- ● Acne scars are permanent changes in the texture of the skin after an acne breakout subsides.
- ● Acne scars leave visible signs in the form of pits or elevated scars.
- ● Common types of acne scars (atrophic scars) are ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars. 10% of acne scars are hypertrophic or keloid scars.
- ● 90% of the global population experiences acne during their teenage years.
- ● Those experiencing moderate to severe acne vulgaris are at a relatively higher risk of developing acne scars.
- ● Acne scars are treatable by a dermatologist. Depending on the type of acne scars, treatment may take anywhere between 3 to 24 months.
What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scars are marks or depressions left behind after acne breakouts heal. Acne is a common skin condition that develops because of the pilosebaceous unit (the hair follicle and accompanying sebaceous gland) engorging with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria.
As the follicles (or pores) get further inflamed, it instigates a disruption in the follicle wall. Deeper lesions develop when there is a break in the wall of the pore, triggering the discharge of infected material into the adjacent tissue. The natural tendency of the skin is to heal on its own. It attempts to produce new collagen fibres to repair the lesions. The process of repair may not always be flawless and smooth, which leads to the formation of acne scars.
What Causes Acne Scars?
Acne scars may be a result of any grade or severity of acne. The intensity depends on the healing capacity of the skin and how long the issue has been left untreated.
Types and Classification
Acne scars can be either atrophic (depressed) or hypertrophic (raised). Only 10% of scars are hypertrophic and are also called keloids. The types of more commonly found atrophic acne scars are:
- Ice pick scars
- Boxcar scars
- Rolling scars
The following are the factors and the contributing elements in the pathophysiology of acne, and hence acne scars:
- An increase in the production of sebum triggers acne development A change in the composition of sebum lipids
- Hormonal influence (i.e. Androgens)
- Follicular plugging
- Alteration of lipid composition stimulates inflammation in and around the pilosebaceous unit.
- Multiplication of the bacteria Cutibacterium acnes inside the follicle
Signs and Symptoms
The common signs of acne scars are:
- Pits on the skin
- A presence of raised lesions on the skin.
- Pigmented or red spots appearing after acne heals
Acne leaves visible scarring on the skin, which is easily diagnosed. A dermatologist examines the acne and scars to assess their severity before recommending a suitable treatment plan.
Are You at Risk?
You may be at a higher risk of developing acne scars if:
- There have been cysts and nodules.
- There has been a delay in treating inflammatory acne.
- You have picked, popped or squeezed the acne.
- There is a prominent family history of acne and acne scars.
If the scars are persistent, seek medical attention immediately.
Prevention and Management
Acne scars can be prevented to an extent by seeking medical treatment at the earliest signs of skin issues. If you have acne, following these steps will assist in managing the condition better:
- Seek treatment as soon as acne appears on the skin
- Resist the temptation to squeeze, pop or pick at the pimple
- Do not attempt to pick at scabs
To eliminate acne scars, an understanding of how it affects the skin is essential. If your skin is prone to scarring, then seek medical guidance right away
Acne concerns have driven many towards home remedies and self-care methods, but these often carry risks of pigmentation, scarring and aggravating the acne. Always seek medical help and strictly avoid the application of OTC products.
Acne Scar Treatments
Managing acne scars through effective treatments is possible. Treatment options include:
- Pixel Laser Resurfacing
- Chemical Peels (TCA Cross)
- Microneedling Radio Frequency
- Dermal Fillers
- Scar Excision
- Intralesional Injections for Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars
- Laser Toning
With effective treatments, regaining clear skin is not entirely out of the question. If you are looking for an effective solution to your acne scar issue, consult a certified dermatologist at the Oliva Hair and Skin Clinic.