Acne already takes a toll on your self-esteem. Knowing scars might appear only adds to your stress. And unfortunately, the potential is all too real, as one in five people with acne develops scarring.
Though there’s no way to predict who will end up with scarring, Theresa Durchhalter, DO, FAAD, at Allure Dermatology in Hicksville, New York, can help you prevent the problem. And if scars develop, she offers advanced treatments that smooth scars away.
How acne scars develop
Any type of acne may cause scarring, but the risk is significantly lower if you have mild acne. When the blemishes are only at the surface, your skin can easily heal the small wound when the acne clears up.
Problems begin when bacteria that naturally thrive on your skin get into the mix and cause inflammation. You see the results in the form of large, red, inflammatory acne. However, there’s an even bigger problem under the surface.
The inflammation spreads deep under your skin and damages the tissues, leaving a larger wound for your body to heal. After inflammatory acne improves, you may see two types of scars:
Your skin produces collagen to heal the wound, but sometimes it produces too much. The excess collagen forms a thick, raised scar. Beyond its size, scars always look different because the new collagen used to repair the wound doesn’t have the same quality or texture as the rest of your skin.
Depressed scars develop when inflammation causes tissue loss that doesn’t get replaced with enough collagen. These scars range in severity, with some forming deep pits in your skin.
Risks of developing an acne scar
Inflammation is the top risk factor for developing a scar, but other issues influence the process. Your risk of scarring increases if you:
Develop cysts and nodules
Inflammatory acne can progress to cause nodules and cysts. These lesions are larger, more severely inflamed and/or infected, and take longer to heal. They’re also more likely to cause a scar than inflammatory acne.
Pick, squeeze, or pop acne
Pushing at acne makes the blemish more likely to become inflamed. You force the inflammation deeper under your skin if it's already inflamed.
Put off or don’t seek treatment
The longer the inflammation lasts, the higher your risk of developing scars.
Have a family history
Like most health conditions, genes play a role. If you have a blood relative who developed acne scars, then your genetic tendency raises your chance of scarring.
Preventing acne scars
The best way to prevent an acne scar is to get medical care as early as possible. The challenge is that there’s no way to define how soon you should consider getting treatment.
Everyone heals at a different pace, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach you can follow. Some people may develop a scar no matter their steps to prevent the problem. Despite these variables, we can offer two recommendations.
First, over-the-counter topical treatments take 4-6 weeks of diligent use before you start to see any improvement. In most cases, you can wait that long before considering treatment.
And second, if you develop severe inflammation, nodules, or cysts, don’t wait 4-6 weeks to talk with us. Call the office if you’re unsure whether your acne needs medical treatment.
Treating acne scars
We offer several treatments that safely and effectively diminish the appearance of acne scars. The best treatment depends on the type and severity of your scar. This list gives you an idea of the many options:
- Dermal fillers
- Skin resurfacing (chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing)
- Noninvasive skin tightening (radiofrequency treatments)
- Collagen induction therapy (microneedling)
- Intense pulsed light treatment
- Corticosteroid injections
- Minor surgery
You may also be able to flatten and fade raised scars with scar creams. However, you must use these products continuously for optimal effectiveness.
If you’re worried about acne scarring, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with the caring team at Allure Dermatology. Call or book online today.