Acne is the term for the blocked pores, pimples, and deeper lumps that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Not only is acne unattractive, it can also cause permanent scarring and emotional distress. Fortunately, patients can often improve mild acne by washing with warm water and a mild soap twice a day and/or using a topical over-the-counter acne medication. For severe cases, laser treatment is recommended.
Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin. While it is most common in teenagers, acne can affect people of all ages, most often appearing on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.
For many patients, once acne lesions clear up or are removed, they leave behind discolorations and indentations on the skin. In many cases, acne can lead to scarring, especially if it is severe. Scars may form after acne has healed and cleared, and may vary from person to person. Some people may have small flat scars that are not very noticeable and others may suffer from more visible and indented scars on the face or affected area. Acne scarring is most often caused by larger acne lesions, such as cysts or nodules, which can swell and rupture, causing a break in the wall of the individual pore. Infected material from the inflamed lesion can spill out through this break and can affect the nearby healthy tissue, leading to the appearance of a scar.
Although not harmful, most people are bothered by the unattractive appearance of these scars and seek treatment to remove or significantly reduce their appearance.
What are the Types of Acne Scars?
Acne scars can vary in appearance and texture depending on the type and severity of the original acne lesions. Each type of acne scar may require a different type of treatment in order to repair the damaged areas of the skin and produce a smooth, clear appearance.
Atrophic scars develop when there is a loss of tissue. Common types of atrophic scars include ice pick scars and boxcar scars. Ice pick scars are narrow indentations that form deep within the layers of the skin, creating an appearance that the skin has been punctured with an icepick. Boxcar scars are round depressions in the skin similar to chickenpox scars, which may be superficial or deep, depending on the severity of the pimple.
Hypertrophic scars are caused when the body produces too much collagen as acne wounds heal, resulting in excessive amounts of raised tissue on the skin's surface. Also known as a rolling scars, hypertrophic scars create a wave-like appearance in the skin as a result of bands of tissue that develop deep within the skin and pull the epidermis down in certain spots.
Preventing Acne Scars
The most effective way to prevent acne scars from developing is to stop the lesions that lead to scarring from forming. It is also important for patients to avoid picking or popping active lesions, as this can lead to infection and increase the risk of scarring. Picking at scabs should also be avoided to allow natural healing to occur without interruption. Sun exposure can lead to further damage of the skin and may delay healing of scars and lesions, and should be avoided as much as possible to maintain the health of the skin.
Some patients are naturally prone to developing scars from acne and will not be able to prevent these scars from occurring. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to reduce the appearance of acne scars and revitalize the skin.
Extractions may be performed on comedone and other types of open pimples, cysts or lesions on the skin. Comedone pimples, commonly known as blackheads or whiteheads, occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil and produce small bumps on the skin. They most often appear on the forehead, chin and nose, which is where oil glands on the face are located.
Your your physician or staff member will perform extractions using a special metal instrument that presses down firmly on the targeted area of the skin to gently unclog the plug and remove any oil, bacteria or debris from the lesion. For certain types of blemishes, a sterile needle may be used to break the skin before removing any debris or buildup from the area. Extractions may be performed with steaming techniques, which help to open the pores of the skin and can lead to more aesthetically-pleasing results.
Age spots, also called liver spots, are flat brown patches on the skin that have darkened in color ("pigmented") after exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light. They are commonly seen in people over the age of 40 on areas of skin that are frequently exposed to sunlight, such as the hands, shoulders, forearms, face and forehead. Age spots may look unattractive, but they are painless and harmless. However, their dark color can delay the diagnosis of some skin cancers. We offer treatment with lasers, intense pulsed light (IPL), microdermabrasion and also prescription medication.
Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that causes redness and swelling on the face. The scalp, neck, ears, chest, back and/or eyes may also be affected. Symptoms range from red pimples, lines and visible blood vessels to dry or burning skin and a tendency to flush easily. Many people find that the emotional effects of rosacea – such as low self-confidence and avoidance of social situations – are more difficult to handle than the physical ones. Although it can affect anyone, rosacea typically appears in light-skinned, light-haired adults aged 30-50. It is not yet known what causes rosacea and the disease is not curable, although it can be treated with topical and oral medications, laser therapy or laser surgery.
The XTRAC system uses a carefully focused beam of laser light. XTRAC is designed to quickly and effectively clear unsightly psoriatic skin plaques. The light is concentrated on the affected skin relatively sparing the normal appearing unaffected skin. The XTRAC FDA-cleared excimer laser has been proven effective for all levels of psoriasis and is excellent for hard to treat areas such as the scalp, knees or elbows. XTRAC therapy is typically covered by all major insurance companies though some costs may apply. Most patient improve over a course of 10-20 treatments given over a couple months. Side effects can resemble a sunburn and some scabbing or blistering is possible. XTRAC has also been used to treat vitiligo. Make appointment to see your dermatologist for details.
Varicose veins are swollen, dark blue or purple blood vessels that you can see and feel beneath the skin. They often look like twisted cords, and usually appear on the calves, inside of the legs, and ankles. They form when the valves inside a vein weaken and allow some blood to flow backward. The vein weakens under the additional strain and balloons outward, raising the skin surface.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is the standard treatment for varicose veins. A special sclerosing solution is injected into the diseased vein, which then collapses and is gradually absorbed by the body. By the end of the treatment program, the veins are less visible on the skin surface. Sclerotherapy usually also relieves symptoms associated with enlarged veins and prevents further complications.
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are small, thin, blood vessels visible beneath the skin. They appear most commonly on the face and legs and may look like a series of lines, tree branches, or a spider- or web-like shape with a dark center. It is estimated that they affect nearly half of adult women in the U.S.
New technology allows us to treat spider veins without surgery or other procedures that require an extended hospital stay and long recovery. Laser ablation takes only 20 minutes in one to two sessions. The procedure is painless and does not require anesthesia. The laser aims carefully controlled pulses of narrow-wavelength light at the damaged veins. The veins absorb the light and heat up, then collapse and close. They are then gradually re-absorbed by the body. Normal activities can be resumed immediately.
What are the Causes Of And Risk Factors For Spider Veins?
Spider veins develop from a backflow of blood in the veins. This condition, which results from damaged valves in the veins, is called "venous reflux." As blood collects in these veins, their walls distend. This increases the size of the veins, and makes them visible under the surface of the skin. Risk factors for developing spider veins include the following:
- Increasing age
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of exercise
- Sun exposure
Having a family history of spider veins is also a risk factor for developing them.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Spider Veins
Spider veins, which are diagnosed through a physical examination of the patient, an analysis of symptoms and, sometimes, diagnostic ultrasound, can be treated in a number of ways, all of which are minimally invasive.