Acne and facial scarring

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
When an acne lesion (LEE-zhun) develops, it can injure the skin and cause a scar. Squeezing or picking blemishes increases the risk of scarring. This may range from mild, red spots to deep, 'ice-pick' type scars. The more severe the acne and the longer it's left untreated, the worse the scars are likely to be. However, by treating acne in its early stages, scarring can often be prevented. Minor acne may respond to over-the-counter washes and topical solutions. Those with advanced acne or any blemishes that don't resolve should consult a doctor, as prescription medications and products will likely be required. If acne scarring has already occurred, there are several treatment options. A doctor may suggest steroid medication or strips of silicone to minimize the scar tissue. Laser treatment may also be used to flatten raised scars. For mildly pitted scars, products that increase the skin's collagen production may be helpful, such as vitamin C or vitamin A derivatives. Collagen and other filling materials may also be injected into slightly depressed scars. The most serious scars may be treated with surgical techniques like excision (ehk-SIH-zhun) and punch grafts, in which a round plug of scar tissue is removed and re-grafted with healthy skin. This may be used in conjunction with laser resurfacing to uncover a smoother layer of skin.
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