Acne scars occur in people having acne vulgaris which itself is a very common problem. The National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine conducted a study concluding that almost around 650 million people across the world are affected by acne. Approximately, 90 percent of people having acne vulgaris tend to scar.
Milder forms of acne vulgaris may just leave temporary red and brown marks that heal without scarring over time as mentioned earlier many tend to scar permanently. Scar formation is a natural response to injury during wound healing and severely inflamed lesions may leave permanent scars. The most common reason for developing an acne scar is popping the pimple. These scars can be aesthetically unpleasant to some people and may cause a profound psychological impact on them.
Fortunately, these unappealing, unpleasant scars occurring from acne can be treated. There are various clinical treatment methods as well as some home remedies and precautions to cure/prevent scarring. Some of the best solutions are listed in the blog.
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Prevention is always better than cure: How to prevent acne and acne scars
Takeaway Know all of this from Dr.B.K.Garg
Acne occurs due to multiple factors such as increased sebum production, altered sebum quality, androgen activity, the proliferation of P. acne bacteria and hyperkeratinization.
These factors, via various pathways, stimulate the wound healing process. Wound healing is a complex process and involves immunoinflammatory cells. Wound healing occurs in 3 stages:
It is very important to know the exact type of acne scars to know the possible causes and further select the appropriate treatment method to get the best outcome. Different types of scars have different causes. The scars formed after cuts and bruises are different from scars formed from healed acne.
There are various types of acne scars that have been noted in patients:
Ice Pick Scar: These are deep and narrow (<2mm) scars with sharply demarcated epithelial tracts that extend into the lower layer of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. These are 'V' shaped scars that look like small round or oval holes. These types of scars are very difficult to treat as they are very deep.
Boxcar Scar: These are round and oval depressed scars with well defined vertical edges. The depths of the scars are shallow to medium and are most commonly located on the temples and cheeks. These are 'U' shaped scars. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatment.
Rolling atrophic scar: These occur from dermal tethering of normal skin which is usually wider (>4-5mm). These scars appear as undulations and depressions due to abnormal fibrous anchoring of scar areas to the deeper structures. These have rounded edges and irregular, rolling appearance.
In-Office Procedures: It is always advisable to consult a dermatologist before starting any kind of treatment so that they can determine the best-suited treatment methods. They will examine the scars and if required might also send scar tissue for pathological analysis. After confirming the scar type and possible cause, the treatment regime is selected accordingly. Here are some clinical methods that are used in treating acne scars.
Collagen induction therapy: It is a clinical procedure where the dermatologist punctures the top layer of the skin with sterile micro-fine needles. It is also known as micro-needling. It boosts collagen formation in the skin. This treatment takes up to 9 months to show effect. It is suitable for depressed scars for all types of skin tones. It is also used for treating wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, sagging skin, surgical scars, sun damage.
Autologous fat grafting: In this technique, liposuction is used to extract fat from areas where it is abundantly available which is then processed to remove debris and then it is injected under the scars. It softens and flattens the scar and relieves pain by nerve repair. This treatment is performed in a series of injections, one every few weeks. This is most suitable for the raised scars.
Chemical peels: This is a process in which chemical agents are applied on the scars that result in controlled destruction of the superficial skin in the scar area. This exfoliation promotes the regeneration skin which results in the improved superficial texture of the skin. Some chemical peels can be mild that can be used at home but your dermatologist can provide a strong solution that makes a noticeable difference. There is a lot of variety of chemical peels available in the market so it is better to consult your dermatologist who can prescribe you with the most suitable one for your skin. They can be used for all types of acne scars but its most suitable for deeper scars.
Lasers: In this method, the outer layer of the skin is penetrated to stimulate regeneration of the skin. It works in a similar principle as the chemical peel, as it removes old, damaged skin and promotes new skin growth but this treatment has a lesser healing time than any other resurfacing treatment. However, the area is required to be covered until it is completely healed. This treatment is not an option for the ones who are still getting breakouts and this treatment is less effective on the dark skin tones. This treatment is suitable for all types of acne scars but only with light skin tone. Other than acne scars, it also helps in reducing surgical scars, injury scars and burn scars.
At-Home Care: While there are a lot of clinical methods available to treat acne scars, there are a few options to try at home if required. Though these are readily available in the market, you should always consult a doctor before using anything on your skin. A dermatologist will help you determine the right combination for your type of acne and acne scars. Here are some products that can be used, solo or in combination for the treatment of acne and acne scars,
Alpha hydroxy acids: Its primary function is to exfoliate the skin. It helps brighten the skin, promote collagen production, reduce surface lines and wrinkles, promote blood flow of skin and correct discoloration. Temporary side effects include itching, burning, and blisters. This treatment can be used for all types of scars.
Retinoids: Commonly known as vitamin A, it unclogs the skin pores and helps fade the scars. It also helps in reducing acne by preventing the clogging of pores by dead cells. It speeds up the cell regeneration process which improves your skin texture. This treatment is best for Atrophic and depressed scars. It is also used in anti-aging treatments and leaves the skin looking brighter and smoother.
Sunscreens: It helps in protecting the skin from UV rays of the sun giving the scar time to lighten and also helps to maintain an even skin tone. It is relatable for all types of acne scars.
Salicylic acid: It helps clear pores, exfoliates the skin promoting regeneration of skin and reduces swelling and redness. It is considered to be the best treatment for acne scars. It takes little time to notice the results and it can also cause dryness and irritation if you have sensitive skin. Salicylic acid is suitable for all types of acne scars.
Why wait until the problem becomes severe and difficult to treat when you can take measures to prevent it at the early stages. Here are some tips to prevent acne and acne scars.
Here are some tips to prevent acne and acne scars:
Don't squeeze, pop, or pick at pimples: It is very common for people to have the temptation to pick on the pimple but it should be controlled. This has been a common saying that you should never touch your pimples as it may leave a scar and it is true. Popping or squeezing the pimple facilitates the debris to go deeper into the dermis and spreading of the infection eventually worsening the inflammation. It also extends the healing time and increases the chance of leaving a permanent scar.
Don't pick at scabs: Picking at scabs prolongs the healing process and eventually increases the chance of scarring. The formation of scabs is a natural response to external wounds. It acts as a protective layer over the wound as it heals beneath it. So, it is advised to not pick and interfere with the process.
Treat acne as soon as it develops: Treating acne as soon as it develops prevents frequent breakouts and prevents acne from turning into severe forms. Prevent pimples and you'll prevent scarring.
Reduce inflammation: The aim here is to keep in inflammation calm and prevent further irritation of the skin. Scrubs and products having strong, harsh chemicals should be avoided. Inflamed blemishes are the most common cause of permanent scarring.
Know if you are prone to scarring: People who are more prone to scarring should get their skin examined as soon as the pattern of recurrence is noticed. Taking expert advice and help is always advisable than to wait until the problem worsens.
See your doctor if you get large, deep breakouts or acne cysts: While there are over the counter products available in the market for acne and acne scars but getting an expert opinion is always the better option. Smaller blemishes may heal easily without scarring mostly, but the large, deep breakouts or acne cysts should be examined by a dermatologist. Just one appointment with a dermatologist will help you answer most of your questions.
The problem of acne scars can be too frustrating but there are many treatments available which can make them less noticeable. Most scars are permanent but your dermatologist can help you determine the most suitable treatment for you which reduces the appearance of the scars. The acne scar is a permanent problem that can be treated and reduced but cannot be totally removed. So, prevention of scarring is more important than cure. The most common reason for acne scars is breakouts so the lesser the breakouts the lesser the chances of acne scars. To prevent scars avoid picking, popping, or squeezing of the breakouts, no matter how tempting, to prevent irritating the skin and damaging the internal tissues, which can lead to acne and scars. Whenever you notice that the problem getting severe or forming a pattern, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible to prevent acne from taking severe forms and leaving permanent scars. As mentioned earlier, prevention is better than cure. But the problem persists, no need to worry, there are a lot of treatment methods available. You just have to consult a dermatologist and they will help you with the rest.