Is scarring from acne making you feel self-conscious or embarrassed about your skin? You are not alone. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. It is characterized by pimples that appear on the face, back and chest. Every year, about 80 percent of adolescents have some form of acne and about 5 percent of adults experience acne. Treating acne is a relatively slow process; there is no overnight remedy.
Acne can also leave scars on the face and other areas of the body if dealing with acne blemishes is not difficult enough. Sometimes, these scars can take days, weeks or even months to fade. However, these scars do not have to be permanent -- there is hope!
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we see many individuals who have tried numerous over-the-counter products but saw no improvement for their acne. Searching for an effective product can be expensive, and we realize that this only adds to the emotional toll acne has on those affected by it. We don’t believe in treating acne. We believe in curing acne.
Keep reading to learn more about some remedies and treatments available to help you manage acne scarring.
What is Acne?
Acne occurs when hair follicles become blocked by excess skin cells and combine with sebum, which blocks pores. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, a normal, oily substance that lubricates skin and hair. These glands are on the face, neck, chest, upper back and upper arms.
During adolescence, the sebaceous glands enlarge, causing sebum production to increase. When sebum production increases, the bacteria that causes acne starts to grow. This causes inflammation and can result in the follicle rupturing, leading to a sore or red pimple.
There are three different types of acne:
- Inflamed Lesions
The number and type of lesions will help your dermatologist classify your acne as mild, moderate or severe, as well as determine the best course of treatment.
Who Gets Acne Scars?
Some people have acne scarring, while others do not. Acne scarring occurs for a variety of reasons, but one of the main factors is genetics. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if a blood relative struggles with acne scarring, you might struggle with it. Here are a few more reasons from the American Academy of Dermatology for why someone may have a higher risk of developing acne scarring:
- Has inflammatory (swollen, reddish and painful) acne: These often include acne cysts and nodules. This type of acne tends to penetrate deep into the skin, which damages the skin.
- Delays or does not treat inflammatory acne: The longer a person has inflammatory acne, the higher the risk of scarring.
- Picks, squeezes or pops acne: This increases inflammation, which increases the risk of scarring.
What Causes Acne Scars?
When acne deeply penetrates the skin, the risk for scarring increases. Acne damages the skin and the tissue beneath it, and the body tries to repair the damage that was made. The American Academy of Dermatology states that during this healing process, the body produces collagen, which helps give skin its support. If our bodies produce too much collagen or not enough collagen, the result is a scar.
The type of resulting scar depends on how much collagen your body produces. The American Academy for Dermatology groups these types of scars in the following categories:
- Depressed acne scars: If the body produces too little collagen, depressions or pits form as the skin heals.
- Raised acne scars: Sometimes, the body produces too much collagen as it tries to heal the skin and underlying tissue. When this happens, a person develops a raised acne scar.
How Do We Treat Acne Scars?
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we realize that not all scars are created equal. Scar types and skin color determine our treatment approach. Our dermatologist will determine the type of scarring you have and tailor treatment and product recommendations to your individual needs. For best results, we may recommend a combination of treatments.
Acne Scar Treatments for Superficial Scars:
- Retinol Smoothing Pads 2.5x
- Retinol Smoothing Pads 5x
- Retinol Smoothing Serum 2x
- Retinol Smoothing Serum 3x
- Retinol Smoothing Serum 5x
- Retinol Smoothing Serum 7.5x
- Retinol Smoothing Serum 10x
- Glycolic Creams
Acne Scar Treatments for Depressed Scars:
- Acne surgery such as subcision, which helps bring the scar to the surface making it less noticeable over time.
- Resurfacing treatments that remove layers of skin which allows the body to make new skin cells.
- Fillers give temporary results for depressed scars, and some results will last longer than others. Examples of fillers include: Bellafill and hyaluronic acid.
- Microneedling is collagen-induction therapy that encourages your body to make more collagen.
Acne Scar Treatments for Raised Scars (from when the body produces too much collagen):
- Injections - Certain medicines can be injected directly into the scar to help soften and flatten raised thick scars. Those include corticosteroid, fluorouracil, or combination of both.
- Acne scar surgery - This procedure is done in the office and can be combined with injections for best results.
- Laser therapy such as pulsed dye laser (Vbeam) - This treatment can reduce pain, itching, diminish discoloration and flatten raised scars. Laser treatment can be combined with injections as well.
- Scar creams, gels, and silicone dressings - Often available without a prescription, these products can be used at home to treat raised scars. They can help reduce the itch and discomfort, as well as shrink, flatten, and fade raised scars.
What Should the Expectations for Treatment Be?
It’s essential to set realistic expectations for your acne treatment. Acne treatments and therapies will not give you immediate results. It’s unlikely for a patient to see improvement after only one treatment. Carefully following the directions and plan provided by your dermatologist is the best way to see results. Most patients see progress within three to six months of treatment.
How Can My Dermatologist Help?
If you’re ready to make an appointment to discuss options for curing your acne and or improving acne scarring, give us a call at (304) 598-3888 or click here. We’re currently accepting new patients and encourage you to make your appointment soon. We look forward to hearing from you!
We also recommend that you download our Guide to Acne if you want to learn more about acne and acne scarring.