Acne affects close to 90% of adolescents. But acne isn’t just a teenage problem. Acne can persist long after adolescence, and its negative impact on patients is well documented. Studies report that many with acne feel embarrassed, self-conscious, less attractive, unhappy, more anxious and less confident.
Breakouts are tough enough, but many people are left with acne scarring, which is often permanent and disfiguring. Scarring is more common in people who have had severe inflammatory acne, and those whose family members have acne scarring. It is also more common when the sufferer has squeezed or picked at his or her acne bumps, which forces inflammation and bacteria deeper into the skin.
What causes acne scarring?
Actually, scarring is part of the normal healing process after an injury or wound, and this is also true for acne.
When a hair follicle or pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells and excess oil, and overrun with bacteria, it causes inflammation and what we call acne. Inflammation disrupts the lining of the pore or follicle and allows the bacteria to escape into the surrounding healthy tissue, causing significant inflammation and tissue destruction.
Damage to the epidermis, the top layer of skin, can result in post-acne hyperpigmentation, and shallow scars. When the damage penetrates more deeply to the dermis, the deeper skin layer that contains collagen and elastin, hair follicles and sweat glands, the resulting scars can be much deeper and more obvious. The more severe the inflammation, the worse the scar. Acne scars come in different types based on the conditions that caused the scar. Red inflamed pimples, nodules, and cysts can cause damage that the body cannot adequately repair.
Types of acne scars
Acne scars come in many colors, forms, and shapes. Discoloration of the scar may appear as pink, red, purple or brown spots. And acne scars also have different architectures. Atrophic scars sit below the rest of the skin and result from too little collagen deposition during healing.
Atrophic scars include: narrow, V-shaped ice pick scars that go deep into the skin; U shaped boxcar scars have sharp edges and are punched out in the middle; and rolling scars, which are wide depressions with irregular borders.
Then there are hypertrophic scars that sit above the surrounding skin and result from too much collagen deposition during healing.
Treatment of acne scars is a process that requires patience and motivation, but with the help of our dermatologists, you are in expert hands. Our dermatologists will listen to your concerns and create a treatment protocol specifically for you.
Acne scarring treatment options
There are many treatment options for acne scarring, including the use of vascular lasers, ablative lasers, microneedling, topical treatments, dermal fillers, subscision and even surgery in some cases. For optimal results Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery often recommend a combination of treatments and procedures.
Treating acne scars takes patience, and often requires a series of treatments over time. Persistence pays off and reduced scarring enhances your self-esteem and confidence.