Acne Scars: Types, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. Nearly 80 percent of people aged 11 to 30 years have acne. Acne usually leaves scars that embarrass acne sufferers. Different peoples show different response to acne scars. In some people acne scars heal easily while other people have to carry scars for a lifetime. Learn what causes acne scars and how to prevent them are the most effective way to get away from acne scarring.

Types and Causes of Acne Scars

Not all types of acne cause acne scars. Blackheads, whiteheads, and other non-inflamed acne don’t cause scarring because these types of acne don’t damage skin tissue. Inflamed acne such as pimples and cystic acne destroy skin tissue, causing scars. Acne scars are divided into two categories- atrophic and hypertrophic acne scarring.

– Atrophic, or depressed, scars. Depressed scars are caused by decreased tissue formation. When inflamed acne develops in a follicle, the infected material can get into the dermis, the skin layer between the outermost and innermost layers. To repair the damage, the skin forms new collagen fibers. Unfortunately, the damaged area will never look as flawless as before the injury. The common types of depressed scars are

  • Ice pick scars look like enlarged pores. Ice pick scars are very narrow and deep into the dermis layer.
  • Boxcar scars are round depressions with steep vertical sides.
  • Rolling scars is wave-like acne scars.

– Hypertrophic, or keloid, scars. Keloids are caused by increased tissue formation. As the skin produces new collagen fibers, sometimes it produces too much collagen, causing a raised tissue on the skin’s surface.

– Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is not a real scar but rather a temporary discoloration of the skin, ranging from pink to red, purple, or brown. PIH develops when the skin produces melanin to respond to inflammation. The melanin darkens the wounded area.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation will fade away over time, even without treatment. However, how long it takes to fade PIH depends on how dark the PIH is.

Acne Scars Treatment

– Acne scar treatments helps fade post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The ingredients in acne scar treatments that can lighten PIH are

  • Alpha and beta hydroxy acids
  • Hydroquinone.
  • Topical Retinoids include prescription creams such as Retin-A, Tazorac, and Differin and over-the-counter products that contain Retinol.
  • Glycolic Acid

– If you have keloids, you can use steroid creams to soften the scar tissue.

Acne Scar Procedures

If you have ice pick, boxcar, or rolling acne scars, you need to seek help from a dermatologist. The procedures that can improve the appearance of acne scars are

  • Chemical peels burn the top layer of the skin to increase the production of collagen.
  • Laser resurfacing
  • Subcision removes depressed scars by a needle insertion and breaking the scars from underneath to stimulate the production of collagen.
  • Microdermabrasion uses either aluminum oxide or magnesium oxide crystals to exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
  • Punch graft removes ice pick scars by excision. The wound is sutured closed.

 How to Prevent Acne Scars?

– Prevent the occurrence of acne.

-Try to reduce inflammatory breakouts as much as possible to lessen the chance and severity of acne scarring.

– Don’t pick or squeeze acne as doing so will increase the chance of developing PIH and can spread acne bacteria in the dermis.

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3 Responses

  1. March 30, 2010

    […] Don’t pick or squeeze acne as you will increase the risk of acne scarring. Also picking or squeezing cystic acne will spread acne bacteria to other […]

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    […] adults. Acne usually leaves acne scars that embarrass acne sufferers. The effective way to prevent acne scars is to prevent the formation of acne. Several treatments can work together to cure acne. One of the […]

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    […] damage your skin and can cause skin problems such as acne. Vitamin E also helps prevent and reduce acne scars by aiding in healing your skin. To treat acne, take 400 units of vitamin E a […]

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