For those who suffer from acne, current pimples aren’t always the problem, often it’s the scarring that’s left behind that can leave many of us feeling less than confident rocking a bare face. Acne scarring occurs because infected material from follicles within the skin spills out causing inflammation and damage to the dermis of the skin.
When the dermis is injured, the response is fibrosis, which is a complex process involving the deposition of collagen and other proteins. The combination of damage or thinning to the dermal layer of the skin and fibrosis causes acne scarring.
When a pimple forms, collagen is damaged, and abnormal healing of that collagen and leads to scarring. It is estimated that an individual pimple has a six percent risk of healing with a scar. To help, they have broken down the six most common types of scarring along with dermatologist-approved solutions.
Keloids and hypertrophic scars
Hypertrophic scars are ‘overgrown.' These types of scars stay within the boundary of the wound edge and typically appear to be raised or firm. Keloids go beyond the point of hypertrophic scars, and they grow outside the bounds of the wound’s edges they can grow to be very large.
Unfortunately, this type of scar can become more obvious and severe you get older, especially when your skin loses its natural tightness and elasticity. They tend to be shallow, so if you were to stretch the skin, it might be hard to tell that they are there. Laser treatments are a common way to target rolling scars, as they resurface the top layers of your skin.
More often than not, acne-sufferers don’t exclusively have one type of scarring it’s usually a mix of those listed above. Chemical peels can be a great way of addressing pigment changes and superficial scarring.
For deeper scars, microneedling and fractionated laser resurfacing can generate controlled injury to the skin to stimulate controlled wound healing to rebuild collagen within indented scars.
When acne heals, it often leaves behind “stains” in the skin which, despite not being true scars, can be long-lasting and have a significant psychosocial effect shares. In fairer complexions, when pimples heal, the skin may be left with a red spot. This is known as persistent erythema. In these cases, the fire is out, but there still are glowing embers in the skin.
For darker complexions, inflammation can rev up the activity of your pigment-producing cells leading to dark spots that remain even after a pimple goes away. The spots, Known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, do fade on their own but it can take several months.
Hyperpigmentation may benefit from some measures used to treat scarring but can respond to topical creams like retinoids and vitamin c serums, and chemical peels to help even out skin.