Acne Scars Treatment, Removal and Causes

Acne scars treatment

Acne scars can be a frustrating and stubborn reminder of past breakouts.

Making us feel self-conscious and even embarrassed to leave the house without covering them up – unfortunately they are a common occurrence for many who have suffered with Acne in their lifetime.

Sometimes challenging to treat and remove, there is a wide variety of acne scars treatment options available to help.

In this article, we will look into the different types of acne scars, what causes them and the best treatment options available.

If you’re tired of feeling self-conscious about your skin, keep reading to learn more about how you can treat your scars and begin to love the skin you’re in.

What are acne scars?

Acne scars are the result of damage to the skin as a result of severe acne – commonly known to penetrate deep down into the skin, it causes inflammation and eventually damages the tissue below the surface causing scarring.

The body’s natural healing process can lead to the formation of scar tissue in the affected area – often appearing as raised bumps or depressions on the skins surface and their appearance can vary depending on the type of scarring that has occurred.

Sometimes very challenging to treat, their appearance can have a significant influence on your self esteem and confidence, sometimes even leading to anxiety and stress.

In some cases it can even cause depression and other mental health issues, as a result of already living with the emotional and physical pain of living with acne. Scars are a lasting telltale sign and can be a frustrating reminder which can lead to further worry and isolation.

By addressing the issue, you can regain confidence and feel more comfortable in your own skin again without the need to hide away or cover up under layers of make-up.

Are there different types of acne scars?

>> Atrophic scars

Atrophic scars occur when the skin is unable to regenerate new tissue following inflammation or damage caused by acne. The scars appear as depressions in the skin and can be deep or shallow and penetrate deep into the skin. Typically caused by inflammatory acne, they are left behind after papules, pustules, and nodules have penetrated deep into the skin.

The body’s natural healing process attempts to repair the damage but can sometimes leave behind an uneven texture, which causes the scar.

Atrophic scars can be further categorised into 3 types; ice pick scars, boxcar scars and rolling scars – depending on their shape and depth.

Ice pick scars are narrow and deep scars which resemble puncture wounds, while boxcar scars are wider and shallower with more defined edges.

Rolling scars are shallow broad scars with a sloping edge which can give the skin a ‘wavy’ appearance.

Atrophic scars can be challenging to treat and different treatment options are available depending on the type and severity of them.

>> Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars are a type of raised scar that occurs when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process. These appear as thick, raised areas of skin that can be either pink or red and can stand out quite a lot. These are typically caused by extreme acne that penetrates deep down into the skin, causing damage to the underlying tissue.

As a response to the damage, the body starts to produce an excess of collagen which forms a raised scar. Unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars remain within the boundaries of the original injury and can often by painful or itchy and can take several months to heal.

Successful treatment options include corticosteroid injections, silicone sheets, and laser therapy.

>> Keloid scars

Keloid scars are also caused by the body producing an excess of collagen, however the difference is that they extend beyond the original injury boundary. Appearing as thick, raised areas of skin they are often darker than the surrounding skin and can be pink or red in colour.

These types of scars can be caused by any injury to the skin and not just acne. They are more commonly seen in individuals with darker skin tones. Keloid scars can by itchy, painful and can continue to grow over time.

Treatment options include corticosteroid injections, cryotherapy, silicone sheets and laser therapy. In some cases, surgical removal may be necessary but can increase the risk of reoccurrence. Always remember to consult with a professional dermatologist to discuss the best course of action.

What causes acne scars?

  • Inflammation; when acne develops, it causes inflammation which can damage the skins surface and tissue around the affected area which often results in scarring.
  • Severity of acne; the more severe the condition, the more likely it is that you will be left with scarring. Cystic acne in particular, can cause deep, pitted scars.
  • Picking pimples can increase inflammation and damage the skin on a deeper level, leading to scarring.
  • Genetics; some people can be prone to developing acne due to genetic factors – and it doesn’t only affect teens – adult acne is also a very common issue.
  • Delayed treatment; if acne is not treated effectively early on it can leave more scars behind.
  • Sun exposure; exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause scars to become darker and more noticeable. Always use a non-oily high factor sunscreen, ones specifically designed for use on the face are best.
  • Skin type; people with darker skin tones can be more prone to developing post-inflammatory pigmentation which can leave dark spots after the acne has healed.

Acne Scars Treatments (At home Topicals)

Try at home topical treatments;

>> Retinoids; products such as Tretinoin can help improve the appearance of scars by promoting cell turnover and reducing inflammation

>> Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s); glycolic acid is a popular one to help improve the skins texture by gently exfoliating the skin to remove dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover

>> Beta-hydroxy acids (BHA’s); salicylic acid can help to unclog pores and reduce redness

>> Vitamin C; topical vitamin C treatments can help improve skin texture by promoting collagen production.

>> Niacinamide; can help to reduce inflammation and promote collagen production.

>> Silicone gel or sheets; can help to hydrate the skin and promote collagen production.

>> Hydroquinone; can help to lighten dark scars by reducing the production of melanin.

>> Scar Oils; You can get very effective results from scar oils such as Scarderma Pro, These are also very good if you have sensitive skin

Please remember that some topical treatments are not suitable for everyone and can even cause skin irritation, especially in people who have sensitive skin. It’s advisable to start off with a low concentration of the active ingredient and gradually increase it over time, if your skin appears to be accepting of the treatment.

It is important to remember to use a high factor sunscreen every day (even on cloudy days), especially when using topical retinol/retinoid treatments, as they can increase sun sensitivity and risk of burning.

Professional salon treatments;

Professional salon treatments for acne can provide more advanced and effective options for reducing the appearance of scars.

· Chemical peels; using acids such as glycolic, salicylic or trichloroacetic acids to exfoliate the skin and promote new cell production.

· Microdermabrasion; a popular treatment for acne scarring this method uses a device to exfoliate the skin and remove the outer layer of dead skin cells and improve the overall appearance of the skin.

· Micro needling; this treatment uses a device with small needles to created micro injuries in the skin to promote new cell production.

· Laser therapy; using intense light beams to target the damaged tissue and promote collagen production.

· Dermal fillers; hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient in dermal fillers which can help to fill in depressed scars and improve the overall texture of the skin.

· PRP (Platelet rich plasma) therapy; using the patients own blood plasma which is high in growth factors, it is used to treat scarring and marks.

Please remember that these are professional treatments and should always be carried out in a reputable licensed salon. Multiple sessions may be required to achieve optimal results and can be costly, so please speak to a professional to determine the best treatments for your specific skin type and problems.

Home Remedies;

While salon treatments can be effective, they can also be expensive and not achievable for some people. Here are some at-home remedies that you can try;

· Aloe vera; has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and can help to reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. Apply pure aloe vera to the affected area and leave on for 30 minutes before rinsing off.

· Lemon juice; contains natural AHA’s to help exfoliate the skin. Leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly.

· Honey; containing antibacterial goodness, honey can help reduce redness and help with healing. Apply pure honey to the affected area and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

· Apple cider vinegar; contains acetic acid, to help exfoliate. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball. Leave for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off.

· Turmeric; has anti-inflammatory properties and can help combat redness. Mix 1 teaspoon with honey to form a paste and leave for 5 minutes before rinsing off. (take care to avoid spilling as turmeric can stain)

· Green tea; containing antioxidants to reduce inflammation and promote cell turnover. Brew the tea and allow to cool before applying to the skin, rinse after 15 minutes.

· Natural Scar oil; Natural scar oils such as Skinderma Pro are great for reducing the appearance, redness and thickness of scars

Please remember that at home remedies may not provide the same level of results as professional salon treatments and may not be suitable for all skin types so try a patch test first.

Can acne scars be completely removed/healed?

While there are many effective treatments available, there is no guarantee that any treatment will erase scars ‘completely’.

It is important to have realistic expectations about what a particular treatment can do for you and understand that improvements may be slow and take multiple sessions to obtain the desired results.

What is effective for one person may not be as effective for another, everyone’s skin is unique and so it is important to do your research before committing time and money to a particular treatment programme.

The goal of treating acne scars is to improve their appearance and boost your confidence, rather than striving for perfection.

While acne scars may seem like an insurmountable challenge, there are numerous treatment options available and while no single treatment is a silver bullet, often a combination of therapies works best to obtain the required results.

Don’t let scars hold you back, take the first step towards smoother, more radiant skin by consulting with a professional today. With the right approach and a little bit of patience, you can achieve the glowing complexion you’ve always wanted.

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