Researchers writing in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology outline 10 treatments for acne scarring, plus possible future treatments.
For the 80 percent of patients, ages 11-30, 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 varied approaches that evaluate scarring types and their desired outcomes can yield high patient satisfaction.
Ensure that treatment plans include in-depth 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.”
Overall, diagnosing and treating acne vulgaris early can prevent or limit scarring. However, for present scarring, treatments exist and are under evaluation for minimizing their appearance and impact on your patient.
To be effective, therapeutic protocols should consider multiple aspects of scarring. First, consider any erythema, or skin redness, and then determine if generalized or individual scars are present. Then, focus on the atrophic scars.
After evaluating your patient, consider these treatment options:
FUTURE TREATMENTS FOR ACNE SCARRING
Recent studies also indicate there are new therapies to reduce the risk and impact of acne scarring. Diligently employing these protocols to 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 skin 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.
Regardless of treatment, the authors wrote, involve your patients in determining how to treat their scars.
“A patient-centered, multi-step approach that takes into account the type of acne scarring and patient goals will yield the best cosmetic results and highest patient satisfaction,” they wrote.
connolly D, Linh Vu H, Mariwalla K, Saedi N, Acne Scarring - Pathogensis, Evaluation, and Treatment Options, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (2017).