About acne scarring
Acne scarring can be an unsightly reminder of having to deal with that condition. Acne scars develop in areas where former cystic lesions have been present. Even without picking, acne lesions (particularly cysts) can lead to scarring because of the intense, collagen-damaging skin inflammation with which they are associated.
Acne scars come in three varieties:
- atrophic, which are mostly shallow
- ice pick-shaped, which are narrow and deeper.
People with deeper skin tones may also notice darkening (or hyperpigmentation) within the scars, while people with lighter skin tones may show redness (or erythema) within the scars. It’s hard not to feel self-conscious if you’ve been left with visible scars – but that can change with a little help!
What makes acne worse?
The Sun Exposing scars to the sun can cause them to darken and slow the healing process. Ultraviolet rays stimulate melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) leading to further discolouration.
Before heading outdoors, we recommend that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, with the physical blocker zinc oxide, and reapply every two hours.
Did you know the difference between a physical sun block and a chemical sun cream? Physical sun block instantly protects your skin, without the need for waiting before it starts to work, and doesn't contain unhealthy chemicals or additives that may block the skin or increase skin sensitivity.
That's why at Skin Perfection, we sell physical blocks and sunscreens and not the 'over the counter' or department store type of chemical sunscreens that can make your acne and redness even worse.
Picking and Squeezing Scars, which are made mainly of collagen (a protein fibre normally found in the skin's second layer), are the body's way of repairing itself. Acne scars are typically indented because of collagen-loss from intense inflammation.
Picking leads to further inflammation and injury of the skin, which adds to the skin’s discolouration and scarring. Squeezing or trying to pop a pimple causes pus and bacteria to filter deeper into the skin, resulting in more collagen damage and spread of bacteria causing more spots, then more scars.
Vitamin E You may have heard that applying topical vitamin E to a scar will help it heal faster. But according to a study from researchers at the University of Miami, applying the nutrient directly onto a scar can actually hinder its healing. In the study, vitamin E had no effect (or made matters worse) for 90% of the patients, and 33% who used topical vitamin E developed a contact dermatitis.
Vitamin A, or derivatives of vitamin A, actually help better. Also Vitamin C, which calms any inflammation, protects your skin from free radical damage and helps to lighten any discolouration to the skin.
How do the treatments work?
Today’s cosmetic treatments can now reduce – or in many cases, completely remove – acne scars and there are several options for treatment.
Benzyl peroxide For mild acne, you may try, or your doctor may recommend, treatment with a non-prescription medication that contains benzyl peroxide. However, it is normally only effective when used in combination with other treatments listed here.
Laser photo-facial rejuvenation Boosts new skin growth, reduces scars and kills off bacteria. It’s also proven to be effective at reducing redness and acne when combined with light facial peeling.
Laser resurfacing is most effective for lighter skin tones, and best for indented or ice pick scarring. The laser emits intense heat through the skin to stimulate new collagen and elastin, which also breaks down the scarring and improves the skin's texture. See micro-needling, below, as an alternative for darker skin tones.
LED light therapy Proven to be effective at reducing acne and scarring: we use the blue light to address the bacteria, the yellow light to stimulate new collagen production and the red light to help soothe and calm the inflammation.
Medical-grade home skincare products Prescribed by your skin specialist for use on a daily basis, morning and night, to help manage and maintain your breakouts and maintain healthy skin
Medical grade mineral make-up A better option than spending money on great treatments and products - then applying the incorrect make up, which may be the cause of you getting repeatedly blocked or irritated skin, causing new breakouts and scarring.
Medical microdermabrasion is great for any superficial scars or marks left from acne. It can be easily combined with our skin peels to boost the results.
Micro-needling using Dermastamp or Dermaroller is an alternative to laser resurfacing, especially for patients with darker skin tones and those who do not want the downtime due to swelling (which can happen after laser resurfacing). It's the latest celebrity ‘secret weapon’ to treat acne scars and leave your skin bright, clear and bursting with youthful radiance.
Micro-needling can be used alongside skin peels (if your skin is suitable for peels) to further improve the texture of your skin. The Dermaroller stimulates the natural healing process, using your own collagen to regenerate and repair your skin naturally, while skin peels use active ingredients to dissolve and remove unwanted lesions on the skin.
Skin peels These help to reduce or remove dark marks, indented scars and uneven skin left after the acne has cleared. But, if you are still experiencing the breakouts, we can provide a peel that will deal with the acne and the scarring at the same time.