Acne Scars and Acne Treatments

In continuation of this month’s topic of acne and acne scarring, this post will focus on treatments for both.

Acne treatments:

Before treating acne scars, it is essential to treat any active acne, since new breakouts can create even more acne scars.  Treatments for acne can include home remedies such as witch hazel or tea-tree oil, over the counter treatments, prescription medications such as antibiotics and hormone-reducing treatments, laser treatments, skin surgeries, and chemical peels.

Some tips and tricks to try if you’re experiencing an acne flare or worsening acne:

On occasion, teenagers use harsh facial or body scrubs, alcohol-based astringents and tanning to try to clear acne – all of these can worsen acne. Research has also shown that treating your acne can help reduce depression and anxiety while boosting self-esteem.

About acne scars:

Acne scarring is just as common as acne. An acne scar is created when the skin becomes inflamed, acne is left untreated, or pimples are picked at or manipulated.  Pimples that are squeezed, popped or picked become further inflamed which increases the likelihood of an acne scar forming. There is also a genetic link to acne scarring as patients whose parents or other family members have a history of severe acne or acne scars can have a higher risk of developing acne scarring themselves.

Acne scars can be classified as depressed or “atrophic” scars vs raised or “hypertrophic” scars.  When the skin tries to heal from acne on the face or body, it creates collagen to try to repair the wound acne leaves.  It can produce too little or too much collagen and this causes either the depressed or raised scars. Acne scars can be avoided by seeing a dermatologist early when your acne first appears, before inflamed acne, cysts or nodules form permanent scars.

Acne scar treatments:

Scar treatments include retinoid creams, chemical peels, microneedling, laser treatments, and even filler injections.  These treatments can improve the appearance of scars, dark spots, and uneven skin textures caused by acne on the face or any other part of the body.  

In skin of color, acne can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin due to inflammation.  These dark spots can vary in color from red to light brown or dark brown. If a person has more melanin, or color, in their skin, these lesions can appear very dark to black. These discolorations and marks can be disfiguring and last from months to years if left untreated. UV exposure that occurs when you are exposed to the sun or a tanning booth can make these dark spots even worse.  For this reason, it is important to use sunscreen daily to prevent dark marks and spots from getting even darker.

Dr. Obayan will be able to diagnose the specific type of acne you have and work with you to create a plan to help treat your acne scars and resolve any active acne.