Acne facial scars affect thousands of people around the world. While acne is prevolent in adolescence, their scars can make a permanent mark on your appearance and self-esteem.
Acne scars, like all scars, result from a wound or injury. They contribute to the skin’s normal healing process. While superficial wounds heal without leaving a scar, anything that damages the dermis will create a scar. Inflamed lesions (papules, pustules, or cysts) are what cause acne scars.
There are many types of acne facial scars and treating them depends on their characteristics.
Ice pick scars, as the name implies, are deep and narrow. They cause the skin to look as if it has been pierced by a sharp instrument. Some may look like large, open pores. These usually develop after an infection from a cyst or other deep inflamed blemish. The most effective treatment of ice pick scars is the punch technique. This surgery literally takes out the scar and sews up the wound.
Boxcar scars are wide round or oval indentations with steep vertical sides. These occur when an inflammatory breakout destroys collagen and tissue is lost. The most suitable treatments for boxcar scars are punch excision or elevation, dermal fillers, and laser resurfacing.
Rolling scars create “wave-like” undulations across the skin–they are most effectively treated with subcision (detaching the scar from deeper tissue, which allows a pool of blood to form under the scar and brings it up level to the skin’s surface).
Hypertrophic or keloid scars are raised and very red and although they can appear on the face, it is more frequent that they appear on other areas of the body. These types of scars often grow larger than the original wound. They develop because of an overproduction of collagen which can occur during acne breakouts. The most common treatments of these types of scars are steroid (cortisone) creams, tapes, or injections which can shrink and flatten the scar. Laser technology is also being tried on these types of scars.
The best way to prevent acne scarring is to reduce the inflammatory breakouts as much as possible. Also, do not pick, scratch or squeeze pimples. This only forces bacteria deeper into the dermis and spreads the infection to other cells. If you do get a scab, do not pick at it. A scab is the skin’s natural “bandage”. It protects the wound as it heals. Picking a scab off a wound before it is ready prolongs the healing process and raises chances of scarring.
You may develop acne scars even if you are doing everything in your power not to let this happen. Luckily, there are many treatments that can minimize the appearance of scarring. If you’re worried about scarring, discuss one of the many treatments with your doctor.
The above information about acne facial scars does not substitute medical advice given by a health professional.