An acne flare-up is not only problematic at the moment it occurs, but the scars acne leaves behind are blemishes that can last a lifetime. Acne scars, particularly those on the face, can lower self-confidence and interfere with how you carry on with daily activities.
However, there are ways to treat pitting and dark spots left behind by healed blemishes. Find out what causes acne scarring, what makes them worse, and how to help erase some of those marks.
How Does Acne Scarring Occur?
Acne scars, unlike regular scars, usually form in the dermis, the layer of skin below the surface. These scars are the results of inflamed blemishes. Inflammation occurs when the pore swells with debris, excess oil, and bacterial growth build-up. Occasionally, either swelling or picking at the swollen blemish causes the follicle wall to rupture. If the break occurs close to the surface, the wound usually heals relatively quickly and may not leave a lasting scar.
However, breaks in the pore walls in deeper layers of skin can lead to toxic debris spilling out and damaging the healthy cells surrounding it.
Picking at a blemish is likely to lead to scarring as often times you can push the debris and bacteria further down into the pore, or causing the follicle wall to break in a deeper layer of skin. Additionally, breaking open the surface of a pimple might permit more bacteria on the surface of the skin to enter the wound.
Types of Acne Scars
There are several types of acne scars that form as a result of different skin types and the intensity of the inflammation. Cystic blemishes are likely to cause deeper wounds and scars. Scars come in three major types: raised, depressed, or hyperpigmented.
Raised scars are the result of too much collagen being produced while the wound heals, which results in keloid scars. These are usually found in men, and more likely to be on the torso than on the face.
Depressed scars are the result of the blemish destroying the healthy tissue surrounding it; and the loss of tissue creates a divot or depression in the skin. The three main types of depressed scars are:
- Atrophic. These are deep scars that create deep depressions that look like holes on surface on the skin. Atrophic scars may need dermatologist intervention to help reduce the appearance of these scars.
- Box car. These scars have steep, angular edges, and can resemble chicken pox scars. As with many depressed scars, assistance from a dermatologist may be necessary to eliminate these scars.
- Ice pick. Deeper and narrower than box car scars, the scar looks like a small, deep hole in the skin. These usually develop after an infection or inflammation works its way to the surface of the skin, spreading upward, instead of outward.
Almost all acne scars go through a period of hyperpigmentation while healing. However, especially amongst people with darker skin tones, the darker pigmentation lingers well past the healing stage.
Conditions That Worsen Scarring
Certain actions and environments can make the scarring worse than if you protected the skin and allowed it to heal unmolested. Here are the top offenders.
Picking or popping blemishes. The number one offender for causing acne scars or worsening acne scars is manually manipulating pimples or zits. Picking increases and prolongs inflammation, which leads to more collagen loss, and prevents your skin from healing quickly. And, as mentioned before, squeezing blemishes can drive bacteria and debris deeper into the skin or cause more ruptures in the pore wall.
Sun. Sun can increase hyperpigmentation of the scar zone, darkening the spot, and delaying healing. The UV rays stimulate the production of melanin (the same way it causes your skin to tan), and the wounded spot, in a state of recovery, is likely to overproduce melanin in an effort to protect the skin.
Vitamin E. While Vitamin E is traditionally thought to be beneficial to the skin when applied topically, and may assist in reducing scars, a recent study from the University of Miami shows that the application of vitamin E can actually impede healing. The results showed that 90 percent of the subjects either experienced no difference in the scar, or a worsening of the scar. And 33 percent experienced increased skin irritation (contact dermatitis) from using the topical treatment.
Erase Acne Scars With Bleach Cream
So what can you do to remove potentially debilitating acne scars? For major pitting and depression type scars, lasers, peels, and other treatments at the dermatologist’s office may be necessary.
However, for smaller scars or hyperpigmentation, you can reduce the appearance of the scar by using bleaching creams.
Bleaching creams can reduce the redness of acne (some formulations even contain ingredients that help heal the blemish), and the darkness of acne scars. Some skin bleaching creams contain glycolic acid, which speeds up cell turnover and regeneration. The improved cell regeneration results in more collagen being produced, which can help prevent deep pitting. Additionally, the bleaching will prevent hyperpigmentation from marring your skin.
Acne scars are not always preventable, but they can be treated. Armed with the knowledge of what causes them and what makes the scars worse, you can avoid making the scars worse than they are. Treat the ones you can with bleach cream to immediately reduce scarring and improve your overall appearance.
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