Surgical Options

Often, when every avenue of medicinal treatment is exhausted, it becomes time for sufferers of persistent acne or more severe acne to seek alternative treatment methods. A dermatologist can help discuss the different treatments currently available including treating acne with laser therapy or acne surgery.

If you are considering the possibility of treating acne with laser therapy or surgery, you must take care to fully evaluate each of the processes, including the number of required treatments, the consequent costs, and the potential side effects of the treatment. It's also important that you select a process that is designed to deal with reducing the presence of acne - and not acne scarring.

? Acne Surgery

Acne surgery involves making an incision into the affected area and draining the clogged matter. The process for blackheads and whiteheads doesn't actually involve surgery, but is often performed by a nurse, esthetician or dermatologist. A small, pointed blade is used to first open the comedone and then gently work the material out using a comedone extractor.

Severe cysts can be drained and removed by a procedure known as excisional surgery. The procedure should be performed in a sterile environment to reduce the risk of spreading bacterial infection and should only be performed by trained professional. If the cysts are not carefully extracted, they can develop serious infection and create scarring.

? Forms of Physical Treatment


This form or treatments involves removing the top layer of skin either chemically or with some sort of abrasive. Chemical peels are usually done with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These work by destroying a microscopic layer of skin cells to unclog pores and remove the build-up of dead cells. The same effect can be achieved by using an abrasive cloth or liquid scrub.

Comedo Extraction

In this procedure, an anesthetic cream is applied to the immediate area of breakout. Then the comedones (blackheads and white heads) are extracted using a pen-like instrument which opens the top to allow the removal of dead skin cells and sebum from the follicle. The procedure is usually followed by an application of antibiotic cream.


With many forms of severe acne, cysts can form under the skin and become very painful--even disfiguring. Often, the smaller cysts can be treated with cortisone injections which will flatten the lesion in a few days. But for larger cysts the only alternative available might be to have them drained and then surgically removed. Drainage can help relieve the pain associated with cysts and also reduce the chance of scarring. It is important not to try to drain cysts by yourself because of the risk of infection, which could lead to permanent scarring.

? Using A Laser to Treat Acne

Laser treatments involve the use of varying wavelengths that are aimed directly at the affected area of the skin. These wavelengths pulsate against the skin and destroy overly-large sebaceous glands and acne lesions. Laser treatments remove the damaged outer layers of skin so that new cell growth can be initiated. The laser technician varies the intensity of the laser as necessary to effectively treat the area.

Despite all of the benefits, there is still considerable debate surrounding the effectiveness of laser therapy. Yes, it has been shown to be effective in improving the skin's appearance, but as with most of the other available acne treatments, there are some side effects. For example, patients can experience red, burned skin after treatment that can last for weeks. Individuals with dark-colored skin can end up with skin discoloration after laser treatments. Finally, the skinís appearance can be uneven if the laser is applied inconsistently.


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