Acne scarring serves as a reminder of what your skin has gone through after the blemishes have cleared. It can leave textural changes like indentations or depressions that can make the skin look rough or hard. Scars can cause self-esteem issues and psychological distress, especially if they are noticeable or severe.
What causes acne scars?
Acne cysts or those that are filled with pus can penetrate the skin deeply and cause damage in the tissue underneath. They can then cause the affected pore to swell and create lesions. The body will attempt to repair this damage by producing new collagen fibers. The amount of collagen produced will dictate the type of scar you’ll have.
You can see a scar when your body produces too little or too much collagen. Pits or depressed acne scars appear when there is too little collagen. Raised scars (keloid or hypertrophic scarring), on the other hand, appear when the body produces too much collagen. These repairs do not usually look like the original skin.
What are the different types of acne scars?
Scarring can take in different forms and types. Here are the types of scars associated with acne.
- Ice pick scars – small, pitted scars that can make the skin look like it was punctured by an icepick.
- Rolling scars – wide, depressed scars that can make the skin appear wavy.
- Boxcar scars – broad skin depressions, with sharp or defined edges.
- Hypertrophic scars and keloids – raised or elevated scars that are usually firm and smooth.
Take note: Acne scars are not acne marks. Scars are caused by inflamed lesions and create tissue damage. Marks, meanwhile, are dark or reddish pigmentation in the skin. They are usually smooth and can lighten on their after weeks or several months.
What increases your risk of getting scars?
Both genders can develop acne scars, but it is more common in men. This is because some men tend to have more severe acne than women. Also, the androgens or male sex hormones can over-stimulate the sebaceous glands, which can clog the pores and trigger acne.
Here are the other factors that can increase your risk of getting acne scars:
- Genes – having a blood relative who had acne scars can make you susceptible to scarring.
- Picking, popping, or touching your blemishes – this causes further inflammation and prolongs the healing process.
- Having swollen or severe acne – this causes more skin and tissue damage.
- Delaying or not getting acne treatment – your blemishes can get worse without proper treatment and this can lead to marks and scars.
How can we help?
Here at Cutis Laser Clinics, we understand how acne scars can negatively affect the way you look and feel. We provide a number of medical aesthetic treatments that can reduce and treat scarring, as well as improve the overall condition of your skin. We also offer skin care and product recommendations to control active acne.
Take note: Treating active acne first is important before addressing the scars. Using the right treatment or medication can also prevent acne scars or reduce your chances of scarring.
Your individualized treatment plan, depending on various factors such as your acceptable social downtime, your expected time frame and budget, will be explained in detail during your consultation with our Harvard trained Medical Director, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez.