apply it to your skin in generous quantities every night.

* Honey has great healing properties also. You can apply pure raw honey to your skin as a mask. Hospitals use this for wound dressings as well now, meaning its healing properties are very much recognized today. Manuka honey from New Zealand is the most effective for this purpose.

Now, there is of course no guarantee that these home remedies will get your skin to the stage you want it to be at, but by trying, you have very little to lose other than some time and a bit of money, which will be less than what it would cost to pursue more medicalized treatments.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your skin!
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In some cases, time can do a lot to heal acne scars. Cystic acne is the hardest to deal with, but even with that, the scars can fade after a year or two. The body's natural regeneration mechanism does kick in after a while.

If time alone isn't enough though, you do have several other options. It's always important to discuss them in detail with the medical professional prescribing meds/treating you. Laser resurfacing is meant to help the skin do what it does naturally, which is induce new collagen production, but sooner. As for fillers, they do fade away over time so if the scarring isn't resolved, you'll need repeat treatments every six months or so. Staying out of the sun and/or using a high quality SPF can also help healing and prevent worsening. As for creams, look into Kojic Acid and Vitamin C. But again, it's always best to discuss your options with a doctor rather than trying to treat your scars at home.
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Hi, Isabelle here. Like I said, my main problem with acne was concentrated around my teen years and I'm now 25. The scars are still there, and in places very pitted/with weird, bridge type skin bits and holes underneath. I've been reading up on what I can do about my deep acne scars myself and I read that cystic acne destroys fat tissue as well. That makes sense. I am definitely seeing that on my skin. I don't like the thought of fillers much. I prefer the idea of something that is a permanent solution, so I like laser resurfacing. I am still not sure how much it would cost or how many treatment sessions would be needed though.
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In general, the following treatments can help with acne scars:

- Cortisone creams for fresh, raised scars. This will make the scar fade and less raised.
- Laser treatment for older scars.
- Filler injections for deep scars.

The only way to know what the right way forward is is to book a consultation with a dermatological surgeon. They will be able to assess the type of scarring you have, and based on how it looks and how long you have already had it recommend the right treatment for your situation. If you have had it for years, I would not assume either that it will go away by itself or that home creams can help the situation. In this case, it is time to call in the professionals. Getting it sorted will make you feel so much better about yourself.
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For very deep acne scars like yours, more radical options are required. You are talking about surgical intervention, including excision and skin grafts, dermabrasion, and sometimes laser treatment will work as well. You need to consult a board certified dermatologist or a plastic surgeon to discuss your options, but on the whole your treatment options will mimic those of burn victims. I would look for a provider especially experienced with deep acne scars like your own, or with burn victims.
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I would suggest that you look into carbon dioxide (CO2) laser treatment for your deep acne scars. You need to find a competent and experienced plastic surgeon as well as take the after care procedure, which will last around a week and a half in total, very seriously following all the steps meticulously. Although laser resurfacing can eliminate many acne scars, even very deep ones, there is always the risk of scarring and more damage if the proper procedure is not followed. If you are committed to doing that though, this can be a very good way to get the skin you want.
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