05 Oct All About Acne: Causes, Types, and Treatments
Don’t we all wish we could go back to our young, blissful, and energetic teen years? Probably not if you suffered from acne and are still battling the remnants left reminding you of the likely embarrassing times. Well, guess what? You’re not alone- around 90% of people suffered from acne in their teen years and roughly 30% were left with noticeable acne scarring.
Everyday when we walk out the front door we aim to put our best foot forward. Well, what about our face? Our skin is the largest organ in the human body, so of course it’s the first thing people notice about us. Clear skin is important for confidence and even outwardly displaying how healthy we are. Damaged skin can leave you feeling embarrassed and with low self-confidence, and of course the media constantly promoting perfectly flawless skin – aided in part by photo-retouching – doesn’t help.
Whether you suffer from deep acne scarring to minor discoloration, clear and beautiful skin is an option for everyone! With just some research and work involved, there are plenty of acne solutions available for you.
What is Acne?
Acne is caused when hair follicles, or the pores, become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. These plugged follicles create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow, causing red bumps often times ones that are pus-filled. If the hair follicle swells too large, it breaks, causing infected material to spill into the dermis and destroy healthy skin tissue.
Types of Acne
As a rule of thumb, there are 3 types of acne. Mild acne is the occasional whiteheads and blackheads. Moderately severe acne is categorized by red inflamed pimples- papules, or red pimples with white centers-pustules. Finally, severe acne is caused by nodules, painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps that form underneath the skin. Severe acne is the most common cause of acne scarring, though scarring is possible with any level of acne.
Why Does Acne Scar?
When the dermis is damaged from severe acne, the body’s natural healing process, scarring, kicks in. Acne scarring can occur naturally, but when we try to take matters into our own hands and pick or squeeze at the pesky annoyances we make scarring worse. Unprotected sun exposure is also known to aggravate acne, therefore leading to increased scarring. Similarly, sun exposure can cause scars to darken and slow the healing process. Slather on that sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, to protect your skin! Finally, family history and your genes influence how severe your acne is and how your body scars.
Types of Acne Scars
Scars come in all different shapes and sizes, but acne scarring can be categorized into two main types; either there is an increase in tissue formation or there is a loss in tissue. Scars involving tissue loss are more common and include 3 main types; icepick, boxcar, and rolling scars.
Narrow, sharp scars that taper from the base deep into the dermis to a point are called Icepick scars. Secondly, Boxcar scars are round or oval depressions with sharp vertical edges, these look like enlarged pores. This sunken tissue loss varies depending on the severity of your acne and is most commonly found on the temples or cheeks. Finally, Rolling acne scarring make the skin look a bit wavy and are usually soft and can be flattened easily by stretching the skin.
Acne Treatment Options
Treatment for acne scarring varies according to the types and severity of scars present, but early treatment is key in effectively minimizing or ridding the skin of embarrassing scars.
A variety of home remedies are available including honey or olive oil masks to moisturize skin and reduce visibility of scars to using the antioxidants from tomatoes to replenish and renew scarred and damaged skin. The application of lemon or lime juice directly to scars has also been found to lighten blemishes. If you’ve tried home remedies, topical, or over-the-counter treatments, and they’re just not working, a dermatologist can utilize a variety of techniques to treat your specific concerns.
Filler Treatments- Best for shallower scarring, dermal fillers are injected into the acne scars which raises the surface of the skin, giving it a smoother look. The injections, usually a form of collagen, do not permanently correct acne, meaning further injections will be necessary. Subcision is another technique similar to filler treatments in which a needle is used to raise scar tissue in the depressed scar, leveling the skin. Subcision and fillers are often used in tandem.
Laser Treatment- This option is very popular as the technology can resurface the skin, by burning the top layers, forcing the skin to heal with newer healthier appearing skin. Dermabrasion and chemical peels can also be utilized to essentially resurface the skin.
Punch Treatment- This option is best suited for ice pick scarring or deep boxcar scarring when scarring is too deep for laser treatments. Punch treatments target each scar specifically using local anesthesia in which the scar is excised and the skin edges are sutured together. Resurfacing techniques may be necessary if the newly produced scar is noticeable, though the technique is designed create new scars that eventually fade and become unnoticeable
Clear skin is the ultimate goal for anyone seeking to look his or her best and acne scarring doesn’t have to hold you back from the flawless skin you deserve!