Acne Scar Help
Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, affects primarily teenagers--in fact, up to 85 percent of teens will suffer from acne this year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Not everyone develops scars after their pimples clear, but for those who do, the scars can affect self-esteem, dating and even job prospects. Fortunately dermatologists offer effective treatments that will help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
No one knows why some people develop acne scars while others do not, but heredity appears to play a strong role, according to the AAD. So if your parents or grandparents have scars from their pimples, there's a good chance you will too. Acne scars fall into one of three categories: depressed acne scars, raised acne scars and skin discoloration.
Most people develop depressed acne scars--often called pock marks or ice pick scars--which look like saucer-shaped craters on the skin. Many dermatologists recommend surgery for depressed acne scars. The surgeon either cuts out the scar and replaces it with a skin graft from another part of the body or uses a scalpel to to separate and raise the skin from the underlying scar tissue. Dermatologists also might recommend laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion or dermatological fillers to treat depressed acne scars.
Few people develop raised acne scars, which include keloids and hypertrophic scars, but these scars can be especially difficult to treat. Your dermatologist might start with corticosteroid injections intended to shrink the raised scars. If those are not successful, then you might consider surgery to remove the scars. However, many keloids return after surgery, so dermatologists recommend pressure garments, more injections or radiation to prevent them from growing back. Other options for raised scars include laser treatment and cryotherapy, in which your dermatologist freezes the scar tissue, causing it to drop off.
In some people, acne causes spots or discoloration. These red or purple-colored spots are not scars and eventually will fade. However, many people who have them may want to hurry the fading process, which can take months. Over-the-counter bleaching creams containing hydroquinone can fade some acne-related discoloration, although prescription creams combining hydroquinone, a corticosteroid and tretinoin may work better. Dermatologists sometimes also recommend light chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser therapy for skin discoloration or spots from acne.
Regardless of what type of acne scarring you have, the Mayo Clinic warns that acne scars can be stubborn and difficult to treat. There's no one best treatment, and many dermatologists recommend a combination of treatments based on your scars, your skin type and your medical history. The right treatment can reduce the appearance of your scars considerably.
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