How to Prevent and Treat Acne Scars
Acne sufferers face more than one concern. There is of course the constant nuisance of the acne itself. There is also the anxiety caused by the acne scars and lesions which will render the skin an aesthetic disaster. The reason for this is that most people believe that acne is a temporary situation whereas you are stuck with acne scars for the rest of your life.
Undoubtedly there are numerous acne scar treatments in the market today which work quite well. But the downside is there are some types of acne whose scars cannot be eliminated because they run too deep. Therefore you must ensure that no scars form in the first place because you wouldn’t want to take on the emotional and financial burden of dealing with permanent scars.
What we will be discussing here are the many forms of acne scars which exist, the ways to treat them and last but not least, how to prevent them by tackling the internal causes of the condition.
Types of Acne Scars, their causes and their diagnosis
Studies show that severe acne which develops in the deeper layers of the dermis, causing nodules and cysts to form, is what mostly causes acne scars. There are other causes also like infection, cystic acne which works its way deep into the dermis and an overgrowth of skin tissues. Squeezing or popping acne can also cause scars.
It has been seen that, no matter what type of acne they have contracted, some people are more prone to get scarred than others. And occasions arise where the body itself makes a mess of its wound healing process: whether in the process of formation of new capillaries or by improper collagen deposit or in its response to the swelling or anabolic and catabolic phases; errors in any of these healing equations could lead to scarring.
Whatever may be the causes, to avert the possibility of permanent scarring, start treating your acne scars as soon as you can.
Acne scars can be of two varieties: those which come about because of skin tissue loss and those which form because of an increase in skin tissue formation.
Formation of scars because of skin tissue increase
The acne scars which form because of increased skin tissue are usually Keloids scars. Keloids scars, which tend to strike people with dark complexions, emerge when excessive collagen is produced by cells during the healing process. These scars tend to be irregularly shaped and firm and are usually smooth.
Acne scars which emerge due to skin tissue loss:
Acne spots: a discoloration of the skin to brown or red characterizes these acne scars. Acne spots usually fade away with time or with the help of topical scar treatments. Similarly, post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, which often follows acne breakouts, fades away naturally, but to quicken the process you should try MSM.
Ice-pick lesions: the name says it all. Such acne scars resemble ice on which repeated cuts have been made with an ice pick. They usually appear on the cheeks. The scars can be either deep or superficial and are more difficult to get rid of than discoloration scars.
Depressed fibrotic scarring: deep nodules leave behind this type of acne scars. They are white and rigid and are characterized by sharp margins and steep sides.
Atrophic scar macules: Acne scars of this type are small and white and are generally soft and distensible.
Boxcar scars, characterized by vertical edges and round indentations and rolling acne scars which are the result of the surface of the skin getting stuck to the subcutaneous layer are other types of acne scars.
Acne Scars and their treatments
Mostly, acne scars fade away slowly, as do Post inflammatory pigmentations but there are some which resist removal. The only way to smoothen them away is through topical treatment or surgical cosmetic intervention.
Each acne scar needs to be tackled in its special way. There are also scars which require to be treated through a combination of several eradication methods. Very many treatments exist for getting rid of scars and these include: pulsed laser technology, dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, punch techniques, collagen injections and creams.
Collagen injection is a method whereby collagen or fat is injected under the skin. This method is mostly suitable for soft scars, whether they are deep or shallow. However, it has to be kept in mind that this is a short term solution and these injections have to be administered every 6 months. Moreover, collagen injections produce some unpleasant side effects and allergic reactions may also develop.
Microdermabrasion is a scar treatment in which tiny particles are passed through a vacuum tool. The intention is to scrape the external top layer of the skin. The method stimulates and enhances the growth of new cells but is only effective in cases of mild scarring.
Laser resurfacing is a method by which the skin layer is flattened and resurfaced with the help of laser. This is done so that scars become more even with the surface of the skin and are therefore less noticeable. It has been found that newly formed acne scars respond better to laser treatment than do the old ones. However, this process can cause disagreeable side effects such as infection and an unusual reddening of the skin. At times, it can even aggravate the scars.
Punch grafting is a technique which involves the slicing of the acne scar right down to the layer of fat and then stitching it up by using a small skin graft.
Different types of scars have to be treated differently. Let us tell you about the recommended treatments in respect of the various types of acne scars. Alpha lipoic acid acne cream and MSM are excellent for use on post hyper pigmentation marks. Laser resurfacing or dermabrasion are the recommended treatments for ice pick scars. However, these scars do not respond positively to Collagen injections which should only be used on flat or thin scars. The Keloids acne scars can be smoothened with steroid injections, crytotherapy, silicone gel dressing and with pulsed laser treatment combined with carbon dioxide laser vaporization (where there is not too much thickness or too much redness on the keloid scars).
Acne Scar prevention
In the final analysis of course, the cheapest and best way of getting out of the nuisance factor of dealing with acne scars is to rid yourself of the acne condition. And the only sure and permanent way of curing your acne is by putting in place methods which would redress the internal cause of your acne. Conventional medications, topical or over the counter acne treatments or steroids really don’t help.
When you are able to correct the deep rooted internal factors that really are the cause of your acne formation, you will automatically be free of any acne scarring and also free of the never ending expenses that you incur in taking treatment for its removal.
You must understand that although acne develops on the surface of the skin, as do the scars that appear as a result of the acne, acne is not a skin problem. It forms because of flaws in your internal balance deep inside. Acne and consequently acne scarring are both caused by problems which are wholly internal.
You yourself can do away with the acne scars and do this even before they form by going to the root of the problem deep inside you. This way you will stop the very process of acne formation and be able to live your life free of acne and consequently, of acne scars as well. It will give an impetus to your existence as you will not be burdened by the emotional load of having to carry disfiguring scars on your face.
Mike Walden is a medical researcher, certified nutritionist, health consultant and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, “Acne No More- Open The Door To an Acne Free Life”. Mike has written dozens of holistic health articles and has been featured in ezines and print magazines, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide.