What Causes Acne Scarring?

Scars from acne often seem like a double punishment. First, there’s the issue of actually dealing with the nasty pimples. Then there’s the fact that you now have marks there to remind you of the issue. Despite that fact, it is not uncommon for numerous individuals to battle acne well into their adult years. Even those who are lucky enough to experience a dramatic decline in acne related symptoms over time are still often times left with an irregular skin appearance due to the onset of acne-related scarring.

Acne scars are most often the product of an inflamed lesion or blemish which occurs when the follicle, or pore, becomes engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The pore goes on to swell, causing a break in the follicle wall. If the rupture occurs near the skin’s surface, the lesion typically minor and will heal rather quickly. More serious lesions will arise, however, when there is a deeper break in the follicle wall and when infected material spills out into the dermis to destroy otherwise healthy skin tissue.

In order to repair the damage done to the dermis, the skin goes on to form new collagen fibers that provide the skin with extra strength and flexibility. Unfortunately, the finished “repair job” hardly ever looks as smooth or flawless as before the injury.

Types of Acne Scars

There are many different types of acne, some of which are more prone to scarring than others. Blackheads, whiteheads, and other non-inflamed blemishes typically don’t cause scarring because these types of lesions do not injure skin tissue. Inflammatory acne, however, such as acne cysts or nodules, are way more likely to create long-term scarring as these types of acne affect deeper layers of the skin.

There’s another type of acne scarring called hypertrophic, or keloid scarring, that happens if the body produces too much collagen, resulting in the creation of a raised mass of tissue on the skin’s surface. Acne also is known to lead to atrophic, or depressed, scars as well, which develop when there is a loss of tissue. Ice pick and boxcar scars are two examples of atrophic scars.

Various factors can make an individual more prone to developing acne scars, such as:

Genetics: If your family has a history of acne scarring, you are more likely to also experience the issue.

Non-Treatment: Individuals who do not treat their acne sooner rather than later are more likely to scar.

Picking and Touching: Picking at acne causes trauma to the skin that is more likely to result in scarring and prolong the healing process. Case in point: DO NOT pick, prod, or even touch the skin!

Avoiding Acne Scars

To go about avoiding acne scars, there are many steps that can be taken. First and foremost, treat acne as soon as it develops because the best thing you can do is to get all acne under control quickly and effectively before it spreads further or gets worse.

Next, always pass up the temptation to pick or squeeze any pimples as doing so can force debris deeper into the dermis, spreading an infection to other tissue and worsening inflammation. Picking at scabs should also be avoided because scabs are a skin’s natural “bandage” to protect any wound as it heals. Hence, picking a scab off a wound before it is ready prolongs the healing process and increases chances of scarring.

Even with the most careful treatment, however, acne scars can and will develop. Luckily, there are many various procedures that can help with avoiding acne scars and help avoid dire effects on one’s self-esteem, confidence, and overall quality of life due to the appearance of acne scarring.

Target and immediately treat active acne lesions with some of these effective treatment plans that can improve skin texture and reduce acne scarring:

Chemical Peels: An acid-based solution is applied topically to either the entire face or just in areas of pitted scarring to remove the outer layer of skin and stimulate collagen repair. Multiple sessions are necessary to optimize results.

Laser Resurfacing: A fractional laser delivers pixelated columns of laser heat in a controlled and predictable manner to either heat the skin or to remove the skin to elicit scar remodeling. It is best to ask an expert about which laser would best fit your needs and lifestyle, as the number of recommended treatments and the amount of downtime involved often varies.

Dermal Fillers: Injectable hyaluronic acid like Belotero, Juvederm or Restylane is injected into depressions in the skin from acne scarring to help smoothen out the skin texture. Since dermal fillers are temporary, they will need to be done via multiple sessions to maximize scar repair.

A consult with a board-certified cosmetic physician can determine how to customize numerous options for both you and your skin. To learn about more ways of avoiding acne scars or to schedule a consultation to discuss further options– including various scar removal treatment plans— contact Epione, one of the most comprehensive, state of the art laser and aesthetic surgery centers of its kind in the world specializing in the most current technology available for skin, hair, and body contouring. Our staff is dedicated to providing all clients with the highest level of personal attention and care. Schedule a consultation today!