Mild to moderate pimples don’t leave scars on the face like acne does. Unlike pimples, acne is a disorder that cannot be prevented alone by good diet, exercise and hygiene.
What should you do if you have acne scars?
Types of Scars
There are seven types of scars divided into three groups; atrophic, raised and discoloration.
1. Atrophic Scars – Atrophic scars form when the skin doesn’t release enough collagen to repair the damage. They are also called indented scars because they look like dents or pits.
• Ice Pick: This scar looks like a deep pit or punctured holes on the skin.
• Boxcar: These scars can be deep or shallow and are angular in shape. The edges look defined.
• Rolling: They make the skin look wavy. Rolling scars are usually shallow and wide.
2. Raised Scars – Raised scars are a result of having too much collagen unlike atrophic scarring. They are called raised scars because they look like bumps.
3. Hypertrophic or Keloid – These scars are less common than indented scars and are usually the result of severe acne cases. They are lumpy and raised scar tissues.
4. Discoloration – Discoloration or pigmentation is not a scar. This happens when there is an excess or lack of melanin present during the healing process
5. Hyperpigmentation – This happens when there is too much melanin while the acne heals. Red or dark marks called macules are left by the pimples. They can fade over time.
6. Hypopigmentation – This is the opposite of hyperpigmentation. Few melanin are present while acne is healing. The resulting area looks lighter than the rest.
7. Erythema – This causes permanent redness because the capillaries near the surface of the skin are dilated or damaged.
Be realistic with your expectations when it comes to scar treatment. Scars are pretty much permanent but they can be improved with some procedures.
The best way to treat acne scars is to prevent them especially if you still have active acne. Follow the acne regimen treatment prescribed by the dermatologist. Don’t pop your pimples by yourself. Extraction can be done by a professional aesthetician or dermatologist.
The dermatologist has to assess what type of scars you have before recommending a procedure.
Indented scars can be improved through dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, hyaluronic acid, gelatin matrix, collagen fat implants, intense pulsed light and skin needling. Mild scars can be treated using microdermabrasion where the outer layer of skin is removed so that it can regenerate. Surgical procedures should be done by a dermatologist because it involves incising the scars then raising the skin tissue. Some procedures need skin grafting for bigger holes on the skin. Icepick scars are the most difficult to treat.
Hypertrophic scars can be improved through the following procedures: topical steroids, silicone gels dressings, intralesional steroid injections, skin needling, surgical revision, and cryotherapy. Injections are intended to shrink the bumps on the skin.
Discoloration gets better over time. But you can also use exfoliation to speed up the process. If that doesn’t work, try microdermabrasion, laser treatment or chemical peel. Erythema can be treated with topical medication for vasodilation or a laser treatment.