A terrible reminder of the acne that once was, albeit from pubescent years or recent episodes, acne scars happen to 30 percent of people affected by moderate to severe acne, but is more prominent in severe cases where there are blemishes with large nodules and inflammation from cystic acne.
Luckily, there are now several methods that can be used for improving the look and feel of acne scars. Choosing the right treatment for your particular case depends on the types of scars you have. Typically, there are two main types of acne scars:
Hypertrophic or keloid scarring. These scars are caused when the body produces excess collagen as acne wounds heal, which results in a mass of raised tissue on the skin’s surface.
Atrophic or depressed scarring. These scars occur when there is a loss of tissue. There are two common types of atrophic scarring: “icepick” scars are typically small, yet apparent holes in the skin; “boxcar” scars are round or oval depressions in the skin with steeply angled sides (they are similar to chickenpox scars).
There are a few ways to minimize, or even prevent, acne scars:
- Do not pick at pimples because the bacteria from your hands can cause more inflammation and lead to scarring.
- Do not irritate blemishes by attacking them with harsh products, over-washing, or scrubbing; this reduces skin’s elasticity and intensifies the appearance of scars.
- Do not overexpose skin to the sun (quit tanning!); sun exposure can further damage scars or make them appear darker.
When it comes to acne scars, efficacy of treatment depends on the depth and extensiveness of the scarring. There are many noninvasive treatments that can treat minor cases, such as dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, superficial peels, IPL, and lasers like Clear+Brilliant. For deep, crater-like scarring, the most effective treatments are VI peels or ablative Fraxel.