What causes acne scars?
Have you ever had acne that has healed but left indentations (craters), redness, or hyperpigmentation? Those cicatrices are called "acne scars."
Mild acne that heals quickly rarely leaves scars. However, if the acne inflammation prolongs, production and degradation of collagen will be affected, resulting in atrophic scars. In the case of hyperpigmentation, the prolonged inflammation results in melanin production, resulting in dull skin and brown spots.
Types of Acne Scars and their Treatments
There are three major types of acne scars, and the appropriate treatment for each differs.
1. Atrophic scars
Atrophic scars are indentations in the skin resulting from a net destruction of collagen in the dermis layer. Inflammation destroys and alters the sebaceous glands and hair follicles; immune cells that fight acne bacteria produce enzymes that destroy the deeper layers of the skin resulting in atrophic scars.
The best treatment for atrophic scars is to increase collagen in the skin. Common treatments include chemical peels or hyaluronic acid injections. Laser resurfacing therapy helps to promote the turnover of skin tissue and stimulate collagen growth. This is achieved via photochemical, photothermal and photomechanical effects of laser.
2. Hypertrophic scars
Prolong inflammation from acne results in destruction of the deeper layer of skin, resulting in abnormal overproduction of collagen and raised scars.
3. Keloid scars
These are scar tissues that are hypertrophic and grow beyond the site of injury. There are often painful and itchy. Keloids are more common in people with allergic diseases and may have a genetic predisposition. They often recur or worsen, but treatment can alleviate symptoms.
Treatments for hypertrophic scars and keloids include:
Tranilast: An anti-allergic agent. High concentration of tranilast suppress the cell proliferation of keloid fibroblasts. It also reduces redness and itching.
Steroid ointments and tapes: Steroids are commonly used to treat a variety of ailments, but they should be used with caution. If applied to unaffected areas, they can cause redness on normal skin. When used appropriately, the anti-inflammatory effects of steroids can improve redness and itching.
Compression Therapy: Compression Therapy reduces blood flow to the scar and inhibits the proliferation of dermal fiber cells. Compression Therapy also prevents friction and irritation caused by clothing.
Steroid injections: Inject corticosteroids into the affected area. The effect may be faster and stronger than with ointments or tapes, but you may need to continue injection monthly. It may also cause indentations (dents, holes) as a side effect in the skin.
Surgical therapy: The dermatologist excise the affected area. This procedure is performed in conjunction with other treatments to prevent a recurrence. However, recurrence of keloids can occur. Continued treatment and prevention with oral and topical medications will be required.
Radiation therapy: In some cases, the dermatologist may use radiation therapy in combination with surgical treatment. Radiation has the effect of suppressing the proliferation of dermal fibrocytes in the wound and is effective in improving keloids in the early stages. However, it can also cause skin damage and hyperpigmentation as a sequela.
Once You Get Acne
Touching or popping acne can aggravate it and cause acne scars. In particular, pressing the affected area with your fingernail to release the pus inside the acne can easily lead to acne scars.
Of course, to prevent acne scars, it is important to heal the acne that has formed quickly. Instead of popping it by yourself, consult a dermatologist.
To get Acne Scar Free Skin
To prevent acne scars, it is crucial to avoid prolonged inflammation.
And once you get acne, take proper care of it and avoid aggravating the inflammation. The following are some key points to keep in mind.
1. Healthy diet A diet with a high glycemic index can cause acne. Excessive carbohydrates also cause vitamin B to be consumed a lot, which can negatively affect skin metabolism. We recommend a diet low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals such as zinc.
2. Good sleep Sleep deficiency can result in hormonal imbalance and skin metabolism will be adversely affected. Getting enough sleep can regulate the secretion of growth hormones. This could help prevent the outbreak of acne.
3. Exercise regularly Without exercise, blood flow becomes sluggish, and nutrients cannot reach the skin and other body parts. Moderate physical activity improves blood flow, which helps to deliver nutrients to the skin. It is also effective in relieving stress. In addition, moderate sweat secretion through exercise can prevent the accumulation of sebum in the pores of the skin. It is also important to take a shower after sweating to prevent dirt from accumulating on the skin.
4. Moisturize the skin Moisturized skin has a better skin barrier to protect itself from external stimuli. We especially recommend skincare products containing ceramide that reinforces skin barrier and hydrates the skin..
5. Apply a non-comedogenic sunscreen daily Exposure to UV rays can cause skin aging. It is important to use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
6. Avoid wearing heavy makeup when you have acne When you have acne, you may want to apply cosmetics over the affected area to hide it. However, most cosmetics contain artificial oil and parabens, which can aggravate acne and cause acne scars. If you have acne but want to wear makeup, put a pimple patch and apply makeup over it.
7. Switch to hypoallergenic skincare products when acne occurs Some skin care products can further irritate the skin, aggravating and prolonging acne recovery. Switch to hypoallergenic products when you have acne.
To prevent acne scars, we need to heal acne quickly without further aggravation. However, acne is a chronic disease that has multifactorial causes. It is inevitable for one to suffer from acne despite his or her best effort.
Some treatments for acne scars can be risky, with myriads of side effects.
Consult with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.
Schedule a consultation today and start your acne recovery journey today.
This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.