WHAT ARE ACNE SCARS?
An acne scar is essentially what remains after a pimple has healed. While acne is already bad, the aftermath is even worse. External factors, like picking and touching your spots can make a small pimple leave huge scars and lesions. Acne scars can change the overall appearance and texture of your skin and it doesn’t always improve with time. Like we explained in our guide on how to get rid of blackheads, when pores produce excessive oil they can become clogged allowing blackheads or whiteheads to form.
When these blackheads or whiteheads rupture, the material that spills out can cause infections and inflammations on your skin making it red. The skin will try to repair itself by creating new collagen. Collagen is the main protein in our bodies but it’s also found in bones, skin muscles, tendons, blood vessels and some of our internal organs. In the skin, collagen provides elasticity and it replaces dead skin cells.
TYPES OF ACNE SCARS
The three main categories of acne scars are:
- Ice pick scars: This is the most severe type of acne scar. Deeper than they are wide, with jagged edges. Sometimes they resemble a large, scooped out pore. Ice pick scars are normally caused by severe cystic acne that occurs deep in your pores.
- Boxcar scars: Broad, rectangular depressions with steep, defined edges. Boxcar scars are more common in areas of the face where the skin is thicker, such as the lower cheeks and jaw.
- Rolling scars: Broad depressions that have rounded, sloping edges, hence the name. Rolling scars are almost always a result of long-term inflammatory acne.
HOW TO GET RID OF ACNE SCARS
The concept behind a laser treatment is quite simple: the laser will “burn” the upper layer of your skin so the layer below can take it’s place. Also, the heat produced by the laser treatment will stimulate the production of collagen. These treatments can get really expensive as you will need more than one session for the laser treatment to make any difference, depending on where you live a full treatment might cost up to £2000.
Laser treatments can treat almost any type of acne scars as they can go deeper in your skin:
- boxcar scars
- rollings scars
- ice pick scars
- brown marks and dark spots
There are different types of laser treatment for acne, your doctor will assess your skin to determine what kind of treatment to use:
- ablative laser treatment: With an ablative laser treatment, lasers will be used to “burn” the upper layer of your skin where the scar is. The skin will then regenerate itself creating a new, smooth-looking layer of skin.
- non-ablative laser treatment: With a non-ablative laser treatment the lasers will stimulate your skin so it can increase the production of collagen. As we have explained above collagen helps replace dead skin cells and it will help repair some of the damage caused by acne.
There are several side effects to a laser treatment, the most common and normal is redness. Normally it only lasts for a few days but in the most severe cases it can last up to a few weeks or even months.
Punch techniques are some of the most effective weapons against stubborn acne scars. They are extremely effective with ice pick scars as those tend to be deeper and narrower but they also work well for boxcar scars. This treatment is often used to remove enlarged pores, body and facial cysts. These treatments are low risks and have a quick recovery time but you might be required to avoid water and wear a surgical dressing for a week. They are also relatively affordable, prices range between £125 and £500. There are three different types of punch technique: punch excision, punch elevation and punch grafting.
Punch excision is used to treat mild ice pick scars. This procedure is minimally invasive, the scar will be surgically removed by a punch tool. Punch excision is often used for removing cysts and enlarged pores due to the flexibility of the treatment. Once the scar is removed the wound gets sealed. Sometimes the process of removing the scar will leave a scar itself, generally, this scar will fade with time. Some doctors might recommend a scar revision treatment for the best result possible.
Punch elevation is used to treat boxcar scars. It works in a similar way to the punch excision treatment: the base of the scar will be surgically removed leaving the sides in place. The doctor will then elevate the scar so it sits at the same level as the rest of the skin. This makes those deep ugly scars a lot less noticeable.
Punch grafting is used to treat really deep ice pick scars. In this treatment, the scar will be surgically removed but the wound is plugged by a sample of skin taken from another body part.
VITAMIN C SERUM
Vitamin C is one of those vitamins that everyone has heard about. People normally get their Vitamin C dose by drinking orange juice or capsules. If you are struggling with acne scars a Vitamin C serum is your best option as it comes in direct touch with your skin. A Vitamin C serum is also great in protecting you from UV damage and pollution due to it’s antioxidants properties.
Over the past few decades, there have been many studies which have all shown that Vitamin C can increase the level of collagen produced by our bodies. Among other benefits, vitamin c is known to brighten dull skin and lighten brown spots.
We suggest getting a Vitamin C serum that contains hyaluronic acid. What is hyaluronic acid you might ask? Hyaluronic acid works as a magnet for moisture, it helps your skin cells retain as much of it as possible. This way your skin will always look hydrated, plump and healthy. When skin is hydrated, lines, wrinkles and scars appear diminished so it’s a great ingredient for people with an aging and scarred skin. Research has also been conducted on hyaluronic acid and results have shown that it also contains antioxidants and it helps increase the production of collagen.
ALOE VERA GEL
Aloe vera is a plant known for it’s healing properties. An aloe vera gel is filled with vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, fatty acids and polysaccharide. The gel will help give relief for a lot of skin conditions like burns, wounds, skin infections and what we are interested in, acne scars.
When you apply the aloe vera gel on a scar the gel will help strengthen the collagen structure. The nutrients and the vitamins in the gel will help the skin repair itself and lessen the irritation. Aloe vera gel is also known for it’s properties to fight acne due to the anti-bacterial contained in it. Acne is caused by excess oil produced in your pores, the gel will remove that excess oil and dead skin cells.
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