Scarring on the skin results after trauma and is part of the body’s natural healing process. Of course, this is no consolation to anyone fighting a lifelong battle with acne scarring — acne scars are unsightly, embarrassing and just plain frustrating.
Even if you’ve managed to clear up your acne, scars can remain, marring your skin and eroding your confidence. There is hope, however, for both treating existing acne scars and preventing future scarring. Here’s what you need to know about what causes acne scarring and what you can do about it.
Why do acne scars occur?
Scars result from damaged skin tissue, and acne scars are no different. These dark marks tend to occur in two main ways. When the skin ruptures as a result of an inflamed, oil-filled pore, the blemish occurs deep in the skin and will often leave a mark. If, however, a more superficial pimple is broken by someone squeezing or pick at it, a scar often forms as well. In both cases, the area may become infected and as the wound heals, the skin’s collagen forms scar tissue. In some cases, you’ll see raised scar tissue, but in others, a loss of tissue could result in depressions, like pockmarks in the skin.
How do I treat my acne scars? Regardless of the number or severity of scars you suffer, there are several treatment options to explore, including:
- Cortisone, in the form of shots or topical creams, which reduces inflammation.
- Products with vitamin C, kojic acid, retinol, or other ingredients that fade dark
spots left behind by acne scarring.
- Injectable fillers, such as Juvederm or Restylane, that contain hyaluronic acid.
- Laser treatments to stimulate collagen growth or smooth scarred areas
Once you’ve treated existing scars, you’ll want to ensure that new ones don’t form. There are several common methods for preventing acne scars.
Treating your acne is step number one, especially if you have cystic acne or other serious, skin-damaging conditions. Opt for an acne-treating system that provides a cleanser, topical treatment, moisturizer and night cream. You also have to force yourself to stop picking at or squeezing — as tempting as it is, it only adds to the problem. Protecting your skin from the sun is also important, especially if you’re prone to hyperpigmentation. Use a moisturizer that features a broad spectrum sunblock (UVA/UVB) and stay out of the sun as much as possible. And if your acne is severe and reoccurring, visit a dermatologist for expert advice.
Just like acne and many other skin conditions, there’s no cure for acne scarring, but there are effective ways to treat and prevent the condition.