Acne is a common issue faced by both teenagers and adults as well. Unfortunately, when acne heals, it leaves scars behind. These scars can be on the surface of your skin such as dark spots while others are much deeper in the skin - like from cystic acne. Some scars are easier to fade through topical medications while others require dermatological procedures.
Acne scars are the result of inflamed blemishes on the skin, which are left behind after a huge pimple finally leaves. Intially they are flaming red in color, and they can be raised or flat. The scars acne leaves behind occur becuase the dermis is inflamed because of a process called fibrosis. This is the thickening and scarring of connective tissue, usually as a result of injury.
While minor scars heal quickly, the deeper ones can get infected further because bacteria accumulates in them. This can lead to breaks in the wall of the skin and cause deep scarring, which is limited by newly formed collagen fibres. Collagen is the main structural protein in your skin.
Your skin tries to help you out, so new collagen fibres are formed; it is a repair mechanism of the skin. But, the skin left behind by this process is not as smooth and flawless as the skin you started off with. There are three types of acne scars based on appearance: icepick, boxcar and rolling types.
Acne scars are usually asymptomatic and do not cause any loss of function. It is the cosmetic factor of it that can impact people psychologically, and hence they seek treatment. Treatment is performed in order to get healthier and smoother skin, one that is free of blemishes and scars. While undergoing treatment for the scars, the side benefit is that it also promotes an overall healthier skin growth cycle.
Here are some ways to improve the appearance of these not-so-fun scars:
- Getting rid of your acne: The first goal when it comes to the treatment of acne scars is to treat the acne that's causing the havoc and prevent any future acne scars. For this purpose, dermatologists prescribe topical creams and lotions like Benzoyl Peroxide and oral medications like Accutane to their patients. Medications must only be taken when prescribed by a professional dermatologist and not because you know someone else was cured by it.
- Avoiding touching your acne: Try to avoid touching the areas that are affected by acne beacause this gives dirt and bacteria from your hands and fingernails a great passageway into your skin. This is how the skin gets irritated and could form a scar. If it is constatnly irritated, infection and inflammation will result in more scarring but in deeper layers now.
- Avoiding sun exposure: Sun exposure can cause irritation of the scars, worsening the already annoying symptoms. It can also cause the skin to get tanned and appear darker in colour, highlighting the appearance of scars that are already darker than your original skin tone.
Other than the above methods, which are basically aimed at avoiding the worsening of acne scars, there are various operative procedures. These are carried out by dermatologists to improve the appearance of scars and smoothen the skin that has been affected. They are performed once the acne is under control and there is no new acne forming. Treating acne scars is not a one time thing and more that one kind of treatment is required most of the times. Multiple sittings are usually done especially in the case of deep acne scars. These procedures are known to improve the appearance of acne scars, but the bummer is that they do not result in the scars being completely faded from the skin.
These procedures are collectively called as skin resurfacing procedures which remove the damaged, scarred layers of skin to leave behind smoother skin with a healthier growth cycle.
Available treatment modalities:
- Microdermabrasion: In this process, the dermatologist uses a fine instrument, like a fine rapidly spinning diamond wheel, wire or a brush, with a rough surface, to finely abrade or wear the skin. This removes the topmost scarred layer which gets replaced with smoother skin as the healing processes - it takes about 10 days to 3 weeks, and then ta-da new skin is formed.
- Chemical Peel: This procedure involves the application of chemical products to the skin, which causes exfoliation of the top layer of the skin. This should only be done by a professional dermatologist - do not think about doing home made chemical peels. It's not worth putting your skin through so much stress if you end up damaging it.
- Laser therapy: Laser treatment is given by the dermatologist under local anaesthesia to remove the damaged top layer of the skin and tighten the middle layer. This procedure uses tiny beams of intense light which are targeted to the skin leaving behind smoother shallower scars. This procedure takes about an hour and the skin heals subsequently within 3-10 days - this magic happens in multiple sessions.
- Fractional Laser Therapy: Fractional laser therapy uses laser beams which are directed at a deeper, sub-surface level, as compared to the traditional laser treatment. This keeps the top most layer of skin intact allowing the healing time to be comparatively shorter. Quick side note, it causes skin discolouration for a few days.
- Injections: In some cases, particularly with rolling scars, injections are given just underneath the scar. It contains products which elevate the level of scar and bring them at par with the surrounding skin improving the appearance of the scar. If all the above measures fail and you have not got the results you wanted, and the apperance of the scars has not improved, surgery and plastic resurfacing must be considered for deeply indented scars.
A dermatologist through Remedico will be able to identify the cause of your acne even before acne scars become a problem. Our online consultation process provides you with a detailed diagnosis, personalized treatment plan and any medicine prescription that you require. It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate, only take prescribed medical treatment for your acne scars.
With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist for your acne and acne scars from wherever you are, right from your smartphone! All within 5 minutes! We will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours.