Acne scars are often left behind after the acne is gone from your face. If the acne wasn’t embarrassing enough, the scars bring their troubles. Most of them are long-lasting and can stay for years if not treated properly.
There are different types of acne scars that are seen in people. Some of the most common types are –
- Atrophic scars
These scars are formed by the loss of skin tissue after the acne is reduced. These scars make the skin look uneven and appear as depressions in the skin.
- Boxcar scars
These are a type of atrophic scars but differ in their shape and appearance. They are cubical or almost square-like depressions that appear on the lower side of the face.
Areas such as jaws, cheeks, and chin are highly vulnerable and most of these scars are prominent here.
- Ice pick scars
Ice pick scars appear as tiny holes in the skin which can be mistaken for open pores. These scars go deep within the skin in a straight line as if the skin was pierced by a pin.
- Rolling scars
These scars have varying shapes that make the skin look extremely uneven and patched. They are caused mostly due to severe acne or cystic acne and are the hardest to remove.
- Hypertrophic scars
This type of scarring is a result of dead skin accumulation after the acne pimple is reduced. The skin piles up and causes raised bumps which are harder than normal skin. These scars are more frequent on parts of the body other than the face, such as the shoulders, back, chest, etc.
This is the simplest type of scarring which just causes the skin to become darker around the pimple. This dark skin then ends up being a dark spot.
Dark spots are the easiest to remove as they cause no long-lasting damage to skin tissue, unlike all the other types of scars. They can be treated with simple over-the-counter medication or home remedies and disappear after a month or two.
If you have any of these scars either on your face or on the body, fret not as they are treatable and the skin clears up within a few months of treatment. Except for dark spots, no other scars can be treated without a doctor’s prescription as they require serious medication to help the skin build up new tissues to fill up the scars.
Some of the treatments for atrophic scars include –
This is a medical treatment that aims to remove the top layers of the skin which is damaged by the scars, to help the formation of new skin. The technique not only reduces the appearance of deep scars but also promotes blood flow to the skin which helps in the formation of smoother skin.
It is usually prescribed by doctors as an initial treatment in your therapy, as the removal of existing scars clears the way for the next skin building steps.
- Micro needling
As the title says, this technique involves puncturing the skin with hundreds of microneedles at the same time. This breaks down the scars and initiates the building of collagen which reduces the appearance of scars.
It is usually a painless procedure as the microneedles are extremely small and do not usually puncture blood vessels under the skin.
Because it helps to build collagen, which is an essential part of the skin, it is highly preferred for reducing the appearance of box scars and deeper scars which do not respond to other treatments.
- Chemical peels
Chemical peels involve treating the skin with mild acids such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid which remove the top layers of the skin.
Even though there are over the counter chemical peels available, they shouldn’t be used without the consultation of a dermatologist. The acids can be more damaging than helpful if not used under a doctor’s advice.
- Punch excision
In this method, the dermatologist removes the skin containing the scar with the help of a punch (imagine using a punch to remove a hole from a paper) and then stitches the remaining skin back to remove the appearance of scars. This, along with punch grafting is usually used as a last resort if your skin does not respond to any other treatments.
It is mainly preferred for the treatment of ice pick scars and other small scars which do not take up a large area on the skin. Any scar more than 3 mm will not be treated with punch excision.
- Punch grafting
This technique involves removing the skin riddled with scars and replacing it with skin taken from other parts of the face or body.
Punch grafting is a method that makes the skin look extremely smooth and different, and can be used along with other scar treatments.
- Laser therapy
As the name suggests, this technique uses a laser to remove the top skin layers and stimulate the production of collagen. It uses either heat or high energy light to achieve its results.
When the laser is targeted to deeper layers of skin, it helps to initiate the production of collagen cells from under the skin which eventually leads to smooth, undamaged skin production.
To prevent the formation of scars, it is advised that you don’t pop the pimple when it appears and let it reduce on its own. By popping the pimple, you’re breaking down the skin and damaging it permanently which causes such scars. Also, sun protection is a must to protect your skin against scars as the UV rays are very damaging and affect your skin negatively.
Sunblocks of 15 SPF and above work wonders for the skin and are recommended for daily use. Sunlight ages the skin and kills the skin cells which can deepen the appearance of scars. Not only does it worsen scars, but it also results in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Acne scars can be stubborn and also create body image issues in people who have them. But with the methods mentioned above, they can be treated very easily and usually disappear after 3 – 6 months of consistent therapy. Nothing comes without patience so have a positive mind and embrace change.