Are you wondering what type of acne causes scars? Well, the answer is simple. All grades of acne can result in permanent skin damage in the form of scars if left untreated. Do you think no acne scar removal creams and home remedies are working for you? Well, if you are clueless about how to get rid of acne scars on your face, worry no more! Read this article to know about the different types of acne scars and various treatment options available to minimise each of them effectively!
Atrophic Vs Hypertrophic Vs PIH
Acne scars may appear in different forms due to the varied healing response of the skin after a breakout. Learn how to identify each of them right here:
- Atrophic Scars: These depressed scars occur when the skin does not produce enough collagen for healing following the inflammation caused by acne. It is a result of a mismatch between tissue repair and injury. Atrophic scars usually have well-defined edges that appear sharper or circular and are steeper than other scars. They typically resemble enlarged pores or even chickenpox scars as they too have sharp and well-demarcated margins. The atrophic acne scars can be mild, moderate and severe depending on the extent of collagen damage caused by the different grades of acne.
- Hypertrophic Scars: Also, known as keloids, these raised scars occur due to excess collagen production during the healing process that takes place after a breakout subsides. These acne scars have a firm and lumpy appearance. Hypertrophic scars have irregular edges and lack clearly-defined borders. They may extend laterally beyond the area affected by acne.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): Pimple marks may occur due to skin discolouration post-inflammation leaving the acne site darker than the surrounding tissue. These may appear as red, purple, brown or black spots depending on your skin type. These mild form of acne scars may fade a little over time. However, usually, all acne scars require advanced treatments to reduce visibly.
Must Read: Best Scar Removal Treatments That Work
Is Acne Scar Painful?
Acne scars may be painful in the initial phases due to residual inflammation. Once they form fully, they may not be painful, but they may be firm in their consistency.
Usually, except for comedones or mild acne, moderate and severe acne that may manifest in the form of red bumps or papules, pus-filled pimples or pustules, nodules and cysts may cause pain and result in scarring.
What Are The Common Types Of Scar Tissues?
Acne can lead to scarring of tissues that may vary in appearance based on their depression levels –
- Deep-Pitted: These refer to depressions that occur in the skin post-acne and have a punched-out appearance. They can extend deep into the dermis, creating deep scars with sharp edges that look like large pits on the skin.
- Flat: These pigmented acne scars have a slightly different appearance from the surrounding skin as they are either red, brown or black.
- Raised: Some scars may have an elevated appearance compared to the surrounding skin. This is primarily due to the excess production of collagen during the healing process.
- Sunken: These scars have a variable depth and sloping edges. They give the affected area an uneven texture as the wave-like depressions appear like tiny valleys.
- Narrow: The v-shaped scars have smaller indentations that go down deep into the skin.
Who Is At Risk Of Getting Acne Scars?
Anyone with oily and acne-prone skin is susceptible to having acne scars. If you have persistent acne breakouts, then you are at a higher risk than others. Therefore, it is critical to seek medical treatment before your pimples aggravate and lead to permanent skin damage in the form of scars. Dermatologists can minimise the appearance of acne scars and prevent future scarring only after managing current breakouts effectively.
If you think you are at risk of having acne scars, do not panic. The best remedy to avoid scarring is the prevention of acne with proper management of acne-prone skin. Read on to know some preventive measures you can try.
Must Read: How To Prevent Pimples On Face?
How To Prevent Acne Scars?
Check out some simple skin-care tips that can help you keep the risk of acne scars at bay.
- Use water-based moisturisers to enhance the repair function of your skin barrier and aid faster healing.
- Follow an appropriate skin-care regimen consistently to avoid acne.
- Use non-comedogenic makeup to prevent clogging of the pores and frequent acne breakouts.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day to minimise sun damage.
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure as the UV rays can darken the scars and make them more noticeable.
- Ask a dermatologist to recommend skin-care products according to your skin type.
If the above tips are not working for you, it’s time to explore the treatments for acne scars.
How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars On Face?
If you are looking for treatments to reduce your acne scars, here are some of the options you may try:
- Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment: Expert dermatologists focus a laser beam of specific wavelength on the target area to get rid of scarred tissue. The heat energy from lasers helps in stimulating new tissue and collagen production that eventually helps in improving the skin tone and minimising scarring. The treatment is comfortable with the use of topical anaesthetic creams. It gives dramatic results in about six to eight sessions or as recommended by your dermatologist. Experienced doctors customise the settings of Erbium YAG and CO2 lasers to treat different types of acne scars safely and effectively. The laser resurfacing treatment for acne scar removal gives faster results with minimal downtime. However, it may result in minor side effects such as temporary redness that subsides within a few days.
- Micro-needling Radiofrequency or MNRF: It is an advanced dermatological procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to create micro-wounds in the scarred tissue and stimulate new collagen production. This helps in reforming skin and reducing scarring visibly. The treatment shows a significant decrease in the depth of scars. The number of sessions you need depends on the severity of the scars you have. You may expect progressive improvement with every session, but this scar removal treatment may take up to eight months to provide optimal results.
- Chemical Peels: It is a popular option to reduce superficial scars with the help of controlled exfoliation of the skin. Chemical peels are plant-based extracts used in specific concentrations to remove the top layer of skin and promote the formation of new and healthy skin. Dermatologists use different types of peels based on the severity and depth of the scars, including salicylic acid peel, glycolic peel and TCA Cross peel. Hence, it is advisable to consult your skin specialist to know about the best chemical peel that can effectively reduce your acne scars.
- Prescription Creams: Your dermatologist may prescribe skin lightening creams to help fade away scars and reduce the uneven skin texture. These contain active ingredients such as retinoids, Vitamin C, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids and others to increase cell turnover rate and help improve regeneration of skin cells. These prescription-strength products are available in the form of gel, liquid or ointment to apply over the scarred area consistently for results. These help in revitalising and lightening the skin tone but work only for mild acne scars and take time to show improvements. Although these products are available over-the-counter, unsupervised use may not give you the best results or cause side-effects.
- Corticosteroid Injections: Dermatologists often prescribe special injections to reduce hypertrophic scars and keloids. The doctors directly administer injections at the site of raised acne scars to soften and flatten the affected tissue. They further prevent the scars from getting worse. However, you may need multiple injections over several weeks to see visible results.
- Subcision: It is a minor surgical procedure performed by a dermatologist to treat rolling type of atrophic scars. The treatment works by inserting a sterile needle at the base of the scar to release the underlying scar tissue and raise the depressed scar. If performed correctly, one to two sessions of this treatment may be enough to release the adherent scars and improve the skin texture.
- Laser Toning: This is an excellent procedure that helps in treating red or pink to brown pigmented acne scars without any downtime. Medical experts use Q switched YAG laser in low energies to minimise flat scars and aid collagen remodelling. Top dermatologists combine it with other modalities of acne scar treatments to deliver a smooth skin texture and even skin tone.
- Fillers: Dermal fillers offer a fast reduction of scarred tissue by improving the skin texture. The hyaluronic acid filler is a USFDA-approved treatment for reducing atrophic acne scars, especially boxcar scars. Doctors inject the fillers directly into the affected area to raise depressed scars by adding volume and encouraging collagen production. The results are not permanent, and last until our body enzymes disintegrate the hyaluronic acid. The procedure needs repeated sessions for the maintenance of the results.
- Microdermabrasion: It is an obsolete treatment for facial scars. It involves the use of a handheld device to exfoliate the top layer of skin and stimulate collagen production. The treatment for atrophic scars reduces their depth and makes them look less noticeable. However, it involves significant side-effects and downtime. With the advent of advanced technologies, this procedure has become less popular.
- Home Remedies: Home remedies for acne scars may not give definite results as they lack scientific evidence. Often, such quick fixes end up irritating the skin and making scarring worse than before. Even if they provide any improvement, the results are temporary. It is advisable to be careful while using home remedies as they might not suit every skin type and may aggravate your scars further by triggering acne. It is best to consult a dermatologist and find out about safe and effective solutions to treat your acne scars instead.
Now you know all about the different treatment options to get rid of acne scars from face. Go ahead and make an informed decision.