As if dealing with painful, pus-filled bumps wasn’t unpleasant enough, those annoying pimples frequently don’t just vanish.
Acne scars can range in size from a small red mark to a deep gouge in the skin. And while some of these lingering blemishes go quickly, some are more difficult to remove, there are a number of at-home and clinic treatments that can help lessen the indications of acne and pimple scarring.
Experts in dermatology discuss your options here.
What causes acne to leave scars?
A spot develops when pores get clogged and infected, causing inflammation, which is the primary factor in acne scarring.
The dermis, or main layer of the skin, is damaged as a result of the harm that results from increased inflammation and pus, according to Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme, a medical consultant and Kelo-Cote skin advocate.
“Scarring forms as a result of dermal injury as it heals. If you have lighter skin, scarring may be red; if you have darker complexion, it may be brown.
The severity of the scar is frequently based on the level of inflammation. However, other circumstances including genetics may also be important.
According to Dr. Rabia Malik, a general practitioner and holistic aesthetic physician, “it can also be triggered by squeezing or picking at the spots,” thus it’s crucial to refrain from popping your pimples.
“If you don’t extract the spot properly, you could stress or tear the skin, permanently harm the tissue, and leave scarring behind.”
What kinds of scars left behind by acne are there?
The two main types of acne scarring are hypertrophic and atrophic, respectively.
“Hypertrophic and keloid scars are thick lumpy scars,” explains Malik. Flat, shallow depressions known as atrophic scars are frequently brought on by cystic acne.
She identifies three primary varieties of the latter: “Boxcar scars have distinct margins that are wide and box-like and are frequently observed on the lower cheekbones and jaw. Rolling scars have varying depths and give the skin an uneven appearance. Narrow indentations called “Ice Pick scars” are frequently seen on the cheeks.
But there is a distinction between post-acne coloration and scarring.
The pigmentation that is left behind is frequently mistaken for scarring, but it isn’t, according to Dr. Christine Hall, an aesthetician at the Taktouk Clinic. “Your body creates and delivers melanin to the skin’s surface as a reaction to the injury to the skin. Additionally, the pigment in our skin is what gives us a tan.
Identifying the best skincare solution for you may depend on your specific requirements. However, Ejikeme asserts that the first step in treating scarring that is mild to severe is to take care of one’s skin.
She suggests retinoids or niacinamide-containing serums and face creams: They are more likely to enhance the texture of the skin since they increase the production of collagen.
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, which are often administered with a cotton pad and are available in serum, gel, or liquid form, can also be useful for skin rejuvenation.
Salicylic acid, lactic acid, and azelaic acid, for example, promote cell turnover and lessen the visibility of acne scars, according to Malik. “Treatment can vary, and some people may need prescription-grade medication for treating their acne and thereby prevent scarring.”
You might want to talk about potential treatments with your doctor, a dermatologist, or an expert in aesthetics if your scarring is more severe.
“Microneedling helps to stimulate collagen and smooth out scars,” claims Hall. Chemical peels and laser resurfacing procedures can both be beneficial in removing some of the layers of damaged skin.
Ablative lasers remove hair by zapping pigment in scars, much like hair removal does. Treatments start at about £400, so it’s a hefty commitment. Dermal fillers can temporarily lessen the appearance of scars that are noticeably depressed on atrophic scars, according to Malik. Pitted scars can also be treated with fillers.
Make sure to get a specialist for help to decide the best course of action for various scarring kinds.
For icepick scars, for instance, microneedling is not known to be effective, according to Ejikeme. And there aren’t many laser treatments you should undergo if you have a keloid scar because the more you agitate one, the more likely it is to enlarge.
It’s critical to discover an efficient skincare routine or seek medical attention if you have persistent acne to stop further scarring.
According to Hall, there are many things your doctor may do to assist stop spots from developing in the first place. “The doctor general (GP) can assist or refer you to a dermatologist if you are developing acne scarring.”