Rolling acne scars are atrophic scars that manifest as an indented and wavy appearance on the skin’s surface. These scars are often challenging to remove and may appear as unattractive.
Although it is challenging to remove rolling scars, several treatment options are still available for you!
In this article, we will introduce you to the typical characteristics of rolling scars and how you can diminish the appearance of these scars.
Continue reading to determine the right solutions for your acne scars!
What are rolling acne scars?
Rolling scars belong to the atrophic scar category. These scars often appear as a result of acne breakouts.
You can identify these scars by their sloppy and sunken appearances around the face. It’s common for these scars to manifest on thick facial skin, such as the lower cheeks and jawline.
If you compare rolling scars to other atrophic scars, they do not have defined edges like the ice pick and boxcar scars. These scars also manifest as a bumpy or uneven texture on the facial skin.
Furthermore, rolling acne scars are generally 4-5 millimetres in size and relatively challenging to conceal. You can identify rolling scars by their shapes that resemble the letter “M.”
What causes rolling scars?
The common causes for rolling scars are acne breakouts or skin inflammation. During the healing process, these two conditions often cause the bands of scar tissues to form under the skin. As a result, when the skin has completely healed, the skin surface may appear uneven and bumpy.
However, not everyone will experience this condition. Rolling scars formation will depend on the individual’s ability to produce enough collagen.
Thus, these scars will likely appear due to the body’s inability to stimulate enough collagen during the healing process of skin inflammation.
Rolling scars diagnosis
Understanding the type of acne scars that you have can be beneficial to determine the most suitable treatments. For rolling acne scars, it’s often self-diagnosable as you can quickly identify them by the shallow and wide scarring appearance.
Compared to other atrophic scars, such as ice pick and boxcar scars, these scars look more shallow and wide, without any defined edges.
In addition to that, rolling scars generally make your skin appear bumpy. Unfortunately, you may also notice that your scarring may become more pronounced as you age.
The worsening scarring is mainly caused by lower collagen production. That’s why it’s essential for you to immediately treat your acne scars while maintaining your collagen production through several treatments.
Home remedies for rolling acne scars
As explained before, rolling scars tend to appear shallower than other atrophic wounds. For this reason, these scars are relatively easier to treat. You can also choose home remedies as a solution for your scars.
If you feel confused about what products you can try at home, we’re here to help you out. Here is the selection of over-the-counter (OTC) products that can effectively heal your acne scars:
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is commonly found in acne solutions products. This active ingredient will help cure inflamed acne and remove dead skin cells. As a result, you can gradually soften your acne scars.
- Retinol: Retinol comes in several skincare products. This active ingredient consists of a low concentration of vitamin A and is favoured for its brightening properties. Not only does it help in brightening your skin, but retinol also works wonders in stimulating collagen production. As a result, you can slowly smoothen your bumpy skin.
- Lactic acid: Lactic acid is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) products. This active ingredient has keratogenic properties and is more suitable for sensitive skin conditions. Applying this ingredient to your acne scars can effectively improve your skin texture and lighten your dark spots.
- AHA: Alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA, is an active ingredient that works by exfoliating the dead skin cells, similar to salicylic acid and lactic acid. Since this product has exfoliating properties, you may slowly smooth out and improve the appearance of your acne scars.
While applying over-the-counter (OTC) products may gradually improve the appearance of your acne scars, it’s still essential for you to use sunscreen every day as most of these products increase your sensitivity to frequent sun exposure.
Additionally, SPF will also protect your skin from any damage caused by UV rays. Applying supplementary care to your skin may prevent your acne scars from getting worse. Ultimately, you can also avoid hyperpigmentation that often correlates with rolling scars.
Clinical treatments for rolling scars
Now that you understand and probably have applied any of the home remedy recommendations, you perhaps wonder, what if the home treatments don’t work on my skin?
To clarify your confusion, we would explain that we cannot precisely compare someone’s condition to one another. One person may have mild acne scars, while the other suffers from severe scarring.
If you have severe acne scarring, it does not mean that you cannot remove your blemishes. Home remedies may not give you optimal results, but there are still several clinical treatments you haven’t tried yet!
Here is the list of clinical procedures that you can try to minimise the appearance of your acne scars:
Subcision is a highly recommended technique for treating sunken wounds like rolling acne scars. This procedure will involve a professional who inserts tiny needles beneath the skin surface to separate the dead tissues from the skin’s outer layer.
Subsequently, your skin may gradually create new cell tissues and produce collagen. As a result, your skin may appear lifted and smoother after undergoing this treatment.
Laser treatment is an effective method to diminish the appearance of your rolling scars. There are two types of laser treatment, namely ablative and non-ablative methods.
Both methods will involve a medical aesthetics doctor to ensure a safe procedure. Additionally, you may choose one method depending on your skin condition.
You can learn the differences between the ablative and non-ablative laser methods below:low:
- Ablative laser treatment: Ablative laser treatment involves removing a small skin area. It effectively lifts the indented scar and gives a smoother appearance for rolling scars.
- Non-ablative laser treatment: Non-ablative laser treatment stimulates collagen production without removing any skin area. It’s effective in reducing sunken scar appearance with lower risks.
If you wish to undergo laser treatment to treat your acne scars, it’s a good idea to try a Fractional CO2 laser. This procedure removes acne scars by targeting dead skin cells to promote new cell growth.
Patients who undergo this treatment may expect minimal injury as this treatment uses non-surgical methods. They may achieve their desired appearance with fewer acne scars without enduring the pain.
A fractional CO2 laser is an effective method to reduce the appearance of your rolling acne scars. However, it’s unlikely for you to achieve immediate results after undergoing this treatment. As a result, it’ll be good for you to get the ideal 3 – 4 sessions.
A chemical peel is a treatment that involves applying carbolic acid or glycolic acid onto the skin. This treatment requires a medical aesthetics doctor who applies acid-like solutions to ensure a safe and accurate procedure.
You may effectively remove your dead skin cells and promote cell regeneration by undergoing this treatment. As a result, you may rejuvenate your skin and simultaneously diminish your acne scars.
However, if you choose to undergo this procedure, you will need to be patient as you are unlikely to see instant effects. It’s common for chemical peel treatments to cause flakiness, redness, and itchy sensations that last for a few days.
Furthermore, you may also experience sensitivity to sun exposure after receiving this treatment. Therefore, we advise you to apply SPF onto your skin to prevent any further damage caused by UV rays.
Microneedling refers to the treatment that involves pressing tiny needles on the skin surface. The tiny needles will then create minor injuries that stimulate collagen production. By doing this treatment, the skin will deliver more collagen into the scar areas, lifting the sunken scars over time.
If you wish to undergo microneedling, you may want to level up by opting for Intracel Microneedling. This method combines microneedling with Radio Frequency technology to provide more optimal results.
However, you may not see immediate results after undergoing Intracel Microneedling. It may take up to 6 sessions with a 4 – 6 weeks interval between each session to effectively reduce the appearance of your rolling acne scars.
Dermabrasion is an aesthetic treatment that involves removing the skin’s epidermis. This treatment belongs to the invasive method, thus requiring an experienced medical aesthetics doctor to ensure a safe and effective procedure.
If you prefer to undergo this treatment, your doctor will scrape your entire skin’s top layer. As your skin’s top layer is removed, new skin cells will grow and minimise the appearance of acne scars.
Microdermabrasion is a more gentle treatment than dermabrasion. Instead of removing the entire skin’s top layer, this method will only remove the dead skin cells, especially scarring areas.
Dermal fillers are a treatment that involves hyaluronic acid injections to the skin. The hyaluronic acid will replace the lost tissues that cause sunken scars.
There are several dermal filler brands out there. Juvederm and Restylane are the two famous brands for dermal fillers. These two brands offer various types of fillers that may address your skin’s problems.
If you want to undergo dermal fillers, you might want to know that this procedure only provides temporary lift to your indented atrophic scars. You might need to repeat the treatment after 6 – 9 months to maintain the optimal results.
Sculptra is another injectable treatment that may effectively reduce the appearance of rolling scars. This method works almost similarly with dermal fillers, where several injections are delivered beneath the skin to fill the tissue loss and lift the sunken skin.
Many patients with depressed scar issues favour Sculptra as the treatment due to the long-lasting effects. Typically, patients can maintain the optimal results for up to two years. However, they might need to complete the recommended sessions, which consist of 2 – 3 injections.
Finally, if you want to get rid of your rolling scars with the Sculptra method, you’ve come to the right place. Dr Dylan Chau, our medical aesthetics doctor, is an experienced and certified Sculptra trainer in Singapore. As a result, you can relax knowing that a professional is handling the treatment.
How do I prevent rolling acne scars?
Preventing rolling scars from forming will require you to take care of your skin’s health by using proper acne medication. It would also be best to avoid acne development by maintaining personal hygiene, reducing stressors, eating healthy food, and drinking enough water.
However, in many cases, acne development is inevitable due to genetics. When facing this problem, refrain from picking or popping any pimples to prevent further damage. You may use soothing creams instead to subdue any inflammation.
It is a struggle to heal rolling acne scars, don’t fret because there are multiple methods to proceed through for better skin. Fortunately, there are topical creams and clinical treatments available that you can choose to improve the scarring appearance.
Going to a professional medical aesthetics doctor for consultation can help as they can advise you and show you the different medications needed to take care of your rolling acne scars.
Let our medical aesthetics doctor examine any acne scars you are concerned about and plan the suitable techniques needed to restore your skin’s original shine!