Acne scar / marks

As much as you would like to forget about your past pimpled experience, your face remembers – in the form of scars.

What are acne scars and what causes it?

One thing worse than suffering through a brutal acne period is having to deal with the acne scarring that comes afterwards. Acne scars are considered permanent textural changes. It results when acne breakouts penetrate the deeper layer of the skin and the underlying tissues. Our body tries to repair the damage thereby leaving a scar. Collagen is produced by the body when it tries to heal the acne. Little or large amount of collagen produced for healing the acne results in scar formation. In severe acne, large pus-filled spaces known as acne cysts are formed. These cysts destroy skin tissue which is not replaced during the healing process. When the cyst eventually empties and the area heals, it usually leaves behind an indentation on the skin. There is some form of genetic involvement in acne scar formation as well.

The good news is that not all these scars are permanent. It is possible to reduce their appearance or even get rid of them altogether. There are 2 different types of marks left behind by acne including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and true scarring.

Acne Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post- inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs early after acne and develops when a wound or irritation (like a rash or pimple) causes your skin to become inflamed. As the skin heals, it produces too much melanin, which darkens and discolours the skin. This discoloration remains even after the wound has completely healed. These marks often improve in appearance on their own, over 3 to 6 months. If you can’t wait that long, this process can be speed up through the correct skin treatments and professional products.

true scarring

Acne scarring on the face appears as damage to the skin texture with depressed or indented areas of different sizes.  On the back and chest, the scarring can be lumpy (knows as “keloid scarring” or “hypertrophic”).  There are many different types of acne scars and the most common are boxcar acne scars (shallow to medium depressed scars with well-defined edges commonly located on the cheeks and temples), ice pick acne scars (deep and narrow scars extending into the skin’s lower layers), rolling atrophic scars (depressions on the skin) and mixed scars (combination of the above) and treatments vary depending on the depth and severity.

Acne Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation’s treatment

Laser, Aesthetic peels, Microdermabrasion and LED light therapy are all effective treatments to assist in fading dark marks and treating mild scarring, as well as helping to prevent acne in the first place! It’s also important to wear sunscreen to not only protect your skin from sun damage, but also to ensure that these marks don’t become darker or more prominent. These marks will vary depending on a few factors such as skin tone and pimple severity. If there is proper skin care plan, it can be treated effectively.

Acne Scarring’s treatment

There are many treatments available for acne scars which can improve and soften the appearance of the scarring.  Acne scarring is more severe, and a combination of treatments may be required.  It is unrealistic to expect the return to completely normal skin.  The ideal treatment can include Laser resurfacing, Micro needling, Radiofrequency and, in some cases, using Sculptra or dermal fillers. All treatments work based on collagen induction, through traumatising the skin and creating microscopic, safe damage, we trigger repair and set the skin into healing old scars and damage.

Our most effective method for triggering repair is Micro needling, however Laser Resurfacing is also effective for stimulating collagen building from beneath, along with Skin Peels which gently remove dead layers and stimulate cell renewal and healing.

It is important if you learn how to treat the skin after a pimple or breakout to prevent a scar from forming.

What is the likely outcome of acne scarring?

The goal for treating acne scars is improvement rather than complete disappearance.  The degree of improvement is dependent on the scar type and the skin colour of individual.  Treatments are tailored to individual’s goals, acne scar type, tolerances, skin type and expectations.

How many acne scar treatments are needed?

Most patient will need 4 to 6 treatment sessions at 4 weeks intervals, but it depends on individual needs and response to treatment.

Prevention of acne scars

The lesser number of breakouts you have, the less you can develop acne scars.  When you treat acne, you have a greater percentage of preventing scarring.  Avoid popping and squeezing your acne and practice the use of gentle skin care by scrubbing the skin lightly to make it free from sebum and dead cells that will eventually cause acne.

Treatments available