Acne scars are somewhat of a mystery
It's no secret that acne can leave behind some pretty ugly scars. And as annoying as those scars may be, they're also a bit of a mystery.
While they can be caused by inflammation, they aren't the same as pimple marks. Pimple marks are raised red spots that disappear within days or weeks after popping a pimple. But acne scars are different—they leave behind indented marks that may stick around for months or even years.
What are the types of acne scars?
There are typically 3 different types of acne scars, and some are easier to treat than others.
Ice Pick Scars
Ice pick scars are deep, sharply depressed scars that look like tiny holes. They can be caused by acne, burns, or other injuries. The skin's surface is left pitted and textured. The depth of the scar is typically greater than two millimeters.
Boxcar scars are flat, depressed scars with sharp edges and a steep border. They can be caused by acne or burns, but they're most commonly seen after chickenpox or smallpox. The depth of the scar is typically between one and two millimeters.
Rolling scars are shallow depressions with blurred edges and a smooth surface that look like they were carved out with a knife (hence their name). They're common after acne, especially if you had severe acne as a teenager or if you picked at your blemishes. Rolling scars are usually less than one millimeter deep but can sometimes be deeper.
What is the most common acne scar?
The ice pick scar is the most prevalent type of acne scar. This type of scar is typically elevated and red. This scar is the tiniest of them all, and the depression it leaves behind can be round, oval, or rectangular. In most cases, the depth of these scars is between 1 and 3 millimeters. Scars that look like ice picks are usually the result of very deep cysts that are difficult to treat using topical treatments.
What are the ways to treat acne scars?
There are a variety of treatments depending on the type of acne scars you have and how long you have had them.
Here are some ways to treat acne scars:
Soft tissue fillers
By injecting collagen, fat, or another material under the skin, skin surface scars that are indentations can be changed to appear less noticeable and plumper. The goal is to camouflage the spots to the greatest extent possible. Because the effects are only temporary, they must undergo repeated treatments to sustain them. When utilizing this method, there is very little chance that the patient will experience a change in their skin tone.
This treatment is becoming increasingly popular and is typically applied to scars previously treated with dermabrasion therapy. However, individuals with darker skin or a previous medical history of keloids have a greater risk of experiencing adverse consequences due to this therapy.
In most cases, this procedure is reserved for treating more severe scarring. Your doctor will remove the top layer of skin using an instrument such as a brush that is moved in a circular motion. Scarring from deeper acne lesions may become less noticeable, whereas scarring on the skin's surface may completely vanish. Scarring and other changes in the appearance of the skin are two examples of potentially significant side effects.
By rolling a device studded with needles over the skin's surface, this therapy aims to stimulate the creation of collagen in the underlying tissue. This straightforward and secure technique may help to reduce acne scars. In addition, the risk of skin darkening is exceedingly minimal. However, because of the minor results, you might need more treatment.
There are times when acne scars cause the skin to pucker. Botox works by relaxing the skin around the injection site, which may help improve the appearance of acne scars. However, because the effects are only temporary, it is required to undergo further treatments on a regular basis in order to sustain them.
Red Light therapy
Red light therapy is a form of visible light that penetrates the skin's surface to stimulate collagen production and reduce inflammation. It's also known as photobiomodulation or photobiostimulation because it promotes cellular growth.
Acne breakouts that are mild to moderate are treated with visible light treatment. Both red and blue light therapies are categories of phototherapy. Phototherapy is surprisingly successful for treating acne lesions, particularly acne brought on by bacterial or inflammatory inflammation.
Are acne scars permanent?
Most acne scars will fade over time. Depending on how bad your acne is and how long you've had it, this could take anywhere from six months to a year. Most people notice their acne scars improving in the first few months after treatment has finished.
But some scars from severe acne can be permanent or even worsen over time, especially if you pick at them or squeeze them (this is called "self-trauma").
If you have been told that your acne scars are permanent, they have been there for at least two years without improvement.
Do acne scars get worse as we get older?
Acne scars can get worse as we get older. The main reason behind this is that the skin loses its elasticity and firmness with age. The skin also becomes thinner, drier, and more fragile.
Acne scars are the result of an inflammatory process. This means they are part of the healing process, in which the body tries to fix damaged tissue by making new collagen fibers and elastin, which give our skin flexibility and elasticity. However, if these new collagen fibers are not correctly aligned at the wound site, they can create a scar.
As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, so our skin loses its ability to repair itself properly after an injury. The result is that acne scars become more visible and often become more noticeable as we grow older.
As you can see, red light therapy is a great way to treat acne scars. While it's not for everyone and may not work for very old scars, it is a safe and effective option for many people. We recommend that you try this treatment method before other options to judge whether it works well with your skin type and acne scars.