Acne scarring is a serious skin concern for many patients of all ages. There is an increased risk of scarring as a result of severe cystic acne, although even mild acne can produce scarring. Acne scarring, and its effect on physical appearance, can have devastating psychological, social and emotional effects on the sufferer. Scars occur as a result of injury to the skin which has produced damaged collagen. There are several types of acne scars:
1) Ice Pick – deep pits in the skin, and the most common.
2) Rolling – less defined with a wavy appearance.
3) Boxcar – pitted scars with defined edges, creating a crater-like appearance
4) Hypertrophic – elevated scar tissue, creating a bumpy appearance.
Although technically not scarring, many acne sufferers are also bothered by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – the red or brown marks left behind long after an acne breakout.
Prevention is the best treatment for acne scars, although there are several treatment options available if you already have them. Medical grade skincare products (i.e. retinol, exfoliants) and clinical peels are effective for superficial scarring as they build healthy collagen, smooth the skin, and improve discolouration. Dermal fillers can be injected under the skin to help plump depressed scars, making them less noticeable. Laser skin resurfacing is a more aggressive option for improving the appearance of deeper scars and encouraging new collagen formation.
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