Acne Scars- Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

If you’re like many Americans, acne is a part of your daily life. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 80% of people between puberty and adulthood suffer from acne. And of that 80%, almost 2 in five will develop scarring. It’s a common skin condition that causes pimples to form along the face, forehead, chest, and upper back. There are many causes of acne, including diet, genetics, hormone levels, and stress.

But, while this condition may be both painful and stressful for many, several over-the-counter treatments and procedures can alleviate symptoms and scarring.

In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at this common skin condition, including its causes, types, and treatments.

What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil fill up the pores of your skin. In most cases, these clogged pores will simply become blackheads or whiteheads, but if the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed or infected, it’s known as acne.

In most cases, acne is caused by hormonal changes, typically during the teenage years. While not exclusive to young adults, sensitivity to such hormone fluctuations and bacteria naturally occurring within skin oils can allow the condition to occur.

Other factors that can cause acne include:

• Certain personal grooming products, such as creams, lotions, and hair treatments, can cause your pores to become clogged and inflamed, effectively causing acne.
• Fluctuating hormone levels
• Menstrual activity
• Air Pollution
• Picking at acne sores
• Certain articles of clothing
• Certain medications
• Cortisol production caused by stress
• Genetic Conditions


How Does Acne Cause Scarring?

Unfortunately, sometimes acne can leave scars. This generally occurs when the inflammation penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin, breaking down the pore walls and causing permanent damage to the skin. This scarring can be particularly troubling for those that suffer from acne, but there are methods of treating acne and minimizing scarring.

If you live in North Carolina and suffer from acne, you can learn more about diagnosing and treating acne scars by visiting Winston Salem Dermatology.

Acne Scars- What Do They Look Like?

One of the first steps to treating acne scars is understanding them and how they’re identified. Below, we’ve put together an in-depth guide on the various forms of acne scars.

1. Atrophic Scars

In most cases, atrophic scars are pitted, appearing as an indention in the skin. They’re often difficult to treat. Atrophic scars come in several varieties, including:

• Ice Pick Scars

An icepick scar forms from severe acne that penetrates deep into the skin, most often on the cheek or forehead. These scars are often small and narrow, with a pitted appearance that makes it seem as if an ice pick has punctured the patient’s skin.

• Rolling Scars

One of the more common forms of acne scarring, rolling scars are often shallow, wide, and have sloped edges, giving them a ‘rolling’ appearance. As a result, your skin may look uneven or wavy. This form of acne often occurs due to long-term acne and can worsen with age.

• Boxcar Scars

Much like icepick scars, boxcar scars are also pitted. However, these pits tend to look more like shallow, punched-out depressions in the skin. They’re typically oval and rectangular in shape and often look like chickenpox scars. In most cases, boxcar scars will require treatment.

2. Hypertrophic Scars

Converse to atrophic scars, hypertrophic scarring is generally raised, occurring when the scar sits above the skin’s surface. They’re often rubbery feeling and look like red bumps. Some notable hypertrophic scar types include:

• Keloids

Keloids occur when hypertrophic scars grow due to an overproduction of scar tissue. Some skin types are more predisposed to develop keloids. And while keloids may look like small bumps, some can be quite troublesome. They often require treatment or surgery to mitigate.


How Are Acne Scars Diagnosed?

Although acne scarring seems pretty apparent, those suffering from the condition will need an official diagnosis if they hope to seek acute treatment. This will require you to make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist. These dermatologists are trained to examine your skin and make a diagnosis.
In addition to a diagnosis, your dermatologist will be able to provide you with a well-crafted treatment plan. And if you’re looking for a trusted source for acne treatment in Winston Salem, Winston Salem Dermatology can help!

Treatment for Acne Scars

Thankfully, several effective acne treatments are available depending on your acne type. Let’s take a look at a few:

1. PRP

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a treatment that uses your blood’s natural repair factors to heal your skin. This will require a dermatologist to draw your blood, extract the platelets, and inject it into the site of your acne scar. These platelets will promote collagen growth and can fill out and smooth acne scars.

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a great way to treat hyperpigmentation caused by acne. These chemical peels exfoliate the skin by removing layers of the skin, allowing them to regenerate and naturally remove darker marks.

3. FAST Treatments

Also known as Focal Acne Scar Treatment, this procedure utilizes a laser to treat atrophic acne scars effectively. It works by shooting a CO2 laser at the site to poke tiny holes in the skin’s surface. These wounds invigorate the healing process and promote the development of collagen.

4. Microneedling

This procedure uses fine needles that puncture the top layer of skin, promoting collagen production and stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. Microneedling typically works best on treating atrophic scar tissue but has regularly been used to treat hyperpigmentation conditions.

5. Photodynamic Acne Therapy

Photodynamic acne therapy utilizes skin-sensitizing medications to heighten the impact of light-based skin treatments or IPL therapies. These therapies can reduce hyperpigmentation and scarring effects for many types of acne.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of Developing Acne Scars

While acne may seem like a condition that’s difficult to rid oneself of, minimizing potential scarring is essential. But by understanding some of the factors that cause scarring, you may be able to prevent scars from occurring. You’ll want to:

• Wash your face thoroughly with a clean towel and warm water
• Avoid touching your face
• Use non-comedogenic makeup products and ensure that makeup is removed regularly
• Develop a routine that utilizes moisturizers

Suffering from Acne Scarring? Let Winston Salem Dermatology Help!

Do you need a licensed dermatologist in Winston-Salem? We can help! For years, Winston Salem Dermatology has served the residents of Winston Salem, Greensboro, and the triad, and we want to help you!

If you suffer from acne or acne-related scarring, you’re not alone! Our skilled dermatologists and medical professionals can help you diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical skin conditions. We use modern practices and state-of-the-art equipment to help reduce and minimize scarring so you can get back to feeling normal again.

At Winston Salem Dermatology, we want you to be proud of your skin, so let us assist you. Call today at (336) 774-8636 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed technicians, and let us help you enjoy your skin again!

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