Seventeen million people in the U.S. alone suffer from acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. Even after it is treated, acne can still affect your skin, leaving spots and scarring. Thankfully, there are scar treatments available for acne marks. Pimple scars do not have to be permanent, and there are a few different ways to treat acne spots.
How to Remove Acne Scars
Scars from acne seem like a double punishment. First, you had to deal with the acne, and now you have to deal with the marks as a reminder. Acne scars are the result of inflamed blemishes, which can come from a number of things, such as dead skin and bacteria. The follicle’s walls break, which is when scarring occurs. The skin tries to quickly repair the follicle wall by making new collagen. Our skin heals the larger and deeper inflamed pores as best as it can, but often, it’s not a perfect match to our skin. Our skin can overproduce collagen as it tries to heal, which can cause an uneven or bumpy appearance on the skin’s surface.
The most serious scarring is usually caused by the more severe forms of acne. Picking at acne can increase the risk for scarring though, or you could have a genetic predisposition for acne scars. The best acne scar treatment depends on the type of acne scar.
· In some cases, your dermatologist might suggest a chemical peel. This treatment can be done right in the office. Chemical peels work to remove the outer layers of your skin. This removes the scarred surface of the skin and allows the unscarred skin below to come up to the surface. This is particularly common for acne scars on the face. There are a few options when it comes to chemical peels:
o A TCA CROSS procedure works by placing a small amount of highly concentrated TCA within an affected area. This stimulates new collagen fibers, which can reduce the appearance of acne scars.
o An Acne VI Peel stimulates the production of collagen and elastin for smoother and firmer skin.
· Laser treatments are another option. These treatments work to remove layers of skin or to stimulate the growth of collagen in the skin. Laser treatment focuses light on the top layers of skin to break up scar tissue while encouraging new, healthy skin cells to grow and replace the old scar tissue.
o Fractional laser resurfacing or Fraxel works by emitting thousands of beams that treat a fraction of the skin’s service. It penetrates deep into the skin, which activates the skin’s wound response and creates collagen.
o Erbium laser resurfacing removes the surface layer of skin. As it regenerates, new cells develop without wrinkles or acne scars that were previously there. This type does not penetrate as deeply as the Fraxel.
o PDT, or photodynamic therapy, destroys acne cells and shrinks and disables oil glands. A topical photosensitizing solution is applied to the affected area, and then the light is used to “turn on” the solution. PDT treats both active acne and acne scars.
o IPL, or intense pulsed light, treatment reduces skin discoloration. While it is similar to laser treatment, IPL releases light of many different wavelengths, while a laser focuses just one wavelength of light on your skin. IPL light is more scattered and less focused, penetrating down to the second later of the skin without harming the top layer. The light energy is converted into heat, which destroys unwanted pigment in the skin.
· Subcission is a procedure used to treat depressed acne scars. During this treatment, a small needle cuts away the fibrotic strands pulling the skin downward, which allows the skin to rise. Subcission followed by a filler such as Restylane or Juvederm can further plump up these areas of the skin. Subcission followed by PRP can also improve acne scars to a greater extent than subcission alone.
· Another option for treating acne scars is micro-needling. This treatment involves using tiny needles to break down collagen bundles responsible for scarring in the top layer of skin. Micro-needling followed by PRP results in a plumper, more even skin texture.
The best way to prevent acne scars from happening in the first place is to treat acne spots as soon as they appear. The occasional blemish can be concealed, but if you suffer from breakouts, there are plenty of acne products, both prescription and nonprescription, on the market for every type of skin to give you relief.
· Soap and water. Gently cleaning your face with soap and water twice a day may help keep your skin clear. Be sure to avoid scrubbing your face too aggressively, as this can injure the skin.
· Acne cleanser. There are many different cleansers that are designed to treat acne. They often contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. The ingredients in these cleansers kill the bacteria associated with acne and help to unclog pores. Cleansers are available for both facial acne and body acne.
· Acne cream. Some products that are available as cleansers are also available as creams. You can work with your dermatologist to find a cream or cleanser that is best suited to your skin. Topical treatments like creams and cleansers may also be used as a hormonal acne treatment.
If your skin is causing your self-esteem to suffer, there are expert ways to help fade your acne and your acne scars quickly, like chemical peels and laser treatments. Invest in a good skincare routine that treats and prevents future acne. You can speak with your dermatologist to help you find the healthiest routine for your skin and prevent acne scars before they start.