Acne scarring is the redness, hyper-pigmentation, texture and indentations that can develop as a result of acne, appearing once active breakouts have healed.
There are three kinds of acne scarring. You may experience one or all of these; it is important to identify the scarring you have so determine what kind of treatment is best suited to you.
Depressed indentations, dips or ‘holes’ within the skin. These are usually defined as boxcar scars (wide, sharp-edged scars), ice-pick scars (deep and narrow pitted scars) or rolling scars (wide depressions with sloping, undefined edges).
Raised scars, typically associated with the healing of chest or back acne
Pigmentation, discoloration or dark marks left as a result of acne. This hyperpigmentation generally caused red, brown or purple marks.
What Causes Acne Scarring?
Acne scarring is a very common side effect of acne, prompted when breakouts penetrate the skin deeply and damage the tissues beneath it. Scarring can be worsened by picking at your acne; this is because squeezing nodules or cysts can cause them to burst and damage the skin nearby, causing new scars to form.
Atrophic (depressed) scars are formed when not enough collagen is created within the skin during the healing process. By contrast, hypertrophic (raised) scars are formed by too much collagen being present in the skin during healing. Pigmentation or discolouration is caused when the skin overproduces melanin during the healing process.
Treating Acne Scarring
The best way to treat acne scarring is to prevent it occuring in the first place. This can be done by creating an effective skin care routine, treating your acne early on and avoiding picking or squeezing spots when they occur.
The most effective treatments to reduce or heal acne scars are performed professionally. In-clinic treatments include laser resurfacing, microneedling and chemical peels; these all promote renewing of the skin which in turn reveals a smoother, brighter, scar-free complexion.
At-home treatments to fade acne scars like hyperpigmentation include vitamin C, which brightens and renews skin, and daily use of SPF. Using products with AHAs, BHAs or retinoids can help to heal acne scars that are hypertrophic or atrophic by clearing clogged pores and promoting resurfacing of the skin.