Whether you’re a teenager or adult, acne can make you feel self-conscious about your skin. It might seem that no matter what you do, breakouts occur, leaving you with blemishes that look raw and angry. To add insult to injury, certain types of acne can also end up scarring your face. You not only have to deal with fighting the blemishes, but are then left with a painful reminder of it on your skin.
Acne might be difficult to treat and live with, and the scars might be even worse. But there are a few treatment options that can make your scars less noticeable, improving your self-confidence and helping you to feel better about your skin.
Acne that Scars
Pimples, blemishes and acne come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not all types of acne lead to scarring. Generally, the more mild your pimple problem is, the less likely it is to leave a scar.
Common types of acne include whiteheads and blackheads, papules and pustules, and cystic acne. It’s typically the cystic acne that leaves the scars. When you suffer from cystic acne, nodules develop on your skin. These nodules are usually full of pus. They appear red and inflamed. Most notably, the nodules form beneath the skin, which makes them more painful than your basic whitehead or blackhead and which makes them more likely to leave a long-lasting scar.
Types of Scars
Acne can leave its mark on your face in several ways. Mild or moderate types of acne might leave a bit of discoloration after the blemish fades away. In many cases, the discoloration fades away, too, as time goes on. It’s worth keeping in mind that discoloration can be permanent, especially if you’re in the habit of picking at your pimples.
More severe acne scars typically take one of two forms. Some scars are raised above the surface of the skin while others form on a lower level. The raised scars are often called hypertrophic, as additional tissue is created by the body in an attempt to heal. A hypertrophic acne scar can also be called a keloid scar, as the collagen in the skin keeps producing tissue, even when not needed. The resulting scar is bigger than the original wound created by the blemish.
Atrophic scars develop when the acne has caused some amount of tissue loss. When a person has atrophic acne scarring, it can look as though there is a small hole in the skin. One form of atrophic acne scar is called an icepick scar, since it looks like someone pushed the tip of a pick into the skin. Another type of atrophic scar is called a boxcar scar. It usually has a round shape with steep sides.
It can be difficult to completely remove all evidence of acne scarring from the skin. But, there are a number of things you can do to make any scars look less noticeable. If your scars are mild, you might see a considerable amount of improvement if you change some habits or start using certain products at home.
For example, exfoliating your skin on a regular basis might help reduce the depth of atrophic scars by sloughing off the top layer of dead skin cells. Exfoliation won’t produce miracle results, though. There’s also the chance that you’ll exfoliate too much, irritating your skin and making acne, and any scars, worse.
Avoiding some habits can also help reduce scars or help keep existing scars to a minimum. For example, you’ll want to avoid picking at fresh blemishes or picking at existing scars. Any bacteria on your fingertips can transfer to your skin, increasing your risk for infection or making the scars worse.
If your scars are very visible and homecare measures don’t help, an in-office treatment might be worth considering. There are several treatments that can help reduce the appearance of acne scars, such as chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion.
Some surgeons prefer laser skin resurfacing for the removal of acne scars. Certain laser treatments, such as Artisan skin resurfacing, are better suited for scar reduction than others. The Artisan laser can be either non-ablative or ablative. The non-ablative laser treatment avoids damaging the skin, which reduces the recovery period and the side effects. The ablative treatment provides a deeper treatment, but has a longer recovery time. Both options help stimulate the production of collagen in the dermis, which can smooth or reduce the look of scars.
Laser skin resurfacing treatments for acne scarring don’t provide instant results, though. In many cases, patients need a course of treatments before they see sufficient results. While the treatment doesn’t cure the scars, it can reduce them enough that you get a boost of self-confidence when it comes to your appearance.
Brevard’s only practicing, double board certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Ross Clevens, offers a number of different laser skin resurfacing treatments at his practice. He can help you determine the treatment that is best for you and that will provide the greatest improvement when it comes to your acne scars. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Clevens today by calling (321) 727-3223.