If you came across this post because you are dealing with acne scars, you are not alone. Lots of people have acne scars. Acne often goes away after puberty, but it can leave unsightly scars behind. Depending on severity, these acne scars can prevent us from feeling confident in our own skin.
Acne marks vs acne scars
First, let us make things clear. Acne marks are different from acne scars. Acne marks are marks that are darker than the surrounding skin. These are left behind when a pimple disappears. The cause of these dark spots is melanin, the same pigment that makes your skin become dark under the sun. Most of the time, they will eventually fade with time. Using the correct creams and taking care of your skin can make them heal faster. At any rate, patience is key.
Acne scars, on the other hand, are the result of damage to the internal structure under the skin. These are often the result of trauma to the site; picking at pimples or popping them. But sometimes the acne is so severe that it results in damage anyway, even if you take care of yourself. Estimates show that about 30% of people with moderate to severe acne will get some form of acne scarring.
In general, scars are formed when the skin is injured. The body rushes to form collagen fibers at the site of injury in an attempt to close the open wound. Because of this healing process, the new skin is produced quickly, in a haphazard manner. This causes the texture and color to be different from the rest of your skin.
Because young scars respond best to treatment, it is advisable to treat them early.
The 4 types of acne scars
Rolling acne scars: These kinds of scar has a wavy texture and looks like hills and valleys. It occurs when the skin is pulled by bands of tissue under the skin’s surface and is the result of long-term inflammatory acne. These scars can sometimes disappear when you stretch them because they are generally shallower than the other scars. They become more obvious as we get older when the skin becomes less elastic. Although creams are popular, micro needling is known to be highly effective against this form of scarring. It promotes the generation of collagen and elastin, which improve the texture of the skin.
Boxcar scars: These are broad depressions, but with edges that are more defined than rolling scars. They look like someone poked their fingernails into your skin. Scar tissue under the skin pulls the overlaying skin downwards, causing the shape. They are usually caused by inflammatory acne. These can be treated effectively using micro needling.
Ice-pick scars: These are deep, narrow pits in your skin. They look like as if someone hit a rock with an ice pick repeatedly. They happen because your skin loses collagen underneath the skin, which then causes the skin to collapse, leaving a depression. Because they tend to be deeper, they can be the hardest to treat. Microneedling promotes regeneration of collagen under the pits, tackling the very issue that causes the scarring. With each session, the scarring will reduce and get less obvious. Usually, it will take at least 6 sessions of micro needling in order to see a clear improvement.
Keloids: These are thick, firm, lumpy bumps that come out of your skin. They look pink or red and are often itchy. These bumps are formed because the body tries to heal itself but ends up overdoing it. Some people are simply more prone to getting keloids due to genetics. Cutting away the keloid only makes it grow back, sometimes bigger than before. Thus, treatment is mostly limited to using creams and steroid injections. Microneedling is also an option, but effectiveness will depend on the size, shape, and severity of the scar.
Fortunately, there are treatment options such as lasers and chemical peels available to reduce these scars. One of the most promising treatments is micro-needling, which is a safe and proven way to treat acne scars.