So, you have acne. Acne is unsightly, and even worse, it can lead to permanent scarring if you’re not careful. Acne scars are a result of damaged skin tissue, but their appearance on your face can be managed. Acne is a fact of life, but acne scars don’t have to be!
How Acne Scars Form
Acne and blemishes occur when pores become engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This causes a pore to swell, which breaks the wall of the pore. If that rupture happens near the surface of your skin, it often heals quickly. If the lesion occurs deeper within the pore, infected material can leak into the dermis, destroying healthy skin tissue.
The skin then forms collagen, a fibrous protein, to heal the pore. Too much collagen, a loss of tissue, or inflammation can cause the scarring. It’s part of the natural healing process, but it doesn’t look great.
How to Prevent Acne Scars
You can lessen the chances of developing acne scarring by controlling inflammation. The best way to prevent it is really to treat acne as quickly and effectively as you can – go to a dermatologist if needed, and get prescription-strength medication for your skin type. Don’t pick at your pimples or squeeze them, because this can force debris further into your skin and spread the infection.
Don’t pick at the scars that result. Make sure your face is regularly cleaned, and that you’ve developed a skincare routine that minimizes the production of oil and keeps the skin exfoliated. Moisturize often, which sounds counter-productive, well-hydrated skin tends to loosen up the sebum that builds up in your pores. Furthermore, if you are over drying the surface the pore will actually secrete more oil to combat the dryness, which could make your breakouts worse. A moisturizing sunscreen is also helpful to minimize dryness and irritation from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
How to Treat Acne Scars
Many people treat acne scars with creams, serums, and at home products, but these often don’t provide the results they want. If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet may be to visit a medical practice that specializes in skin and utilize a professional procedure that can reduce the appearance of the scars. Microdermabrasion, for example, exfoliates the top layer of dead skins to reduce the appearance of dark spots and encourage encourage collagen and elastin production.
Chemical peels use chemicals to destroy the dead skin cell buildup on the top layer of skin. Laser skin resurfacing is also an option, because it deeply heats the skin tissue, causing healing and restructuring to occur. Dermal fillers, too, can add volume to reduce the appearance of certain types of acne scars that result from loss of tissue.
Often acne scars can get better over time, but in many cases you will need some type of treatment to reduce their visibility. If you’re concerned about acne scars, you can take steps to minimize the risks of developing them. And if you do get scarring that doesn’t go away on its own, you have options.