As if dealing with acne wasn’t tricky enough, blemishes can leave behind little reminders that permanently change your skin’s texture.
When you develop a blemish, your pores become inflamed and may rupture, spewing out pigments and blood from the damaged cells into the skinmedia tissue. Once your body is done fighting back against the trapped bacteria, it sets to work repairing the damage by knitting together collagen tissue. Your skin needs to heal and gobble up the “debris which can take weeks.
You may have pink marple or dark spots that can be present for months. Occasionally, scars can form, especially with severe, inflammatory acne or cysts.
Not all acne scars look alike, and treatment options differ depending on the kind you tend to develop. Let’s look at common types of acne scars and the most effective treatment options to banish them.
As we discuss the different types of acne scars, we’ll share our recommendations for the most effective treatments. Refer to this glossary to learn more about the options we’ll discuss.
- Chemical Peels – Using professional-grade acids to remove damaged skin layers and prompt collagen production.
- Dermabrasion – Physically removing outer layers of skin with microscopic crystals to reveal more youthful, rejuvenated layers beneath.
- Excision – Surgically cutting out a column of scarred skin.
- Dermal Fillers – Injectable gels that raise depressed skin tissue.
- Lasers – Using targeted laser light to stimulate collagen formation and new skin tissue.
- Microneedling – Creating minor wounds on and around the scar to heal skin from the inside out.
- Silicone Gel & Sheets – Silicone Gel &/or Silicone Gel sheets that flatten and soften scar tissue.
- Steroids – Corticosteroid medications or shots.
Atrophic Acne Scars
Atrophic acne scars appear due to tissue loss when your body produces too little collagen during the wound-healing process. They look like depressions or pits in the skin. These can be best treated with fillers, chemical peels, microneedling and laser treatments.
Boxcar scars are shallow with boxy, sharp edges, similar to chicken pox scars. They tend to develop on thicker skin patches, like the lower cheek and jawline. Those prone to widespread, frequent breakouts are more likely to develop boxcar scarring.
- Chemical peels
- Dermal fillers
Ice Pick Scars
Ice Pick Scars
As their name suggests, ice pick scars look like they were made with a sharp, narrow instrument like an ice pick. These scars are very deep and typically occur when a blemish becomes infected or inflamed. They’re prevalent in those who suffer from cystic acne, but their depth makes them particularly challenging to treat. It requires removing the damaged skin to allow the body a second chance at healing the area. They are often treated with subcision where the retracted, bound-down scar tissue is cut and loosened. The scars can be excised, treated with chemical peels or lasers.
- Chemical peels
- Punch excision
Rolling scars result from acne affecting large swaths of the skin’s surface. Long-term collagen loss creates shallow “waves” of raised and depressed skin that worsen as we age due to loss of skin tightness and elasticity.
- Dermal fillers
Hypertrophic and Keloid Acne Scars
Hypertrophic scarring occurs when there’s an overproduction of collagen. The thickened scar tissue creates raised lumps that can be tender, discolored, and puffy. Keloid scars tend to be larger than the blemish. They are best treated with cortisone injections, microneedling, fractional lasers or silicon scar gel or pads, such as Silagen Scar Refinement 100% Silicon Gel.
- Silicone sheets
Preventing Acne Scars
Prevention is worth a pound of cure, and with a few simple measures, you can help your skin avoid acne scarring. Remember, acne is not your fault and there are many medicines and procedures to control and treat acne.
- Never pick at or pop blemishes. Not only does it worsen the inflammation, but it also leaves the open wound vulnerable to even more bacteria. It can also contribute to even more breakouts when they release the built-up bacteria and oil onto your healthy skin.
- Keep your skin hydrated. It aids in healthy healing and keeps the skin plump, which can reduce the appearance of shallow acne scars.
- Treat your acne early. The longer that a blemish has to develop an infection, the more likely it is to leave a scar behind.
- Work closely with your dermatologist if your acne isn’t getting better. While drugstore products might help with the occasional pimple, chronic breakouts and cystic acne often need expert intervention to help break the cycle. The providers at ADCI can help you customize a long-term acne treatment plan that targets existing blemishes and prevents future breakouts.