Scars are now gone

Acne scars: all you need to know about this annoying blemish.

03 April 2020

Posted by: SOTHERGA

Reading time: 3 min

What are acne scars?

Acne scars are marks left on the skin by the inflammatory lesions that are typical of this condition: comedones, papules, pustules, cysts and fistulizations. If acne is treated in a timely manner, it usually leaves no traces because the skin tends to regenerate and naturally remedy skin damage. If, on the other hand, the inflammatory component of acne degenerates or has a prolonged duration, the skin is unable to replace the scarred areas. This is what leads to the typical pockmarked appearance, formed by bumps and/or dips in the epidermis. The areas affected are those typical of acne: face, shoulders and chest.

 

 

What causes acne scars?

The scars are formed due to the skin’s inability to regenerate the outermost layers damaged by inflammation. The production of collagen, the protein that makes up connective tissue, is impaired, and the replacement of scarred areas is lost.

 

 

How are acne scars categorized?

They are classified as scars

  • hypervascularized
  • hypertrophic (bumps)
  • atrophic (dips).

 

The bumps, whose depth varies from the severity of the dermatological pathology from which one has suffered, are distinguished in “wave”, “awl”, varioliformis (similar to those of chickenpox), or lipoatrophic scars (deep and due to the destruction of subcutaneous fat).

 

 

How can I prevent acne scars?

You can prevent the formation of acne scars by starting an acne treatment as soon as possible. Don’t squeeze or pop pimples. Also, If abscesses form, treat them immediately with an antibiotic.

How can I treat acne scars?

Today there are several procedures available to improve acne scars including: fat or hyaluronic acid injections, surgery to lift the bottom of the scar, dermabrasion, peeling and various laser techniques.

 

The method of choice depends on numerous factors: the type of scar, its depth, its color and, very often, different combined methods which have a synergistic effect in the treatment.

 

Clinical evaluation and consultation are essential to define the therapeutic strategy, which varies from patient to patient.

 

For hypervascularized and red scars, one of the most effective treatments is the Dye Laser. The Dye Laser can selectively act on the vascular tissue, improving the color and structure of the scar.

 

Most treatments focus on the more frequent atrophic scars. If they are very mild (similar to shallow “holes”), the first option can be medical peels with glycolic acid or tretinoin. The concentrations of the acids must be higher than 40%, which is why these peels can only be performed by the doctor. The chemical peels performed by beauticians are lighter, which is why they lead to less satisfactory results.

 

Another strategy for the improvement of mild to severe atrophic scars is with a laser. There are ablative and non-ablative fractional lasers, capable of raising the bottom of the scars and leveling them as much as possible. The non-ablative requires a number of sessions (almost never less than 3), but has the enormous advantage of not having a long recovery time. With the latest generation non-ablative lasers, you can even wear make-up the day after treatment. This non-ablative technique is the most widely used technique as it has been seen to be an excellent strategy, also to reduce discoloration (small spots) due to inflammatory outcomes. As a matter of fact, it’s widely used in the treatment of melasma. A recent study from the Harvard School of Medicine called it a “melanin lift”.

 

The non-ablative fractional laser creates small holes (thermal micro-columns) that are invisible to the human eye. This is where new tissue will then form and new collagen will be deposited in order to reduce the scar, session after session – whether it is an acne scar, a scar surgery or a stretch mark.

 

The ablative laser (CO2) is often reserved for the most severe cases. Generally two sessions are sufficient, but recovery in this case takes at least 3-4 days and even up to a week.

 

For lipoatrophic and very very deep scars, lipoiflling or filler sessions with hyaluronic acid can be performed.

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