Hello, I am a 22-year-old male. I had moderately bad acne and now have some scars (not too bad), and some enlarged pores still. I have been considering getting the the Peel and Microdermabrasion done but the cost will be about $600 for 12 treatments: 6 peels 6 micro sessions. How long can the treatment realistically last me because that is a lot of money to me and I want to make sure its worth it. Does this treatment work and does the skin go back to having scars, or will it stay looking nice?
How Long Can Microdermabrasion Results Last?
Doctor Answers 7
Microdermabrasion poor choice for acne scars
There are basically three types of scars due to the ravages of acne. They are: ice pick scars, rolling scars, and boxcar scars. Each of these involve the dermis, the icepick scars generally being the deepest.
Note these are all dermal scars which makes them non-amenable to treatment to microdermabrasio. Microdermabrasion, even at its most aggressive, can only affect the very upper dermis.
For ice pick scars, one can use punch excision ( using a punch biopsy) for the smaller ones and punch grafts for the larger, the difference being that in the graft version a small piece of a patient's skin is placed on top of the punch. Trichloracetic acid at 30-40 per cent can also be used in a very simple and inexpensive method.
Boxcar scars can be treated with punch elevation technique in which the scar is torn away from the underlying fat tissue and then elevated and closed. Filler injections are also effective for this type of scar.
Fillers can also be used for the rolling variety of scar. As far as which filler is best this would depend on the choice of the dermatologist or plastic surgeon who is being called upon. My preference is collagen, since I have been using this filler for acne scars for a long time. Others may prefer a hyaluronic acid filler, Sculptra or Radiesse. A technique termed subcision is also employed by those who have expertise in this modality.
Finally, if you scarring is diffuse and severe there are a host of worthy treatments. The gold standard remains ablative laser resurfacing. However, this has a high complication rate. In the past few years, fractionated laser ( Fraxel, Pixel etc.) have been developed which has made the procedure, although somewhat less effective, safer.
Dermabrasion is still used, but less often than it was 20 years ago. Many practitioners are reluctant to use dermabrasion for the same reasons as ablative laser treatment ( plus blood flows freely, enhancing the possibility of picking up HIV or Hep C).
Medium and deep peels in skilled hands leads to excellent cosmetic results.
So you can see, there are many choices. However, microdermabrasion, despite the relatively low cost is not one of them. My advice: if you have a limited number of scars, use the less expensive methods mentioned above ( punch excision, punch grafting etc. If you have extensive scarring, I would save up your money for one of the more expensive procedures.
Microdermabrasion will not improve acne or scarring
Microdermabrasion will NOT significantly improve EITHER your acne or its scarring. If you want a return on your $600 dollars, do NOT spend it on this treatment.
Microdermabrasion involves sanding off the very superficial surface of the skin (the Epidermis). The acne process takes place in the deep dermis and the scars reach all the way down there as well. As such, your skin may feel smoother for a few days but it will NOT materially change your condition for that you may want to try other modalities (such as the Sciton BBL).
Microdermabrasion versus dermabrasion for acne
Microdermabrasion is only supposed to remove the epidermis. However most scarring from acne occurs in the dermis. Therefore technically it will have little if any permanent effect. True dermabrasion is performed into the dermis which can have long term and permanent effects but involves substantially more risks and costs.
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Microdermabrasion and peels results
Microdermabrasion and Superficial Chemical Peels are not treatments for acne scarring.
My personal preference for the treatment of depressed, broad-based acne scarring is Injectable Fillers. Ice-pick scars, and enlarged pores do not respond well to Fillers.
I've attached a link to Acne Scarring photos for your perusal.
I hope this is helpful for you.
Microdermabrasion for acne scars
Please realize that peels and microdermabrasion for acne scars are designed to "improve" your skin but will not eliminate the scars totally. Make sure you understand this if the money you would spend is tight and you are expecting to "get rid" of the scars to be worth the investment. This will not happen.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.