One of the most frustrating things about acne is the scarring that it can cause. Acne scars are the stubborn marks left on your skin after an acne breakout. These annoying imperfections can be present on the skin for years without treatment.
But acne scarring doesn’t have to be permanent. With the right skincare regime and cosmetic treatments, you can get rid of acne scars.
In this guide, we’ll explore the causes of acne scars, the different types, and the best acne scarring treatments and at-home remedies.
What causes acne scars?
Acne scars are caused by damage to the skin and tissue as a result of acne. Research shows that 95% of people who experience acne are left with some scarring. But several factors contribute to the severity of acne scarring, including:
Genetics – if you have a history of acne scarring in your family, there’s a higher chance that you’ll also develop acne scars.
Infection due to bacteria exposure – Picking at acne bumps can increase the risk of infection and more prominent scars.
Inflamed acne – this includes cystic acne and nodules, which are usually quite painful. These types of swollen acne can damage the skin and cause scars.
Untreated acne – when acne is not treated quickly, the prolonged presence of acne increases the possibility of scarring.
Types of acne scars
Acne scarring has different types, and each one requires a different treatment. So before you can work out the best way to get rid of acne scars on your face, you need to identify which type you have.
Atrophic or Depressed Acne Scars
This type of scar happens when the skin does not produce enough collagen as it heals. Due to the lack of collagen, the scars form depressions or pits.
These scar types are usually wider and have sharp edges. They can also be U-shaped, where the edges go deep down to the skin.
Rolling scars have round, sloping edges that are usually quite wide in size. This type of scarring typically occurs on the lower cheeks and jaw area.
Ice Pick Scars
This V-shaped acne scar has a narrow bottom that goes deep into the skin. Ice pick acne scars are usually deeper than rolling scars or boxcars.
Hypertrophic Acne Scars
This type of raised scar happens when the skin produces too much collagen during the healing process. Some hypertrophic acne scars don’t show any discolouration, while others have a slightly reddish or brownish colour.
Keloid scars are similar to hypertrophic scars, only much thicker. It’s caused by fibrous scar tissue overgrowing. Keloids usually have a pretty noticeable discolouration and are slightly tender.
Cosmetic treatments to remove acne scars
Topical creams and over-the-counter treatments can help active acne, but most people require professional treatments to reduce and eliminate acne scars. If you’re suffering from deep-pitted acne scars or textured skin, there are a number of treatments that can help.
A Chemical Peel is a versatile treatment recommended for a range of skin concerns. It has three types, each depending on the severity of your acne scarring: light, medium, and deep chemical peel.
The treatment involves the application of a chemical solution that will peel off the outermost layer of the skin to make way for the new skin underneath.
A 2010 clinical study showed that lighter chemical peels are more effective at controlling acne, while medium and deeper peels are effective at treating mild to moderate acne scarring.
Laser Resurfacing does not use any chemical exfoliants. Instead, it uses laser energy to remove the outermost layer of the skin. The laser energy also heats the layers of the skin to encourage new collagen production and stimulate the body’s natural healing process. As a result, acne-scarred skin appears smoother and more even-toned.
There are lots of different types of Laser Resurfacing and some are more suitable for certain skin types than others.
ACTION II ERBIUM & AcuPulse CO2 FRACTIONAL LASER
Fractional laser treatments target the scar tissue to remove the pigmented cells under the skin’s surface. It can reduce the appearance of acne scarring while improving skin texture and tone. This type of laser treatment is particularly effective for boxcar and ice-pick scars. Optimal results are typically achieved after several sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
PicoSure is a gentler laser treatment that uses concentrated short bursts of laser energy to target scar tissue. The damaged cells are broken apart into tiny pieces that are naturally absorbed by the body. There is less downtime involved with this laser treatment. Your clinician will recommend a series of sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart depending on your skin type, the severity of scarring, and other factors.
Revlite Laser Peel
The Revlite laser peel is a non-ablative treatment that uses photoacoustic technology to heat the skin and trigger the body’s natural healing process. The targeted thermal damage causes a boost in the production of collagen and elastin, with acne scars becoming less visible over time and the skin appearing smoother and more even-toned. A series of 2-3 sessions spaced 4-8 weeks apart typically provide optimal results. The Revlite laser peel is only suitable for fairer skin types.
This skin treatment involves the use of very thin, tiny needles to penetrate the skin and encourage collagen production. Microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy. As the skin produces more collagen, the appearance of acne scars is significantly reduced. A topical anaesthetic is usually applied before the procedure to minimise any discomfort.
For more than a decade, Dermal Fillers have been one of Australia’s most popular cosmetic treatments. The treatment works by filling the atrophic scar tissue with hyaluronic acid to add volume to the skin once again. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar that naturally occurs in the body.
A 2010 clinical trial showed high patient satisfaction following dermal filler treatment for acne scars. One month after treatment, 58% of patients rated the results as “excellent”, with the remaining 42% reporting “good” results.
Dermal Fillers last for 6 to 18 months in the skin. So to maintain the results, you will require repeat treatments.
How to prevent acne scars
Prevention is always better than cure. While there are many ways to treat acne scars, preventing it in the first place will save you a lot of trouble.
Here are some ways to prevent acne scars:
Don’t delay treating your acne
Before your acne grows into a full, painful bump, you can already start treating it using over-the-counter creams. Treating your acne in its early stages will prevent it from becoming severe.
Never squeeze or pick your acne bumps
This will only aggravate your acne. Not to mention how picking with your hands can expose your acne to more bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
If your acne develops scabs, don’t remove them. Scabs are there for a reason, and their task is to protect the injury as it heals. Picking your scabs will reopen the wound and will most likely leave a more prominent scar.
Treating Acne Scars at b clinic
Acne scarring is an annoying and stressful skin concern that many people have to deal with. But there are many effective treatments available to reduce scarring and help you achieve a brighter, more even-toned complexion.
The best way to find out which treatment is right for you is to speak to one of our skin experts here at b clinic. Book a free consultation today and receive a complimentary acne scarring treatment plan.