Acne Scar FAQs
What are acne scars?
Acne scars are the scars that appear on the skin after an acne wound has healed. They are classified into three main types based on the appearance of the scar: ice pick, rolling, and boxcar. Ice pick scars are narrow, sharp indentations on the surface of the skin that look as though the skin has been punctured with a tiny ice pick. Boxcar scars are round or oval scars that have sharp vertical edges. Rolling scars form as a result of tethering beneath the skin, which causes bunching and a rolling appearance.
How do acne scars form?
Acne causes inflammation within the dermis. When the skin attempts to repair the wound with an overproduction of collagen, a scar will form. As the skin first begins to heal after an acne outbreak, red or hyperpigmented marks may appear on the skin. The color typically fades within a year, but if it does not, then the mark can be considered an acne scar. If an overproduction of collagen extends over or under the surface of the skin, then ice pick, boxcar, or rolling scarring will become visible.
What can be done to prevent scarring as a result of acne?
The best way to prevent acne scars is to prevent the formation of acne lesions in the first place. There are many medical treatments available to treat acne, ranging from home care products to laser treatments. Once acne has occurred, careful care of the wound is an important step to prevent the formation of scar tissue. Excellent skin hygiene is crucial in the prevention of acne and scarring. Additionally, you should avoid exposure to the sun as sun exposure causes additional skin damage and delays healing. Once acne scabs have formed, you must refrain from picking at the scabs, as this will worsen the scarring. Topical applications of trentinoin and alpha-hydroxy acids have been shown to aid in healing of the skin by speeding up the skin’s remodeling process and minimizing inflammation. By preventing the formation of acne and then caring for the skin properly after acne has occurred, you can greatly diminish the likelihood that post-acne scarring will occur; however, in some cases, no amount of care can prevent scars from forming.
What treatments are available to reduce the appearance of acne scars?
Fortunately, there are many treatments available to reduce the appearance of acne scars. The treatment that is used will depend on the type and severity of the scarring. Additionally, most treatments require that the patient is free of any active lesions while undergoing treatment. Thus, your doctor may work with you to treat ongoing outbreaks before proceeding with scar reducing procedures. It is very important to work with an experienced dermatologist to manage active acne and acne scars. Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank is a highly skilled dermatologist, with extensive experience in treating acne and acne scars. His first objective will be to stop acne from forming, and then to work on reducing the scar tissue after it has formed. The treatments that can be used to minimize the appearance of acne scars include Fraxel laser treatments, permanent fillers, Laser Toning, and the advanced CROSS technique, which chemically restructures scars from their very roots.
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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is solely for educational purposes and is solely the opinion of Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, which may differ from other medical professionals.
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