Acne scarring is a very frustrating and potential outcome of acne that affects many individuals. Considering the causes of acne are multifactorial, there are many different over the counter and prescription treatments utilized to treat acne. Thus, in order to treat acne scarring the best treatment is actually to first treat the underlying acne completely to prevent any future scars or worsening of present scars.

To begin with, acne scarring is caused by the inflammation of active acne that damages the tissue of the skin and leads to scarring. Luckily, not every person that has acne develops acne scarring. One of the major causes of acne scarring is popping, picking, or squeezing at active acne and breakouts to try to get them to go away faster. Although this is definitely a major cause, individuals who do not pick their acne at all can still form scarring. Individuals with deep, cystic acne are more prone to acne scarring. There is also a genetic predisposition and individuals who have a close family member with acne scars are also more prone to getting them. This makes it extremely imperative for individuals with a new onset of acne to seek acne treatment quickly if there is a family history of acne scarring.

Oftentimes, acne scarring gets mixed up with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, or erythema of the skin. An acne scar is an indentation of the skin that originally starts off with changes in the skin color. Acne scars can also present as raised or hypertrophic scars with discoloration. If there is a flat area of hyperpigmentation or discoloration of the skin, this is typically not an acne scar, but an area of post inflammatory hyper or hypopigmentation. The pigmentation changes usually differ in color depending on an individual’s skin tone and type.

When it comes to acne scarring, prevention is definitely key! Treating acne as soon as possible when the acne is typically mild usually results in the prevention of acne scars. It is also very important to stop touching acne breakouts to prevent scarring. When picking, popping, or trying to squeeze pimples, this can result in more inflammation of the skin, which increases the likelihood of more acne scarring. In terms of acne scarring treatments, there are many treatment options available. Initially, patients will have a consultation on all of the acne scarring treatments and discuss a treatment regimen that will hopefully help improve the appearance of their scars. Since many of the treatments are cosmetic and could be costly, it is crucial to address treatment outcomes. The most common acne scarring treatments include topical retinoids, intralesional steroid injections, chemical peels, skinpen microneedling, radiofrequency microneedling, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing for scar surgery treatments.

For additional information regarding acne and acne scarring treatments, please make an appointment with one of the providers here at Beacon Skin & Surgeries or at Be Medi Spa! Summertime is the perfect time to get rid of active acne or prevent future acne breakouts in order to get your skin ready for acne scarring treatments in the fall!

The information above is from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Megan Bacall, PA-C