What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Acne Scars
- Whats the best makeup I can use to cover my acne scars?
- Which in-office procedure is best for me?
- Do acne scar removal treatments hurt?
- What will my skin look like right after the procedure?
- How long will it take my skin to recover from the procedure?
- Which over-the-counter medication is best for me?
- How can I prevent scars from returning?
- Are acne treatment procedures covered by insurance?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Acne is common very normal and so are acne scars. There are treatments for acne, and there are treatments for acne scars. Some choose to just live with their acne scars while others decide that the scars interrupt their daily lives too much. You can decide to get treatment, or decide not to. You have options and youre in control.
Stay in touch with your dermatologist and any other healthcare providers you see and make sure you ask about treatment options , raise any questions and voice any concerns. You and your doctors will work together to make decisions best suited for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/23/2020.
What Causes Acne Scars And Dark Marks
The spots that linger after a pimple has healed are caused by inflammation that has disrupted the skin’s natural healing process. “When your skin is opened up and then closes back together, you can get abnormal pigmentation, texture, and tone that looks different from the rest of your skin. Sometimes the broken blood vessels that remain after an acne lesion fades can result in a mark,” says Dr. Bowe. For a number of people who are able to refrain from picking, inflamed pimples or blemishes can still leave a dark brown or red mark but these naturally fade over the course of a few months, notes dermatologist Heather C. Woolery-Lloyd, MD.
Since it’s pretty difficult to determine what causes one person to scar more than another, the best way to avoid scarring is to treat acne with a great skin care routine and that means you need to resist picking, poking, or touching a pimple.
Some acne marks and scars are completely within your control while others are pre-determined. Aside from genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can make dark marks and scars worse. Spending time in the sun is a big one, and, to reiterate one last time, every dermatologist agrees that picking or squeezing pimples creates further inflammation and can ultimately lead to more damage.
Now that we know where acne scars and dark spots come from, let’s dive into how to treat themstarting with acne scars.
Treat Acne As Soon As It Develops
The best thing you can do is get acne under control as soon as possible. Begin treating it right away, and see your healthcare provider immediately if your acne isn’t getting any better with over-the-counter acne treatments.
Quick treatment helps to keep breakouts to a minimum and prevents acne from developing into a more severe form. Prevent pimples and you’ll prevent scarring.
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Removing Pitted Or Raised Scars
How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars Fast
Mild acne scarring can stick around for months if left but with the right ingredients and treatments, you can speed this process up to a couple weeks or even a few days. Its a good idea to start treating acne scars as soon as possible, the longer you leave them, the harder it is to get rid of acne scars. Thats why weve suggested using the products listed above, which contain Vitamin C, Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol.
Severe acne scarring and pitted scars tend to be permanent unless you opt for in-clinic treatments. Some of these procedures weve suggested, which include microdermabrasion, chemical peels and micro-needling, can help to get ride of acne scars quickly, while others can also take weeks or months for you to see improvement.
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Acne Scarring: The 6 Best Treatments
Even after you’ve gotten rid of a stubborn pimple, you may be left with an unpleasant reminder in the form of a scar. These scars form when the dermis is damaged, typically from picking at or popping a zit. Acne scars may not be as physically irritating as acne itself, but they can reduce ones confidence and linger for years. Its important to find the best treatment to get rid of those pesky pigmentations as quickly as possible.
Just as there are several effective treatments for acne, there are a number of ways to get rid of acne scars. We wont list every single method, brand, or product here, but we will go over the 6 best treatments for acne scarring.
Who Gets Acne Scars
Some people are more likely to see scars when their acne clears. The risk increases when a person:
Has inflammatory acneThese often include acne cysts and nodules. This type of acne tends to penetrate deep into the skin, which damages the skin.
Delays or does not treat inflammatory acneThe longer a person has inflammatory acne, the greater the risk of scarring.
Picks, squeezes, or pops acneThis increases inflammation, which increases the risk of scarring.
Has a blood relative who developed acne scarsGenes play a large role.
Although we know what increases a persons risk of developing acne scars, it is not possible to predict who will develop acne scars. Even people who have all the risk factors may not scar.
It is, however, possible to prevent acne scars with effective acne treatment.
Waiting to treat acne until it becomes severe can lead to extensive scarring.
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Understanding How Acne Scars Form
Scarring is, unfortunately, a common outcome of acne. Acne scars occur as a result of the bodys inflammatory response against acne-causing bacteria. They also occur when acne lesions are picked at or squeezed.
If left unchecked, the inflammatory response can damage dermal fat, collagen and elastin, all of which gives skin volume and structure.
During the healing process the skin produces new collagen that is necessary to repair this tissue damage. Whether or not you develop acne scars will be determined by the type of acne you have, the severity and how its treated.
Is Acne Scar Painful
Acne scars may be painful in the initial phases due to residual inflammation. Once they form fully, they may not be painful, but they may be firm in their consistency.
Usually, except for comedones or mild acne, moderate and severe acne that may manifest in the form of red bumps or papules, pus-filled pimples or pustules, nodules and cysts may cause pain and result in scarring.
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What Are The Types Of Acne Scars And What Do They Look Like
If you have acne scarring, youre likely to have more than one of the following types. Rarely does someone have just boxcar scars, or just keloid scars, etc. Each of these can be treated with varying degrees of success.
Atrophic or Depressed Scarring:
- Ice pick: An ice pick tool has a wide shaft that narrows down to the tip. This type of acne scar resembles the tool in that its a hole thats wide at the top and narrows to a point as it goes deeper into the skin. Such an indentation is common and also one of the most challenging scars to heal. Youll find them on your forehead and upper cheeks, where your skin is thinner.
- Rolling: These scars are typically found on the lower cheeks and jaw, where your skin is thicker. The indents have sloping edges that makes the skin look uneven and wavy.
- Boxcar: Boxcar scars are indents that have sharper edges. Those edges go down deep into the skin. These scars are common on the lower checks and jaw.
Hypertrophic or keloid scars: These lesions of scar tissue rise off the skin. Theyre caused when fibrous tissues, the collagen, in the region of the skin overgrow. These scars are usually found on the chest, back and shoulders and jaw line and can be itchy, tender or painful.
Does Laser Acne Scar Treatment Work
Laser treatments are sometimes given to treat acne scars and work by resurfacing the top layer of the skin. Lasers produce monochromatic light, which stimulates new elastin and collagen production. Laser resurfacing can reduce the appearance of scars, but not get rid of them completely. Its very important to apply sunscreen before and after a laser treatment to prevent further damage and scarring to the skin. Most people need several treatments to see results, and laser therapy may require some lifestyle changes in order to be completely effective. Talking with a healthcare professional can help determine whether or not laser and resurfacing therapies are right for you.
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How To Smooth Indented Acne Scars On Your Skin
Most everyone will experience some sort of breakouts, blackheads or clogged pores as teenagers. Unfortunately, some people also experience more severe cystic and nodular acne. This is the kind that can permanently damage the skin and cause indented acne scars that last a lifetime. As an esthetician and skin care expert, a common question I get is, How can I smooth out the indents in my skin from acne scars?
Fortunately, there are many things you can do at home for depressed acne scars and indents in your skin. If you choose to seek treatment from a dermatologist or cosmetic professional, you have even more options. A home care regimen should focus on exfoliation, collagen regeneration, and sun protection. When used regularly, this combination can dramatically create a smoother texture with fewer visible indentations. The sooner you start it, the better.
Note: For any other types of skin indents other than indented scars from acne, whether its lines, wrinkles, large pores or chicken pox scars, the protocol is actually pretty much the same. Regardless of the cause, all skin indentations benefit from smoothing the skins texture.
What Can You Do If A Pimple Leaves A Real Scar
Pitted, indented scars cannot be treated with a skincare product. Dermal fillers can plump them up, however. For best results, combine with AHA or BHA peels or a series of fractional laser treatments. Ask a dermatologist for advice. The important thing is to never pick your spots to reduce the risk of permanent scars.
Essential Routine for red spots and / or acne scars
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What Causes Acne Scars
When acne breakouts penetrate the skin deeply, they damage the skin and the tissue beneath it. As the acne clears, the body tries to repair this damage.
During the healing process, the body produces collagena substance that gives the skin support. If the body produces too little or too much collagen, you will see a scar.
The type of scar depends on how much collagen your body makes.
Depressed acne scars: If the body produces too little collagen, depressions or pits form as the skin heals.
Raised acne scars: Sometimes the body produces too much collagen as it tries to heal the skin and underlying tissue. When this happens, a person develops a raised acne scar. This type of acne scar is more common in people who have skin of color like African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.
Even when we do our best to prevent acne scars, some people scar. There are many treatment options, which can significantly diminish depressed and raised acne scars.
ReferencesJacob CI et al. Acne scarring: A classification system and review of treatment options. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001 45:109-17.
Riveria AE. Acne scarring: A review and current treatment modalities. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008 59:659-76.
Thiboutot, D et al. New insights into the management of acne: An update from the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne Group. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009 60:5 S1-S50.
Acne Scars: Diagnosis And Treatment
Laser skin resurfacingLaser treatments Vascular-specific lasers target blood vessels and can help lighten flat or raised scars that are pink or purple and help flatten raised scars, Retinol -which is a derivative of vitamin A- Retinol is a fantastic acne fading antioxidant, might help too.The treatment for acne scars can vary according to the type of scar, Fresh gel is always best, Atrophic scars can further be of two types icepick scars that form as small holes in the skin and boxcar scars that Alternatively, but soothes swollen skin, It also works on , It stimulates the skin to heal itself from the indented scars, You should repeat the process to decrease the scars appearance gradually,Fillers: Your dermatologist may recommend fillers to treat deep-pitted scars, It doesnt just help heal damaged tissue, such as those containing azelaic acid or hydroxyl acids, It also stimulates proper blood circulation, Make sure you always clean the dermaroller before using
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Things Your Skin Is Trying To Tell You And How To Respond
Fillers A substance such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, or fat can be used to “fill out” certain types of acne scars. Since fillers are eventually absorbed into your skin, youll have to repeat filler injections, usually every few months, depending on the substance used.
Punch excisions This type of skin surgery removes acne scars by individually excising, or cutting out, the scar. The hole left by the incision can be repaired with stitches or a skin graft. A skin graft uses a small piece of normal skin to fill in an area of scarred skin. Bruising can occur for one to two weeks after the procedure.
Microneedling Also called collagen induction therapy, this procedure involves pricking the skin repeatedly with tiny needles to stimulate the growth of new collagen. This can reduce the appearance of scars. Microneedling can improve the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and fine lines. Skin redness may last a few days, according to the AAD.
What To Do First
Acne scars are created when skin tissue is damaged. Doing things like picking at and popping pimples can definitely damage your skin and cause scarring. But even if you’re really careful with your skin, scars can still develop.
Severe blemishes, those that are very inflamed, are more likely to scar. And for people who are very prone to scarring, even minor blemishes can leave scars.
If you have noticed some scarring, there are a few things you can do. First things firstacne needs to be brought under control. If you haven’t seen a dermatologist yet, do it.
Don’t waste time using over-the-counter products. If acne is scarring your skin, getting on a prescription acne treatment ASAP will help minimize scarring.
If you’re already being treated by a dermatologist, follow their directions exactly and let them know if you have any concerns. Once your skin is fairly clear, then you can decide on what steps to take next for treating your scars.
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Related Resources For Acne Scars
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
How Do You Get Rid Of Acne Scars
Getting rid of acne scars will most likely require a combination of treatment methods. To reduce the appearance of mild scars, home remedies and OTC medications may work. Some acne scars will go away on their own within several months. More severe cases of scarring may require oral or topical prescription medications and treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser resurfacing.
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Choose The Time To Use Scar Cream
The night before going to bed is considered the most appropriate time for you to apply cream to treat pitted scars. Because this is the time when the cream will easily penetrate into the skin and not be affected by outside influences to achieve the best effect.
Treating pitted scars is a long and arduous process. Hopefully, the information about 12 types of pitted scar cream above will help you choose the right product to avoid losing money and still not getting any results. Wish you to regain the youthfulness of your skin effectively and safely.