We’ve all been there—those times when stress, junk food, hormonal changes, or simply life make acne flare up. And just when you think you’ve conquered it, what remains? Acne scars! While makeup can work wonders, relying on it all the time isn’t ideal. So, let us share some expert insights on how to bid farewell to those stubborn acne scars.
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We spoke with Dr. Rinky Kapoor, a renowned Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist, and Dermato-Surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, New Delhi, to learn how to effectively eliminate acne scars and achieve clear, radiant skin. But before we delve into that, let’s understand what causes these scars in the first place.
Causes of Acne Scars
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, consisting of three main layers: the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. It protects you from the elements, UV radiation, and bacteria, while also producing essential vitamin D. Acne can appear anywhere sebaceous glands are present, but it’s most common on the face, back, and chest.
Dr. Kapoor explains, “When acne penetrates the deep layers of your skin, it damages the tissue and forms a lump. This lump contains germs, sebum, and dead skin cells. Ideally, when the acne heals, our bodies produce extra collagen to repair the damaged tissue. However, if there is a lack or excess of collagen, the tissue doesn’t heal properly, leading to the formation of scars.” In essence, scarring occurs when the skin’s layers are harmed.
It’s important to note that acne scarring is particularly severe in those who constantly touch, squeeze, or attempt to pop their acne. Contrary to popular belief, if blood comes out of a pimple, it doesn’t prevent further acne or scarring. So, it’s crucial to avoid irritating your acne.
Types of Acne Scars and their Remedies
While most acne marks fade over time, some stubbornly linger on the skin. However, it’s essential to understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all types of scars. The appropriate treatment depends on the specific type of acne scars. Let’s explore some ways to bid adieu to those post-acne marks.
1. Atrophic or Pitted Scars
These scars occur when the body fails to produce enough collagen to heal the acne damage. They are commonly found on the face and come in three variations:
- Boxcar marks: These depressions on the skin resemble box-shaped indentations and are frequently found in areas where the skin is thicker, such as the face.
- Ice pick scars: These small, deep scars point downward towards the skin and are more challenging to treat. They are often seen on the cheeks.
- Rolling scars: Unlike the previous two types, these scars have no defined edge and give the skin a wavy appearance.
Treatment: Treating atrophic scars aims to even out the skin texture surrounding the scars. Dermatologists typically employ a two-step approach:
- The first stage involves using peels, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion, fillers, punch excision, grafting, micro-needling, and more. These treatments remove the outer layer of the skin, effectively eradicating the scars.
- The second stage focuses on minimizing discoloration caused by scar removal. Common methods include chemical peels, laser therapy, and consistent sun protection for the skin.
2. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars
Hypertrophic scars manifest as raised, lumpy marks on the skin at the site of previous acne. They are similar in size to the acne that caused them. On the other hand, keloids are larger than the acne itself and typically appear on the jaw, chest, back, and shoulders.
Treatment: The most effective treatments for these post-acne scars include steroid injections, non-ablative lasers, and surgical removal. The choice of treatment depends on the number of scars and the areas to be treated. Other common scar removal techniques include cryotherapy and the use of silicone sheets.
3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation refers to discolored patches left behind by severe acne or due to scratching or picking at acne. Fortunately, these marks typically fade over time with proper sun protection and by avoiding skin irritation.
Treatment: To expedite the fading process, chemical peels, laser therapies, and the use of hydroquinone can help lighten the scars, making them barely noticeable.
If you’re grappling with acne, it’s essential to consult a dermatologist for the best treatment options tailored to your specific scar type, skin type, and skin color. Less severe or deep acne scars can be managed at home using over-the-counter creams and retinoids under the guidance of a medical professional. However, remember to resist the urge to pop your acne, as it only worsens the situation.
By following these expert-approved treatments, you’ll be well on your way to bidding those acne scars farewell, rejuvenating your skin, and embracing a fresh, radiant complexion.