What are Ice Pick Scars?
Ice pick scars are deep holes that are small in size that are on the surface of the skin. Commonly these scars are formed due to acne. These acne scars will look like the skin has been punctured with a very sharp object. They are narrow, deep, and depressed and are very common, measuring 2 mm or less in length. They appear vertically and are cylindrical in shape.
Ice pick scars begin as a comedone. Comedones, also referred to as blackheads or whiteheads, are formed when sebum forms on the skin, mixing with skin cells. A soft plug will be formed in the hair follicles, blocking the pore. Inflammation will set in as bacteria is multiplied, and pus is formed. The pus can build up pressure, which will cause the inflammation to go deeper into the skin. This will cause damage to the skin, as the collagen will not form in the skin as needed. The loss of this collagen will allow the acne inflammation to sink deeper into the skin, forming ice pick scars.
The Best Treatments for Ice Pick Scars
Two of the best treatments for ice pick scars include skin needling and fractional laser treatment. These techniques can both be performed in the comfort of a skin specialist’s office. At Advanced Dermatology we provide both these treatments and have many years of experience helping our clients with ice pick scars and other acne related scarring.
Skin needling, also referred to as micro-needling, is a minimally invasive procedure. This technique uses fine needles to create controlled skin injury, which will fill with new collagen. This will lead to rejuvenation of the skin, which will also improve the hydration, tone and texture. Skin needling is considered to be a safe and highly effective treatment, as minor damage is done to the skin. Skin needling is great for all skin types, even thin and sensitive skin. No special instruments are needed for this out patient procedure. The epidermis will remain intact during the procedure, and will not be damaged. Normal activities can be resumed within a matter of days. The procedure is very well tolerated by many, taking only a few minutes to an hour to complete. A numbing cream will be applied to the face or local anaesthetic will be administered. Three to four treatments are typically recommended for moderate acne scars, with at least six weeks between each session.
Fractional Laser Treatment
Fractional laser treatment can also help to treat ice pick scars. This non-invasive treatment is extremely safe and effective, with very focused results. A laser beam is split into thousands of microscopic treatment zones. This beam will target both the dermal and the epidermal layers of the skin. Prior to the treatment, skin will be washed and anesthetic cream will be applied to the skin. This will be allowed to set on the skin for 45 minutes to an hour. The cream will then be removed, and a gliding gel will be applied to the area, which will lubricate the hand held piece that is moved over the skin. Typically, to remove ice pick scars, a treatment will take about half an hour. Pain from the procedure can help to be controlled with a cooling device. For 3 to 5 days after the procedure, the skin will remain pink. Swelling may take place, which will last for 2 or 3 days. Swelling can be relieved by applying ice packs to the skin during the first 24 hours every 10 minutes. Four to five treatments are usually needed, which are spaced one month apart.
It is very important to note that regardless of which of these two treatments is use for ice pick scars, post treatment, a high quality sun screen should be applied for several weeks to protect the skin.