One of the unfortunate after effects of severe acne is the development in many cases of pitted scars. These scars remain to disfigure. Over a period of time they become less prominent but they are permanent. Various methods have been devised for removing the scars of acne but none of these methods until recently has been found to be simple enough or sufficiently effective. Among the methods used to remove scars in the past have been actual cutting away of the scars by plastic surgery, shaving away of the scar, the applica- tion of chemical caustics, the use of electric heat, freezing with carbon dioxide snow and abrasion of the scar by means of sandpaper.
A new method for flattening the scars of acne employs the same principal as the sandpaper treatment but is more effective because of the use of a new device. The equipment includes a set of specially designed stainless steel wire brushes which are revolved by an electric motor held in a flexible handle. The wheels revolve at approximately 12,000 revolutions per minute. The tissues are first frozen with ethyl chloride. As this evaporates, a current of air from a blower or fan hastens the evaporation and brings about instant freezing. The eyes and lips are of course protected against this action. The scars are then planed down by the motor driven wire brushes. This procedure is repeated progressively from one area of the skin to another until all of the involved surfaces have been treated.
Experience of the operator indicates how much pressure to apply and how much of the area is to be treated at one time. The amount of blood that oozes from the frozen areas is slight and dries quickly. Oozing may begin again when the tissues thaw. After the abrasion a sterile dry dressing is applied and then the entire face is dressed with either an antibiotic ointment or sterile vaseline. In order to prevent infection an antibiotic drug may be given by mouth. After anywhere from 44 hours to 3 or 4 days the dressings are removed. The skin will be found to be reddened and somewhat swollen. In a few days the difficulty has disappeared and by the second week, the face is washed and dried carefully. Dr. Herbert Rattner says that fastidious girls may lose three weeks from work because of the redness of the face but many of them think that anything is better than the scars they had previously. This type of treatment may be repeated after a few months or in the course of a year, the scars are totally removed.
A doctor observed that oiliness of the skin and blackheads decreased during the removal of superfluous hair with high-frequency electric current. He then treated 39 cases of skin disturbance, in patients whose ages ranged from 12 to 3o years, by electrolysis. Some of the patients had had X-ray or other treatment that failed to cure them. Many of the patients had both acne pimples and blackheads. The electric needle was inserted in the oil gland, and current was applied for 1/20th of a second, long enough to shrink the gland. Results were then observed for from 6 months to 3 years. In most cases the glands had shrunk and the openings closed without any scarring.