What is Acne and How do Acne Scars Form?
Acne is a common skin-related concern that affects many people around the world, mostly teenagers and young adults. Acne is caused by the inflammation of the skin’s oily glands (sebaceous glands) which contain a fatty substance called sebum.
Pimples or acne form when dirt, layers of dead skin, or fatty secretions block the skin pores’ oil ducts. This causes inflamed blemishes which make the follicle wall break, resulting in acne scarring.
Treating Acne Scars
Acne scars are shallow indented lesions on the skin’s surface that sometimes heal quickly, however, this varies from person to person. How you treat your acne will also determine the severity of your acne scarring. The best prevention for acne scars is to ack as soon as acne appears. You can do this with the right serums, ointments, or natural remedies. Most importantly, you need to resist the urge to pop, squeeze, or pick at the pimples and scabs. I know – this is easier said than done! 🙂
Types of Acne Scars
Identifying the type of acne scar and its location on the body is the first step in determining the proper treatment for you. These are detailed below.
Hypertrophic acne scars are commonly found on the chest and back area. They have raised scars that protrude from the surface of the skin and are formed when an excess of collagen is created during the healing process.
Atrophic acne scars are depressed scars that most often appear on the face. There are three types of atrophic scars that can be distinguished through their shape and form on the skin:
- Rolling scars are wide depressions that usually have round edges and an irregular, rolling appearance.
- Boxcar scars are also wide but more U-shaped in appearance with sharp edges. They can either be deep or shallow scars; the deeper the scar, the more difficult they are to treat.
- Ice Pick scars are narrow and more V-shaped and deeper than the above scars. They can sometimes resemble chickenpox scars and are the most difficult to treat due to their depth.
Five Best Treatments for Acne Scars
Over the years, there have been many medical advancements in the field of acne scar removal. These range from laser treatments to micro-needling to alternative forms of skin therapy. There has also been more research conducted in the field of natural remedies to alleviate acne scarring if this is the route you are more comfortable with practicing.
Below I explore the types of acne scars and provide five solutions for acne scar treatment that could help ease the discomfort they may be causing you. I know that treating your acne scars is important to you, but it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist before starting any acne star treatment.
Dermabrasion is one of the most common treatments for facial scars as it provides fast results. It is an in-office procedure that can be done by a healthcare professional. They will use a rapidly rotating brush or wheel-shaped device to remove the top layer of your skin’s surface. This technique may remove surface scars completely and also make the deeper acne scars on your face appear less noticeable. However, it is important to note that potential side effects can include scarring and skin discoloration.
Microneedling is one of the newer techniques and is also an in-office procedure. A healthcare professional will use a handheld, needle-studded roller or “pen” that punctures the surface of your scars without going through it as an injection does. This light puncturing of the skin’s surface triggers the body’s response to collagen production as the skin heals. It is a safe and simple procedure that works best for depressed acne scars. Another plus of micro-needling is that it works well with all skin tones with minimal risk of discoloration. The results will be subtle, and it might take repeat sessions for the benefits to become obvious.
Similar to the dermabrasion procedure, laser resurfacing works by removing the top layer of the skin. It works for all acne scars; however, it is more effective on lighter skin tones. Laser resurfacing works by breaking up the scars with laser light, which punches holes in the collagen without having to pierce the skin. This is why laser resurfacing has a faster healing time. The only thing to keep in mind is that the area will have to be covered by a bandage for some time in order to achieve the best possible results.
Soft tissue fillers are used to treat rolling or boxcar acne scars. This treatment is done by a healthcare professional who injects soft tissue fillers into your scar. A filler may contain collagen, some commercial filler, or even your own fat. This is then injected under the surface of the affected skin to help raise your depressed scars by plumping them up. Although the results are temporary, they may last from 6 to 18 months, depending on the severity of the acne scarring. This procedure has a low risk for skin discoloration and therefore works on all skin types.
Blue & Red Light Therapy for Acne
Revive Light Therapy for Acne is a new approach that uses Blue & Red Light to help minimize acne and prevents the build-up of bacteria. LED devices using blue light, or a combination of blue and red light, offer a convenient and effective way to spot and treat acne. When compared to other acne treatments, light therapy at home is usually cheaper, while still effective. Another great benefit is that it is less invasive than other treatments, such as dermabrasion.
Homemade Skin Care
For those of you who are more comfortable with homemade natural remedies, there are numerous skin products on the market that promote solutions for your acne scars. It is important to choose a brand and product that is suitable for both your skin type and your scar type.
Researching the ingredients contained in each product is key and below are the most effective ingredients to look out for before you make your purchase. The important thing to keep in mind is to always use sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun, as this will make a difference by ensuring existing scars do not get darker and more prominent.
Salicylic Acid – Products containing salicylic acid come in many forms. This is the most popular ingredient in home skincare products for acne scar treatments. It works by clearing the pores, reducing swelling and redness, and exfoliating the skin. If you have sensitive skin, spot treatments may be more beneficial for you as salicylic acid can cause irritation and dryness.
Retinoids – Retinoids work best for atrophic or depressed scars. It is an acne treatment with scar-smoothing benefits that works by speeding up cell regeneration which improves the skin’s texture. It also helps reduce skin discoloration and makes scars less visible. Creams and serums are available over the counter but for more severe cases, your dermatologist can prescribe products with higher concentrations of retinol. Using retinoids makes your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, which is why it is essential to use sunscreen daily when using these products.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids – This is the most common ingredient found in acne-treating products. It helps by removing dead skin, prevents clogging of the pores, and works to make acne scars less noticeable. Alpha hydroxy acid is a mild form of acid that exfoliates the top layer of the skin. In turn, this then makes your skin smoother and eliminates discoloration. It works for all types of acne scars and can be found in many products.
Acne scars can affect a person in different ways. Some may feel physical discomfort, while others may feel emotional distress. As frustrating as acne scars are, there are now many treatment options and products available to help reduce the appearance of the scarring.
It is important to consult with a dermatologist, who will recommend the best treatment for your skin and scar type. Whichever method is prescribed to you or that you choose to perform, the main goal is that you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin.
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