Acne Scars on the Back
Acne is a common skin problem that occurs in a wide range of people, starting around the beginning of puberty and continuing through old age for some people. Many will experience only mild acne, such as blackheads or whiteheads, but for others, acne may progress into more serious forms, such as acne nodules or cysts. When severe acne develops, there is a greater chance for tissue damage, which can result in acne scars.
Acne can create several types of acne scars. For example, hypertrophic scars look like a firm area of raised skin tissue where the skin damage occurred. An ice-pick acne scar is one that looks like a thin, narrow scar that reaches deep into the skin tissue. A boxcar acne scar is similar to an ice-pick scar but creates more of a round indentation into the skin. Finally, a rolling acne scar can cause varied levels of scar tissue, similar to the look of rolling hills.
When severe cases of acne develop--such as cystic or nodular acne--the inflammation that builds up around the acne lesion can cause damage to the skin tissue. If the skin tissue is unable to heal correctly, indentations or raised areas of scar tissue can form where the acne lesion once was, remaining long after the original case of acne has healed. Genetics may also contribute to whether or not your acne progresses into a scar, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
To treat an acne scar, one common treatment method is a dermabrasion or microdermabrasion session. Dermabrasion uses a motorized abrasive wheel to sand off the affected scar tissue, while microdermabrasion uses a tool to shoot abrasive crystals--such as aluminum or zinc oxide--at the skin to remove scar tissue. The procedure smooths the surface of the skin and also encourages new smoother skin to grow in the place of the removed tissue. Dermabrasion takes longer for the skin to heal, with between 10 days and three weeks needed for new skin tissue to replace the removed skin, states the Nemours Foundation.
Laser treatments are another popular option for getting rid of acne scars. Two types of lasers can be used for this procedure. For indentation scars, such as ice pick or boxcar scars, a non-ablative laser can be used to penetrate deep into the skin tissue and accelerate the production of collagen. Collagen fills in the scar to make it more even with the surrounding skin. For raised scars, such as hypertrophic scars, an ablative laser can be used to vaporize the protruding scar tissue in a process called laser resurfacing. This allows new smoother skin tissue to take the removed tissue's place.
Some acne scars may be prevented by taking certain precautions when dealing with an acne outbreak. First, never pick at or pop blackheads or pimples on your skin. This can encourage infection, which leads to inflammation and scarring. You can also get treatment for acne in its early stages to prevent your acne lesion from progressing into a scarring form of acne through over-the counter-methods, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, or prescription treatments, such as retinoids or antibiotics.
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