Getting acne is inevitable for most people and so are the scars. Acne scars are more than just marks on our faces and even play with our confidence making us feel, “I don’t look good enough to get out of the house”. And for years, we didn’t know how to deal with them as they are tough to get rid of. However, today, treating acne scars is not a big deal. We got in touch with dermatologists Dr Rajat Kandhari and Dr Kiran Lohia, who explain different types of acne scars and what can be done to treat them.
Decoding types of acne scars
1)Hypertrophic scars: These thickened and wide scars grow above the surface of your skin. One of the reasons that they are raised is because there is an excess of tissue (collagen).
2)Atrophic scars: These scars develop below the surface of your skin and are depressed. The reason why these scars are depressed is because there is a lack of tissue (collagen). There are three kinds of atrophic scars:
a)Rolling scars: Known as one of the most common types of acne scars, these scars look shallow on skin and are wide in appearance. Rolling scars are easier to treat.
b)Ice pick scars: These are formed only as a result of severe acne. They are quite deeper and narrow as acne has penetrated deep into the skin. They are difficult to treat.
c)Box car scars: These types of scars are square depressions. They tend to be shallow and wider, and are also a bit tougher to treat.
3)Popular scars: These are little bumps of excess tissue deposition where the acne developed.
4)Marks: Marks are not scars. They are excess red or brown pigmentation that happens after a pimple is formed. The term for this is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or post inflammatory erythema. Most patients have a mix of scars and marks.
Types of treatments that help in removing acne scars
1)Lasers: They are effective in remodelling collagen and the elasticity of the skin lost due to the scars. Laser treatment also helps in stimulating cells that have the ability to form connective tissue. There are few options in laser treatment but the most recommended ones are:
a)Fractional Co2 laser: By using this method, you are able to reach a certain depth and remove columns of skin tissue. The surrounding skin is left intact, which helps in healing.
b)Micro-needling: In this, the dermatologist uses a special device to prick your skin in order to boost your collagen development. Through micro-needling, you can reach the depth of scars to treat it. It is also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT).
c)Fractional RF: This works by combining radio frequency and microneedling. Radio frequency works by heating up the skin tissue that helps in remodeling the skin. Lasers can provide 60-70% improvement in your acne scars. However, there is no such thing as 100% improvement. Regardless of the treatment, you can’t completely remove the scar.
2)Alternative/natural methods: While lasers are the most effective, they certainly aren’t cheap. If you are dealing with acne marks, you can start with anti-pigmentation creams containing koji acid, alpha arbutin, alpha hydroxy acid, retional and/or licorice extract. As natural options, you can opt for vitamin A based oils like rosehip oil or retinol oils along with silicon gels to massage into scars; few times a day. However, the thing with alternative/natural methods is that results are variable and not necessarily may even work.
First Published: Mar 11, 2019 11:30 IST