Acne scarring is the devastating and difficult to treat consequence of active acne. Some people seem more prone to develop this problem and scarring often occurs when acne involves the deeper layers of skin.
Essentially the causes are two fold: the inflammation that occurs during the acne process and the skin’s attempts to repair the damage. Some scars are depressed and called atrophic, while some involve increased tissue formation, which are referred to as hypertrophic or even keloid scars.
Some people call the red, purple or brown areas that develop after an acne lesion scars. These will often fade with time.
People with darker skin usually develop pigmentation at sites of inflammation when active acne lesions have resolved. These areas may take up to 18 months to fade.
It is important to classify the atrophic type scars (loss of tissue), because they may be treated differently.
- Ice pick scars. These are found most commonly on the cheeks. They are very tight small depressed scars.
- Boxcar scars. These scars have steep angular slopes. They most often occur on the cheeks and temples.
- Rolling scars. They are characterized by a wave appearance.
Treatment options involve the use of fractionated laser devices to stimulate synthesis of and to remodel dermal collagen (the structural protein in the skin). Sometimes surgery is needed for some scars. Dermal fillers may also be used to add volume to a depressed scar.
Treatment of acne scars is most often a combination of treatments (i.e.lasers, surgery and dermal fillers) and should be considered a project over time to obtain the best results.
Maintenance treatments for acne scarring, will often include the topical application of a group of substances called Retinoids. These treatments help to reduce further acne and to provide ongoing skin stimulation.
Thank you for reading and please join me next time, when I will discuss a simple and gentle polishing tool for the skin, called Microdermabrasion.