Are you embarrassed or self-conscious about your skin because of acne scars?
While some people are lucky enough to have blemishes that fade without leaving a scar, others are left with visual reminders of previous breakouts, which can be emotionally draining.
As if acne wasn't bad enough, a pimple scar can take weeks or months to fade, if at all.
If you believe there is no hope for stubborn scars, think again. The good news is that there are many acne scar treatments available that can remove or fade these scars, making them less visible and allowing you to regain your confidence.
What Causes Acne Scars?
What makes some people get acne scars while others don't?
Scarring can occur due to a number of factors, one of which is genetic. If a blood relative has acne scarring, you might as well. Scarring is also becoming more common as the skin's collagen depletes with age.
Because collagen promotes healing, your skin produces new collagen as it heals itself after a breakout. It can, however, produce too little or too much, resulting in a scar.
Acne is an inflammatory condition, so keep that in mind. Because the extent and duration of skin inflammation have a strong influence on scar formation, delaying acne treatment increases the risk of scarring.
Acne scars are the result of a complex and abnormal inflammatory response that results in poor wound healing.
Scarring is an acne complication, so anyone who has a breakout can have temporary or permanent scars; however, scarring is more common in those who have inflammatory acne, which is characterised by numerous pimples and cysts.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Acne Scars?
Scarring can take the form of keloids or hypertrophic scars, which appear as red, firm, raised papules or bumps in acne. Atrophic scars appear depressed or sunken and can be large, broad scars (boxcar scars and rolling scars) or small pits (ice pick scars).
Because they form where a pimple once existed, acne scars are easily distinguished from other types of scars.
Scars from Acne of Various Kinds
Acne scars are not all the same. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As an illustration:
The most common type of acne scar is this one. They're shallow, wide, and have slanted edges. These scars become more visible as we age.
These are flat, red (or brownish) spots that appear where an acne lesion previously existed. They usually fade away with no permanent imprint.
When acne heals, it leaves a temporary dark spot on the skin, which is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Boxcar Scars and Ice-Pick Scars
Depressed fibrotic scars (also known as boxcar scars) and ice-pick scars are acne scars caused by tissue loss. Ice-pick scars are deeper than boxcar scars and look sunken and pitted in the skin.
Hypertrophic scars and keloids
In some cases, acne scars take the form of enlarged, raised tissue growths. Acne scars are caused by an overabundance of scar tissue. Keloids and hypertrophic scars look similar, but the latter are more raised than the former.
Acne scarring can be avoided by optimising acne treatment with a good skin-care routine, a healthy diet, and an appropriate treatment regimen.
Don't ignore an acne problem, no matter how minor, because reducing skin inflammation can reduce scarring.
Dermatological Procedures for Acne Scar Removal
However, while certain precautions can help prevent new scarring, what options do you have for reducing the visibility of existing scars?
Some of the most common procedures for removing or improving acne scars are as follows:
Using a high-speed brush or other instrument, this effective acne scar removal treatment resurfaces your skin and removes or reduces the depth of scars. It can take up to three weeks for the skin to heal.
For this less-intensive type of dermabrasion, a dermatologist uses a handheld device to remove surface skin. There may be more than one treatment required, but there is no downtime.
During a chemical peel, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. It removes the top layer of your skin, leaving it smoother and more even; however, you may experience redness and peeling for three to seven days after the procedure.
A laser acne scar treatment can assist your dermatologist in removing the outer layer of your skin, contouring acne scar areas, or lightening redness around healed acne lesions. Healing time can range between 3 and 10 days.
Certain types of acne scars can be filled out with collagen, hyaluronic acid, or fat. Because fillers eventually absorb into your skin, depending on the substance used, you'll need to repeat filler injections every few months or so.
This type of skin surgery removes acne scars one at a time by excising, or cutting out, the scar. Stitches or a skin graft can be used to close the incision hole. A skin graft is a procedure that fills in a scarred area with a small piece of normal skin (usually taken from behind the ear). Bruising may occur up to two weeks after the procedure.
This procedure, also known as collagen induction therapy, involves pricking the skin with tiny needles repeatedly to stimulate the growth of new collagen. As a result, scars may be less visible. Microneedling can help with wrinkles, stretch marks, and fine lines. Skin redness can last several days.
Over-the-Counter Acne Scar Removal Treatments
Acne scars can also be reduced with nonprescription or over-the-counter products.
Although dark spots may fade on their own over time, an over-the-counter medicated dark spot remover containing hydroquinone may aid in the fading of these scars.
Furthermore, alpha hydroxy acid-containing acne treatments can stimulate the growth of new skin, reducing the appearance of old scars while also preventing the formation of new acne. Look for alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid in acne treatments.
If over-the-counter products do not fade acne scars, concealer and foundation can help.
Can Home Remedies Aid in the Treatment of Acne Scars?
Because acne scars are caused by changes in the amount and structure of collagen and elastic fibres in the skin, natural remedies like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, coconut oil, and other products are ineffective at reducing scarring once it has formed.
Acne should be treated with over-the-counter creams or facial washes containing active acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If none of these work, you should consult a dermatologist who is board-certified.
The use of a topical retinoid such as tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene on a regular basis has been shown to both prevent and reduce the appearance of acne scars, and these are commonly prescribed by a dermatologist as part of an acne skin-care regimen.
Acne prevention also entails being gentle with your skin and avoiding practises that may irritate it and exasperate inflammation.
Avoid touching or picking at your acne, and avoid using harsh skin-care products like scrubs, loofahs, or washcloths. Use sunscreen every day to reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Published by Dr Niketa Sonavane