Scars Left by Acne
Pimples occur when the hair follicles on the surface of the skin become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. This encourages bacteria growth and pus-filled red bumps occur. Mild forms of acne are not likely to cause scarring, but severe forms of acne can leave behind scars.
Acne can leave behind several types of scarring. Ice pick scars have a narrow and pitted appearance. Rolling scars look like waves and have a wide and shallow depth upon the surface of the skin. Boxcar scars have a similar appearance as chickenpox scars and have a defined boxy shape. Hypertrophic scars are raised marks upon the skin and can change size over time.
Acne can often leave behind a brown or reddish mark on the skin even after the pimple has faded. Due to improper wound healing, an overproduction of collagen occurs and a scar forms. In most cases, the mark will fade on its own. If the scar has not faded after a year, the mark may be permanent, unless you get it treated. Active acne must be treated first before scars can be removed.
To get rid of scars left by acne, discuss treatment options with your doctor or ask for a referral to a dermatologist. Laser therapy, chemical peels and dermabrasion all treat acne scars. Laser therapy involves a concentrated laser to remove the top layers of the skin. When you get a chemical peel, an acid is applied to your skin to dissolve the damaged layers of the skin. Dermabrasion wears down the skin's surface using an abrasive rotating brush over the area with acne scars. Injectable fillers may be used on deep acne scars. The filler substance, such as collagen, can raise the scar up to be level with the rest of the skin. Repeated injections may be required every few months. For deep scars, surgical techniques, including punch excision can remove the scars.
Topical ointments can improve the appearance of acne scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, they are not typically effective at removing the scar completely. Topical products that contain glycolic acid, retinol and vitamin C can encourage collagen production. This can plump the skin and diminish the scar.
Never wait to get treatment if you have moderate to severe acne breakouts. The sooner that you treat the acne, the lower your chances of acne scarring. Avoid squeezing or popping pimples, because this increases your risk of scarring.
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