When you finally find a regimen that works for your acne, you probably feel relief. However, you may still have scars to remind you of your acne. They can take the form of pits within the skin or bumpy patches of excess tissue. Whatever the type of scar, there are treatments to help you achieve softer, smoother skin.
More severe forms of acne have been linked to more severe acne scarring. The earlier you treat your acne, the better chance preventing or lessening the severity of scarring. Delaying acne treatment by even three years is likely to increase the risk of acne scarring.
Acne scars may also form because you picked at pimples in the past. When acne is squeezed, the infected debris from the pore is driven deeper in to the follicle. When the infection enters the dermis, scarring can be the result.
Although you may think that you have to live with these acne scars forever, there are a number of different treatments to help treat them and improve the appearance of your skin.
This article will discuss:
Acne scars are a result of your natural body repair. Although the immune response to kill bacteria in acne is a necessary thing, scarring can sometimes be the unfortunate side effect.
Acne scar formation involves 5 steps:
When the sebaceous glands in your skin produce oil, it can mix with debris and acne-causing bacteria, which plugs your pores.
- As bacteria builds up in the pores, they become red and swollen.
- The infected debris then bursts into the deeper layer of your skin, essentially causing a wound to the dermis.
- Your body attempts to eliminate the deep bacterial infection with a healing inflammatory response.
- As your body struggles kill the bacteria and heal the wound in the dermis, it sometimes replaces infected skin tissue with rougher, more fibrous scar tissue.
Even with the most careful and conscientious treatment, acne scars may still occur. Typically, those with more inflammatory or cystic types of acne are likely to have more severe scars. Not all acne scars are alike.
Generally, acne scars fall under two categories, those caused by:
- Loss of tissue (atrophic)
- An excess of tissue (hypertrophic)
Within these categories, acne scars fall into one of four types, which include:
- Ice Pick Scars. Ice pick scars are deep, narrow scars which form pits in the skin. This type is the most common.
- Boxcar Scars. Boxcar scars have angular, well-defined edges, which usually form on the temples or cheeks. They resemble chickenpox scars.
- Rolling Scars. Rolling scars create a wave-like appearance on the skin’s surface.
- Keloid Scars. Keloid, also known as hypertrophic, scars are over growths of tissue which expand beyond the original wound site. The scar is rubbery and firm and may itch. Often they form to be much larger than the original wound.
Another factor you may experience that’s related to acne scarring is discoloration, known medically as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). The different coloration of your skin can include pink, red, purple, brown, or even black, depending on your skin tone and depth of the discoloration. Discoloration is not technically a scar because it is not permanent and will eventually fade away with time. It also responds well to topical treatment.
As with other scars, acne scars are the result of the skin’s healing a wound, resulting in too much collagen in that specific area. Unlike most other scars, the wound occurred within the dermis from the original acne infection. Thus, the scar is within the skin, rather than on its surface. This makes acne scarring difficult to treat.
In recent years, more effective treatments have been discovered. It is important to note, most scars can’t be completely erased, but having the right treatment can significantly reduce the visibility of the scars. Some medical treatments are riskier and more complicated than other options, and some can result in side effects almost as bad as the scars themselves.
Some of the different types of treatments include, but are not limited to:
- Laser treatment
- Dermal fillers
- Chemical peels
- Skin care products
Laser treatment are used on acne scars by either targeting tiny blood vessels to take away redness or to stimulate the production of collagen and new skin cells. With any type of laser treatment, side effects such as severely dry, flaking skin may occur. Your face is likely to be swollen, sensitive, and have a sun burned appearance.
Many types of laser treatments require a course of multiple treatments, meaning you must experience these side effects on multiple occasions. Laser treatment can also get very expensive, costing anywhere between $1,500 to $2,500.
Dermal fillers can be used to treat acne scars by injecting a substance like collagen or fat. This is intended to plump up the tissue under the scar and raise it to the same level as the healthy skin.
The risks of dermal fillers include:
- Over correction resulting in bumps
- Infection, which was the cause of the original scarring
- Pain at the injection site
- Granuloma formation, or firm, ball-like inflammation due to tissue injury
On top of all this, the results are not permanent, so even if they do help, they must be repeated. Dermal injections cost anywhere from $300 to $2000 per treatment.
The term chemical peel encompasses a broad range of chemical treatments to your skin. Chemical solutions, such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and salicylic acid, are applied to your skin to dissolve skin cells. The dead cells are then shed off, revealing fresh ones. This helps spur the growth of new tissue and improve the texture of the new skin.
Costing aorund $1,000, chemical peels can be extremely irritating and even damaging to the skin. The stronger peels are more effective for acne scarring, but also carry more risks. The face appears red and feels raw and painful after a chemical peel. There is a notable risk of infection, additional scarring, and discoloration.
Another possible side effect is the loss of your skin’s ability to make pigment. This means that not only will your skin be lighter in color, it will also have less natural protection from the sun.
Skin Care Products
Not all acne scar treatments are as complicated and expensive as laser treatments, dermal fillers, or chemical peels. Using topical skin care products can help improve your skin as well, but are much less expensive and work without risks or complications.
To start, treat your current acne with the Perricone MD Skin Clear Regimen. When you treat and prevent acne, it helps reduce your chance of new scars from forming. The cleanser, toner, and hydrator use ingredients such as salicylic and lactic acids to help prevent acne by reducing excess sebum and unclogging your pores.
The adult acne products also contain powerful anti-aging ingredients like Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE to tighten and smooth skin, even discoloration, and help erase fine lines.
To shrink pores, even hyperpigmentation, and smooth and refine skin texture to improve the appearance of acne scars, try Advanced Face Firming Activator and Pigment Corrective Topical.
Advanced Face Firming Activator is formulated with:
- DMAE, which works to:
- Improve skin’s elasticity
- Lift, tighten, and tone skin
- Diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Alpha Lipoic Acid, which helps to:
- Reduce fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, pore size, puffiness, imperfections, and uneven skin tone
- Refines skin texture and protects skin cells
- Sodium Hyaluronate, which works to:
- Lock in moisture to help diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles
- Renew skin’s suppleness
Pigment Corrective Topical is also formulated with DMAE and also includes:
- Vitamin C Ester, which helps to:
- Improve firmness and elasticity
- Diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration
- Create a smooth and luminous appearance
- Pycnogenol, which works to:
- Improve skin health and renew collagen
- Provides brightening benefits
- Known for centuries-old healing properties
At a fraction of the cost of laser treatments, dermal fillers, and chemical peels, this suggested combination of topical treatments will help treat acne, prevent new scars, and improve the appearance of acne scars you already have.