What Causes Acne Scars?
Acne can cause inflammation deep in your skin that leads to the destruction of tissue and the formation of scars. Your skin will try to repair itself, but it might not do the job perfectly. Acne scars happen when your body makes too much or too little collagen. Pigmentation issues can also occur alongside blemishes, although these marks are not actually acne scars. Acne scars are raised or depressed areas of uneven skin texture.
How Do You Know If Acne is Going to Scar?
Acne scars can happen to anyone. There’s no way to predict who will have scars after their blemishes finally clear up. However, there are certain things can increase your chances of developing acne scars, including:
- Having inflammatory (red, swollen, painful) acne
- Delaying treatment for inflammatory acne
- Having a family history of acne scars or abnormal scarring
- Squeezing, popping, or picking at your pimples
Even if you have all of these risk factors, you might not develop acne scars. However, they are all good reasons to visit a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Dina Strachan for help clearing up your skin. The sooner you seek treatment for your acne, the better chance you have at preventing the formation of scars.
Treating Atrophic or Depressed Acne Scars
Atrophic acne scars form when your skin fails to produce enough collagen during wound healing. Also known as depressed acne scars, these marks sit below the surrounding skin. Atrophic acne scars are most common on the face. They’re also very difficult to conceal.
There are a few different types of atrophic acne scars. Icepick scars have a tiny diameter but taper to a deep point. Boxcar scars look square or rectangular. And rolling scars look like half circles that often connect to form a wave-like texture.
If you’re prone to depressed acne scars, getting your acne under control is your best defense against future marks. Fortunately, there are also products and services that can make these scars look better. Treatments that can be beneficial for people with depressed scars include:
Treating Hypertrophic or Raised Acne Scars
Hypertrophic acne scars form when your skin produces too much collagen as it heals. The area puffs up around the surrounding skin. These scars often look shiny and red. People of color are more likely to experience hypertrophic scars. Keloid scars are similar to hypertrophic scars; however, they are thicker, more irregular, and extend past the original wound. They also tend to be red or purple. Raised scars are more common on the jawline, chest, and back than the face.
Treatments for raised acne scars include:
- Silicone sheeting
- Scar creams and gels
- Steroid injections
- Laser surgery
Ideal Candidates for Acne Scar Treatment
Acne scar treatments are a good fit for nearly anyone who’s bothered by the look of acne scars. However, many of these services can’t be performed on active breakouts. Acne medications can also interfere with your candidacy. Our board-certified NYC dermatologist will gladly determine your current eligibility.
What Results Can I Expect From Acne Scar Treatment?
Many treatments can make acne scars smaller and less noticeable. Over time, it’s possible to significantly improve the appearance of acne scars, though everyone’s skin responds differently.
Keep in mind that the experience and skill of the person performing these services will have a massive impact on the results you’re able to achieve. Dermatologists offer these treatments daily, so they have the knowledge needed to deliver a safe and effective experience.
Of course, while acne scar treatments can help improve the appearance of your skin, it’s better to prevent them from forming. Our dermatologist can help you clear up your active breakouts.
Does Insurance Cover Acne Scar Treatments?
Medical insurance rarely covers the cost of acne scar treatments. That is because they are often categorized as elective cosmetic services rather than medically necessary ones.
If your budget is a concern, you can consider financing cosmetic services through CareCredit. It is a credit card for health and wellness care. For many of our patients, professional acne scar treatments are a worthwhile investment in their appearance and self-confidence.
Can I Treat Acne Scars At Home?
At-home treatments for raised and depressed acne scars can help improve the appearance and texture of your skin over time. Good habits and consistent use of appropriate products are key to achieving noticeable results. It is important to remember that at-home treatments will not completely eliminate deep or severe scars, but they can certainly help minimize their visibility when combined with in-office services.
For raised acne scars, gentle exfoliation is a crucial step in the at-home treatment process. Chemical exfoliants containing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help slough off dead skin cells and promote skin cell turnover, which may reduce the prominence of raised scars. Look for products with glycolic acid or salicylic acid, which are effective in improving skin texture and reducing scarring.
Additionally, products containing vitamin C can aid in promoting collagen synthesis, helping to improve skin elasticity and support the healing of acne scars. Regular application of vitamin C serums can help fade discoloration and enhance skin texture.
For depressed acne scars, products containing retinoids can be beneficial. Retinoids, such as retinol, encourage skin cell turnover and collagen production, which can gradually improve the appearance of indented scars over time. However, it's essential to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase usage to avoid potential irritation.
Sun protection is also vital when treating acne scars. Sun exposure can darken and worsen the appearance of all types of scars, so be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every single day.
Book Your Acne Scar Treatment Consultation In NYC!
Contact Aglow Dermatology at 212-627-1004 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Strachan. She is a board-certified dermatologist in New York with many years of experience treating diverse patients. She can help improve the look of your stubborn acne scars no matter your skin tone or type.