Acne scars What can I do to reduce or remove them?

Treating and removing acne scars

Living with acne can be difficult, but for many the problems continue after the papules and pustules have cleared up. Acne can leave skin marked and scarred and, if someone has experienced severe acne, the subsequent scarring can be equally severe and distressing.

Thankfully, there are several options available for tackling these scars, but the best treatment is undoubtedly prevention - i.e. not getting the scars in the first place. If you are suffering from acute acne, then we recommend you consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she will be able to recommend a treatment that can alleviate your acne so that scar formation can largely be avoided. 

You can find out which symptoms should prompt you to see a doctor and what he or she will then do.

Undoubtedly the most noticeable and most severe consequence of acne is scarring, but acne can leave other marks behind such as pimple marks caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). You can find out more about how to reduce and remove these in acne and hyperpigmentation.

Try to resist the temptation to fiddle with blackheads, whiteheads and other blemishes − either with your fingers or with other implements. It’s when you squeeze blemishes too hard (especially those that have not yet fully formed) that you can damage the fine veins, glands and tissues that surround them. This can make the symptoms of acne worse and increase the risk of scarring.

Scars form when the outermost layers of skin, the epidermis, has been damaged and the deeper layers of the skin are also affected. Skin is unable to regenerate itself exactly as it was so the wound is replaced by granulation tissue which is made up of collagen fibres. These  fibres fill the wound from the inside out and help to heal the damaged area of skin. This replacement tissue may heal the injury, but can also remain visible.

If you decide your scars need treatment, there are various options available. The right option for you will depend on the nature, size and form of your scarring. Those which involve invasive treatment should be discussed with your doctor, and no treatment should start until your acne has completely healed.

Fruit Acids are frequently used to treat skin marked or scarred by acne. Milder concentrations (up to 12%) are available for home use whereas beauticians have access to concentrations up to 40% and dermatologists can use concentrations up to 70%. Your dermatologist will be able to advise on the most appropriate concentration for your skin. Several peels are normally required before results are noticeable.

N.B. Skin can be very sensitive after a chemical and/or fruit acid peel, so it’s important you avoid direct sunlight (and solariums) and apply a high sun protection factor such as Eucerin Sun Gel-Creme Oil Control Dry Touch SPF50+.

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