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Treating Acne Scars

Face of female before and after acne scar treatment

I can't think of one time I ever listened to my grandma when she said, "Don't mess with your pimples; you are going to make them worse!" There was no way I was going to go to school with red puss-filled blemishes on my face. It was worth the pain of popping them and the risk of scarring not to have to deal with the embarrassment that comes with acne. Maybe I would have made different choices if I understood some of the "science" behind acne scarring. Would you?


How Do Acne Scars Form?

Acne scars are a result of the body trying to repair itself. The American Society for Dermatologic surgery states: 

"Acne scars are usually the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Shallow lesions are usually minor and heal quickly. But if there is a deep break in the pore wall, infected material can spill out into surrounding tissue, creating deeper lesions. The skin attempts to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. These repairs usually aren't as smooth and flawless as the original skin."

Simply put, the pimples can become so inflamed that they burst the bottom or sides of the pore wall. Instead of the infection coming out the top, it leaks into surrounding tissue making things worse. The body tries to repair the damage with collagen, but that never results in flawless skin. 


Two Types of Acne Scars

There are two types of acne scars; one is where the scarring rises above the skin's surface; the second is when the scarring forms small divots. 


  1. Hypertrophic or Keloid Scarring: As the body heals, it can produce too much collagen. This extra production of collagen results in raised tissue on the skin. 
  2. Atrophic or Depressed Scarring: These types of scars are created when there is a loss of tissue. At first glance, they look like holes in the skin. The severity of depressed scarring can be mild (small but noticeable) to severe (steeply angled sides of the depression).


How Do I Fix My Acne Scars?

There are several options available to treat acne scarring.


Treatments for Mild Acne Scarring:

Chemical Peels use a special chemical solution to remove the outer layer of old skin. Once replaced with new skin, it is usually smoother and less scarred.

Laser Resurfacing removes the upper layers of the scars. The skin will typically grow new healthy collagen in its place.

Microdermabrasion removes the uppermost layer of skin by applying tiny rough particles from a special machine. 

Microneedling stimulates the body's collagen production to smooth acne scarring using small needles that create micro-injury to the skin.

Soft Tissue Fillers help improve acne scarring's appearance by injecting a filler directly into the acne scar.


Treatments for Moderate to Severe Acne

Dermabrasion is the removal of the outer layer of the skin through surgical sanding or planing.

Laser/Light Therapy can treat acne without damaging the surrounding tissue by using an intense but gentle light beam. (Laser/Light therapy works best when combined with other acne treatments)

Subcision treats acne scarring by breaking apart the fibrous tissue bands that prevent the skin from lying in its natural position. 


Why Should I Seek Treatment for Acne Scars?

The most substantial reason for treating acne scars has to do with your emotional health. The potential for acne scarring to negatively impact your self-confidence and, thereby, your life experiences is great. Treating acne scarring now can be a simple way to help treat what could be unfavorable life outcomes. 

Treating acne scars also leads to an improved appearance and the promotion of better health for your skin. 

You have many options and several convincing reasons to get treatment for your acne scarring. At Charlotte, North Carolina's Dilworth Dermatology and Laser, we are available to assist in your journey. Reach out today. 

Dilworth Dermatology and Laser

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