For the 80% of patients treated for acne vulgaris, scarring can be problematic. Atrophic scars are most common, but treatment options are available.
According to research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, including patients in approaches that evaluate scarring types and their desired outcomes can yield high patient satisfaction.
Ensure that treatment plans include in-dept conversations about patients’ treatment goals, their concerns and thoughts about protocols, the authors wrote. It’s also critical they understand any possible therapy limitations.
“Expectation management is important in approaching the discussion of treatment options,” they wrote. “Complete resolution of acne scarring is the exception rather than the rule. Patients should be well informed about the potential risks, including post-procedure erythema, infection, poor wound healing, hyperpigmentation, and paradoxically, scarring.”
Recent studies indicate there are new therapies to reduce the risk and impact of acne scarring. Diligently employing these protocols will produce the best effects.
“Therapy should be maintained until resolution of persistent inflammation and control of new lesion emergence,” the authors wrote. “Determining at-risk patients will be enhanced with a better understanding of risk factors for severe acne and acne scar formation.”
For example, data shows autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP) accelerates wound healing, the authors wrote. It improves tissue repair by releasing growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines.
It works well when paired with microneedling due to the pathway for wounds to absorb PRP. When used as an intradermal injection and a topical application after fractional ablative CO2 therapy, laser-damaged kin recovers better and acne scars are less obvious.
Additionally, human-derived cells show promise in affecting acne scars. Multipotential mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from umbilical cord blood and from adipose cells can promote wound healing and are currently being evaluated for safety.
Connolly D, Linh Vu H, Mariwalla K, Saedi N, et al. "Acne Scarring — Pathogensis, Evaluation, and Treatment Options," The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (2017).