One of the worst possible skin issues that a person can face is acne scars. Luckily, there are solutions.
Usually the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Shallow lesions are usually minor and heal quickly. But if there is a deep break in the wall of the pore, infected material can spill out into surrounding tissue, creating deeper lesions. The skin attempts to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. These repairs usually aren’t as smooth and flawless as the original skin.
This is the description that the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery applies. TSLMS is proud of the fact that there is a treatment for acne scars and it is through lasers.
Acne Scars Impact A Lot Of People
If your mother, father, or grandmother ever told you not to pick your face they were probably referring to the potential that you would end up with acne scars or pock marks. A pockmark is a scar in the skin, usually pitted, that is the after effect of a pustule or a pimple. As noted by Medical News Today:
Pockmarks, which are also called pick marks or acne scars, are blemishes with a concave shape that can look like holes or indentations in the skin. They occur when the deeper layers of the skin become damaged. As these deeper layers heal, extra collagen is produced. This extra collagen can leave behind scar tissue that does not match the rest of the skin. Pockmarks tend to stick out from the rest of the skin and be noticeable. Even a few of them may give the skin an uneven look, which can make some people self-conscious.
The Huffington Post elaborates on this, pointing out the difference between an acne scar and a pockmark:
People with darker skin often see post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — marks that appear brown. Those with lighter skin often develop post-inflammatory erythema — which show up as purple or red marks. Acne scars are deep indentations that are usually caused from picking at a blemish (though not always). They take much longer to remove and and can only be erased with laser treatment. Atrophic scars appear as indentations in the skin. One type of atrophic scarring commonly seen as a result of acne is often referred to as an “ice pick” scar, which appears more deep than wide. Hypertrophic scars appear as thick, raised bumps on the surface of skin.
A true acne scar is when your body takes that healing process one step further and is not able to actually form the collagen the normal way. All the enzymes that are in the area of the acne lesion eat away at things like collagen and elastin,” explained Dr. Bowe. “In the case that the inflammation is so great, the collagen and elastic tissue is not able to regenerate completely, or it does in a sort of disorganized or pathologic and not healthy fashion, and you’re left with a scar.
Over-the-Counter Treatment for Acne Scars and Pockmarks
There are some treatments that seem to be pretty effective for these scars and pockmarks. Harpers Bazaar, among others, have written about this pretty extensively. They point out that one of the most effective compounds available for use have effectiveness depending on what type of scar the person is actually facing. These include:
- Ice pick acne scars are small, narrow, pinpoint acne scars that penetrate deep into the skin, according to Gross. They develop when infected cystic acne makes its way to the surface and destroys the skin tissue, leaving a cylindrical, column-like scar.
- Rolling scars have a wave-like appearance and are wide and shallow in depth. These develop when the when tissue develops between the epidermis and hypodermis, the innermost layer of skin, and they band together to create this rolling appearance.
- Boxcar scars have angular, well-defined edges. When an inflammatory breakout destroys collagen, it results in a loss of tissue and the skin is left with depressed areas.
- Hypertrophic scars are raised scars. He says these are caused when the skin doesn’t realize that the wound has healed and overproduces collagen. If you’re still unsure about your scarring type, pay a visit to your dermatologist.
In most cases someone “using a product that offers gentle chemical exfoliation is the first step in healing scars. We like his Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel; it has a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids that exfoliates dead, darkened scar skin cells while stimulating collagen production. He also says to look for anti-inflammatory and skin brightening ingredients in your serums and, such as vitamin C, a skin-brightening antioxidant, and vitamin E, which regenerates skin cells and improves the texture… look for topical treatments that contain retinoids, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid, which have all been proven to dramatically lighten dark marks and even melasma.”
These topical treatments, however, are not as effective as laser treatment.
Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
While the topical treatments are fantastic when they work, they don’t always work. In those cases, and even to make the topicals more effective, there are lasers.
Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scars. Ablative laser resurfacing is a procedure that uses a wand-like laser instrument to remove the upper layers of skin from acne scarring. It is sometimes referred to as “laser peeling” since it removes old skin cells in order to reveal newer, more youthful cells. (Source).