Anyone who has ever suffered from severe acne , particularly cystic acne, knows how unsightly and heartbreaking acne scars can be. This frustrating skin problem varies in shape and size, but ultimately has a cause.
What Causes Acne’s Scars?
Acne scars are caused by inflammatory lesions on the skin be they pimples, cysts or pustules. The more inflamed the pimple is, the more likely it is that a scar will form. Unfortunately, scars often form when the body tries to repair the damage to the skin, but there are ways to minimize these scars.
- The best way to prevent future scars is early treatment. If your skin does not seem to respond to any over-the-counter treatment, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Choose cleansers, tonics and scrubs that meet your individual skin needs. Do not irritate already inflamed skin with scrubs or strong cleansers.
- Do not remove pimples or scabs. Doing so may cause the lesion to become more inflamed and increase the likelihood of scarring.
If you already have scars, there is no reason to lose hope, but keep in mind that the most effective treatment for acne scars varies by type.
Types of Scars:
Take a moment to examine your scars. Are they elevated above the skin or steep? The four main types of acne scars are: ice picks, van, wavers and keloids.
- Ice pick scars are deep, spine-shaped scars, which often resemble open and large pores.
- Van scars because round or oval depressions that lead to uneven skin texture.
- The undulating scars are similar to the scars of the freight cars, except that they do not have a well-defined shape. They are often deep depressions within the skin with a rough surface.
- Keloid scars are firm masses of scar tissue that rise above the surface of the skin.
Treatment of Permanent Scars of Acne:
1. Laser Treatments:
Laser rejuvenation treatments are perhaps the most effective way to permanently remove scars. During these treatments, a dermatologist burns the damaged skin with a laser to stimulate the growth of new skin. These treatments are expensive, but they give you soft and beautiful skin. This treatment works best for van and ice pick scars.
During a puncture excision, the dermatologist physically removes a scar with a small puncture tool. This treatment is better for moderate to severe scarring of the type of ice pick, especially when combined with other treatments.
Dermal fillers are injectable treatments used by dermatologists to fill depressions in the face with an FDA-approved substance that fills the desired area, such as holes under the eyes or a deep scar. In the case of acne scars, dermal fillers are a permanent way to treat acne scars.
4. Silicone Treatments:
These over-the-counter products flatten raised scars over time.
“Silicone treatments come in gels, creams and bandage tapes that are non-invasive and inexpensive”.
Over-the-counter silicone treatments work best for mild and elevated scars. The American Academy of Dermatology found that silicone gels flatten raised scars after a period of approximately six months of continuous use. That said, a silicone product is not a permanent treatment of acne scars for moderate or severe scars. These treatments can only minimize them.
5. Clearing Earths:
Hyperpigmentation is another result of moderate or severe acne. These dark or red spots occur when the skin produces too much melanin after the skin has healed from the injury. Skin lightening sera are an effective way to treat hyperpigmentation. These treatments can be prescribed or not, and often contain retinoids (a synthetic form of vitamin A), niacinamides (a synthetic form of vitamin B3) or ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
6. Chemical Peelings:
Chemical peels are mixtures of various chemical concentrates that are applied to the face over a period of time to remove the first layers of the skin. Like illuminating sera, these treatments can be prescribed or not. Three common types of chemical peels are phenol peels, glycolic acid peels and trichloracetic acid peels. Certain types of scars benefit from specific peels. Phenol peels work best for rolling and ice puncture scars, while glycolic acid peels tend to work better for hyperpigmentation.
7. Exfoliation and Dermabrasion:
Although gentle exfoliation at home can help with the texture and shine of the skin, it will not permanently remove your scars. Because the scars are deep within the skin tissues, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are the most effective exfoliation treatments for healing. In both dermabrasion and microdermabrasion, abrasive materials are used to sand the outer layers of the skin, which detach effectively and emerge again. Dermabrasion is best for light skin, while microdermabrasion is recommended for darker skin tones.