Perhaps one of the most disturbing consequences of acne is that of the scars that are left behind once the active acne has been cleared. Acne scars are not only unsightly but also affects one’s self esteem and confidence. For some, it can be so embarrassing that it causes social withdrawal and depression.
In this blog entry, we will briefly discuss acne scarring as a whole and the solutions to this problem.
So why do we get scars with acne?
Scarring occurs in about 30% of individuals who has had moderate to severe acne.
This is actually part of the healing process where fibrous tissue is formed in response to tissue injury/ inflammation caused by acne that is usually situated deeper in the skin.
Common types of acne scars:
- Boxcar: Sharp, well defined edges with broad depressions
- Icepick: Narrow deep scars
- Rolling: Sloping edges with broad depressions
- Hypertrophic/ keloid scars: Thick, raised scars
How can we prevent the formation of scars?
The best way to prevent acne scars in the first place is to control and treat your acne early. Seek medical advice early and do not allow your acne to advance because this increases the risk of scarring. This is especially so for acne that becomes more severe and cystic.
Also, do not pick and squeeze your acne spots because this causes the inflammation to deepen and worsen, thereby increasing the risk of scarring.
I already have scars… Is there anything that can be done to treat them?
There are several methods to address acne scarring:
- Subcision: This involves shearing the fibrous scar tissue beneath the skin so that the skin can return to its normal position
- TCA Cross technique: This involves the careful placement of Trichloroacetic acid into the scars
- Skin resurfacing: This involves machine driven therapies; we have different machines to effectively break up the scar tissue and stimulate new skin growth to improve the appearance of acne scars
- Injection of Intralesional steroids: This treatment is reserved for hypertrophic scars / keloids