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Acne Scars: What Is It And How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Acne Scars: What is it?

Acne scars are the remnant signs of pimple break outs that can cause the skin, usually the facial skin, to appear damaged, uneven and darkened. Besides this physical effect, the psychological impairment i.e. the emotional strain and lack of confidence caused by acne scars is quite considerable, and prevent the affected individual from leading a normal life. This is why one needs to be proactive and meticulous in their treatment.

Types of Acne Scars

1. Hypertrophic or Keloid Scarring: This type of scarring occurs when the body produces* excessive collagen to heal wounds caused by acne, which leads to the development of a raised tissue mass on the surface of the skin.

2. Atrophic or Depressed Scarring: These scars occur due to tissue loss. ‘Icepick’ depressed scars are small, but noticeable whereas ‘boxcar’ scars are round / oval depressions with steep, angled sides that resemble chickenpox scars.

How to Identify Acne Scars?

Pigmentation spots, usually pink or brown, are often mistaken as acne scars when they are just the normal leftovers of a healed pimple. These spots, also called post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, are not scars and gradually disappear on their own usually fading from reddish pink to brown and then vanishing completely over a period lasting between six and twelve months. You can also use medical therapies to speed up this process.

True acne scars on the other hand, are the results of inflammatory acne that occur either in the form of depressions or elevations of the skin’s mass. ‘Icepick’ scars have a small, pitted appearance; ‘Boxcar’ scars are angled depressions that commonly occur on the cheeks and temple; rolling scars are a type of acne scar that give the affected skin an appearance resembling waves.

Why do You Get Acne Scars?

Acne scars are normally caused by inflamed acne that results from pores of the skin swollen with bacteria, dead skin cells and excess oil. When the pore becomes swollen, it causes a break to occur in the wall of the follicle which results in lesions. Shallow lesions aren’t a big problem and heal rapidly on their own. However, a bad case of inflamed acne can cause a deep break in the pore’s wall which causes the septic material to enter into the surrounding skin tissue which results in deeper skin lesions. The skin tries to fix these lesions by itself by forming collagen, but the repairs don’t have an end results that is as good as the original skin i.e. scarring occurs.

Why You Need to Treat* Acne Scars?

Acne scars need to be treated because can cause the effected person emotional stress due to their unsightly appearance which may make it difficult for them to socialize or go about their routine life. The treatment improves* their skin and restores their face to its original appearance, hence allowing them to live a life without feeling conscious about their looks.

Treatments for Acne Scars

  • Chemical Peel: Mild scarring can be treated effectively using this therapy which works on the scars by removing* the top most layer of the skin which has the worst condition because of the scars. The new layer beneath it will have a smoother texture and more natural tone. Chemical peels employ a solution that consists of glycolic, tricholoraetic, salicylic or lactic acids, which is used to damage the top layer of the skin so that it ‘peels’ off, leaving behind a fresh layer.
  • Laser Resurfacing: This is an advanced treatment to reduce* the prominence of acne scars. It zaps away the damaged skin tissue using a precision laser pulse which also stimulates the formation collagen which leads to a tightened skin and less* visible acne scars.
  • Microdermabrasion: This technique also gently removes* the skin’s top layer which leads to the formation of a new layer of skin that is smooth and soft, so that the appearance of your acne scars is reduced*. Keep in mind that this treatment only works for shallow scars because it doesn’t target the deep layers of the skin.
  • Punch Graft: This technique is employed by dermatologists to reduce* the appearance of deep acne scars i.e. ice pick scars. The scarred skin is cut out and replaced by skin extracted from the back of the ear. Once it heals, the appearance is considerably smoother and can be augmented by mild treatments such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
  • Home Remedy Solutions: You can try out simple, natural home remedies to lessen the prominence of your scars if you’re on a budget. Lemon juice is naturally acidic so it can be used for skin bleaching purposes. Essential oils from lavender and rosewood, sandalwood paste, cucumber slices and honey all possess the property of lightening acne scars.
  • Acne Scar Cream: If you don’t want to have to visit your dermatologist or can’t deal with healing* time required by clinical solutions, you can opt for over the counter creams such as Zeroblem to take care of your acne scars at home. These creams often require a degree of patience since they work gradually over time.

Do’s

Here are some of the things you should do if you want to prevent or minimize your acne scars:

  • Exfoliate – This can reduce* the visibility of your scars, get rid of dead skin cells and decrease* the scars’ depth.
  • Consume fiber – Fiber gets rid of the body’s toxins that may block pores which results in swelling, bursting and consequent scarring.
  • Exercise – By increasing* blood flow in the body, working out ensures that your skin gets its fair share of nutrients and oxygen; the sweating which occurs during the exercise has a detoxifying effect which prevents the occurrence of cysts that can cause scarring.

Don’ts

Here are some practices to avoid if you want to prevent or minimize your acne scars:

  • Tan – exposing your skin to the sun for extended periods of time can increase* the visibility of your acne scars by causing them to darken.
  • Irritate Your Inflamed Skin – if your skin is already scarred or has acne, then you should not wash or scrub it excessively since it may reduce* the skin’s elasticity and increase* the prominence of the scars.
  • Pick Your Scars – The bacteria which may be present on your fingernails may cause more cysts to develop which can actually increase* the amount of scarring.
  • Give up on Treating Your Acne Scars – Recent techniques, some that don’t even require invasive surgery, are at your disposal to reduce* both the appearance and the depth of acne scars.

Can You Prevent Acne Scars?

Preventing acne scars is all about following a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, consumption of fibers, abstinence from smoking, and, most importantly, not picking on your pimples.

When Should You Consult a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists generally recommend a seeking an appointment when:

  • You regularly find yourself wishing that your scars would go away
  • You feel yourself limited in your romantic, professional or education prospects due to the scars
  • You experience a lack of confidence, or depression, due to the scars
  • Your tendency to socialize has been reduced* by the scars

Verdict

There is no reason to feel alienated because of your acne scars. Acne is a condition that affects between 40 and 50 million American citizens. At least forty percent of those who get acne in their teens develop acne scarring that requires treatment. You are not alone in your fight against acne you should feel confident about pursuing a treatment to get rid of your acne scars.