Acne scars on the body make the skin look unappealing by affecting the skin’s tone and texture. It is often seen that people who suffer from acne on their faces, also have acne on other body parts like the shoulders, back, neck, and arms. These pimples frequently leave behind scars and make the sufferer suffer some more. As if the acne leaving behind scars on your face wasn’t enough, they also tend to leave behind marks on your body that seem to last forever.
While taking care of facial acne, it is also important to utilize body acne scar treatments so that they do not remain there forever and lower your confidence in any way. This article will discuss the best skin treatment options for acne scars on the body. But, before we delve into these, let us understand what these scars imply.
What Causes Acne Scars On Your Body?
In reality, body acne can be more intense than facial acne because of the high levels of clogging these pores experience. Inflammation and redness are often seen with acne on the body such as back acne (or bacne). When these pimples heal or when they are popped due to the application of pressure or even due to friction from clothing, they leave behind scars.
During the healing process, the collagen fibers in the skin rearrange themselves resulting in the formation of a raised or a depressed scar. When compared to the face, raised or hypertrophic scars are more commonly seen when body acne heal. Thus, this is how body acne scars are formed.
What Are The Signs Of Acne Scarring?
Acne scars on the body are often characterized by these signs –
- Raised, lumpy, and hard scars
- V-shaped scars that seem to be going deeper into the skin
- Large, round, and depressed scars
- Small bump-like scars
- Redness in and around the affected area
- Hyperpigmentation may be present
- Itching may or may not be present
- Some types of scars may be painful
They are usually seen in areas like the shoulders, chest, arms, and upper back.
Different Types of Acne Scars On Your Body
Body acne scars are classified into different types based on their shape and dimensions –
- Ice-pick scars (V-shaped, deep scars)
- Boxcar scars (round, depressed scars)
- Rolling scars (wave-like scars)
- Raised scars (hypertrophic or keloid scars)
How To Get Rid Of Body Acne Scars – Removal Options
Every skin is different, and each individual’s body acne may be due to various underlying factors. Hence, different treatment options need to be employed to get rid of body acne scars. A personalized plan of action is necessary so that optimum results are achieved by using the best acne scar treatment.
Here are the commonly used treatments that are best for body acne scars –
(1) Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections For Acne Scars
When the scars are raised, intralesional injections containing corticosteroids are given at the affected region to reduce the height of the scar. The corticosteroids work by reducing the inflammation and slowing down the excess collagen production that has lead the scar to become raised above the skin’s surface. With results visible in a day or two, a few repeated sessions can also be performed for severe body acne marks. The cost for each injection varies between Rs.1,200 to Rs.3,000. The side effects of this treatment are almost none. In rare cases, some tissue atrophy occurs, but this goes back to normal in a few days.
(2) Laser Therapy
This is often used as a back acne scar treatment as a larger surface area of the body can be easily covered with this therapy. A fractional laser is the best thing for acne scars is it exfoliates the top, damaged layers of the skin and leaves the healthy skin intact in the treated area to promote healing and recovery. Collagen production is initiated, which causes depressed scars to fill up giving you a smoother skin. Laser surgery (or therapy) for acne scars can cost between Rs.3,500 to Rs.6,000 per session, and multiple sessions are needed to achieve the best results. Redness, swelling, and some irritation might occur after the laser session, but this goes away in a few days.
For spot scar treatment, cryosurgery has shown results in many people. Usually, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the damaged skin. This skin slowly starts to form a scab which eventually heals to reveal fresh, scar-free skin. Cryosurgery can be used to get rid of bacne (back acne) scars or those on the chest that is usually larger in size and raised scars. Generally, this price for this treatment starts around Rs.2,500. It gives better results for fair-skinned people. Hypopigmentation is a fairly common side effect seen for darker skin types.
(4) Scar Surgery
When the scars go a lot deeper into the skin (such as ice-pick scars), scar surgery may be required to break up the connective tissue and lift the scar. This is usually followed up by other treatments like laser therapy or chemical peels. Starting at around Rs.5,000 per session, the cost of this treatment varies greatly on the severity of the acne scars. The risk of infection is a side effect of this treatment, but it can be taken care of by following a strict protocol and using antimicrobial creams after the acne scar removal surgery.
This treatment is also used for hypertrophic scars, especially when they cannot be treated with corticosteroid injections.
In dermabrasion, a fine metal tip or a diamond blade is used to exfoliate the skin and remove the damaged and scarred layer. The healing time of this treatment is longer when compared to laser therapy and can be up to three weeks. Mild cases of acne scars on back and shoulders are easily removed with this treatment. Deep acne scars show no results when treated with dermabrasion. Side effects include redness and swelling, which is often transient. Multiple sessions are required to see optimum results with the cost of each session starting around Rs.1,500.
(6) Chemical Peels
Depending on the amount of the discoloration caused by the acne scars on the body, chemical peels can be used to remove it to reveal lighter and blemish-free skin. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid are commonly used for body acne marks removal. In the case of ice-pick scars, a specialized peel known as TCA peel is used to improve collagen production and fill up the space created by the scar. The cost of a single chemical peel session ranges between Rs.1,500 to Rs.3,500 and depends on the type of peel used. Compared to all the other methods, the downtime is the least for this treatment. Side effects can range from redness and sensitivity to mild peeling when high concentrations of the chemical are used.
(7) Skin Grafts
When all other treatments fail or prove to be unsuitable, dermatologists recommend opting for skin graft surgery to remove body acne scars. This is a proper surgical procedure that involves removing the damaged skin and replacing it with healthy skin tissue. It involves a hospital stay and the recovery period is also long when you opt for this treatment. Being a surgical procedure, this treatment is the costliest among all with the cost starting at Rs.40,000. Side effects with this include complications that often arise during surgery such as infection.
Dermatologist Suggested Tips Remove Body Acne Scars
Along with the treatments, it is important to follow proper skincare for acne scars on the body so that they do not aggravate any further and heal quickly.
- Use a dermatologist-recommended cleanser and moisturizer to take care of the acne-affected skin.
- Do not pick at your pimples as this can worsen the condition.
- Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on all exposed areas of the body.
- Ask your dermatologist to recommend an ideal dosage of vitamin C supplements as it aids in the skin healing process.
- Drink plenty of water as hydration is necessary for the skin to heal and recover.
Acne scars on the body can be mild or severe. Either way, they can ruin the beauty of your skin and make you self-conscious. The available treatment options ensure that body acne scars are improved and eventually removed with a few treatment sessions. Pick the one that will work the best for you with the help of an experienced dermatologist.