Most people will battle acne at some point in their lives, though some have it worse than others, especially during adolescence. And even after your acne clears up, your skin might not be entirely in the clear. As if acne wasn’t enough of a nuisance on its own, this skin condition can leave its share of scars long after a breakout.
If you struggle with acne scars, you’ve probably wondered if it’s possible to get rid of them. While acne scar treatments are available and constantly improving, the best way to keep your skin clear of these marks is to prevent them in the first place. In order to do that, it helps to know why you get acne scars in the first place.
Let’s discuss how acne turns into acne scars, how to keep them from appearing, and how to remove stubborn scars from your skin.
Like all scars, acne scars appear when the skin gets deeply damaged. Minor abrasions to the outer layer of skin (epidermis) don’t tend to result in scarring because the body can more easily regenerate the skin’s original structure. But when the dermis (the layer beneath the epidermis) takes a hit, the skin must produce new collagen fibers, resulting in new tissue that’s often different in pigmentation and texture than the original portion of skin.
Acne takes root in the dermis when oil glands become filled with excess cells. While mild to moderate acne outbreaks often go away on their own over time, severe acne can linger and cause irritation and pain. No matter how bad the breakout is, though, anyone with acne may attempt to pick at, scratch, and/or pop their pimples for relief. While popping pimples can indeed flush out the excess debris and cells, it can further irritate the dermis and affect the surrounding tissue. This can lead to more aggressive breakouts and, eventually, scarring.
In short, then, acne scars are formed when there is a significant break in the follicle wall, which is inside the dermis. And in most cases, this damage to the dermis results from picking at acne and related scabs. However, severe acne may lead to scarring regardless of whether a patient touches their pimples or not.
Now that we’ve discussed why you and others get acne scars, let’s go over ways to prevent them. While there is no definitive way to prevent or get rid of acne scars for good, you can at least lower your chances of developing them by taking better care of your skin and monitoring your behavior.
First off, if your skin is prone to acne (and scarring for that matter), talk to your dermatologist to find solutions that will keep breakouts at bay. After all, the less acne you have, the fewer scars you’ll get. When acne does rear its ugly head, make sure you treat it quickly. You might not be able to keep your skin entirely clear, but controlling your acne will help prevent inflammation and scarring. While you’re at it, ask your dermatologist about ways to keep your skin healthy, clean, and well- hydrated overall. Taking good care of your skin will help prevent and minimize acne flareups.
In addition to treating your acne and caring for your skin generally, the best way to avoid and reduce acne scars is to stop yourself from touching, squeezing, scratching, picking, or popping your pimples. This will require a decent amount of self-control, as the urge to eliminate those blemishes can be overwhelming. Constantly keep in mind that your acne will heal on its own and that messing with your pimples can cause further damage and lead to scarring. If you’re struggling with your self-esteem, seek support groups either locally or online. You’ll find that you’re not alone in your fight against acne and acne scars.
Unfortunately, even the most disciplined approach to acne scar prevention can fail. And even if you’ve managed to stop any new scars from forming, you may have some prior ones to deal with. If so, you should ask your dermatologist about acne scar treatment. Some treatment options include:
Getting rid of your acne scars can give you clearer skin, boost your confidence, and promote overall skin health. Don’t let acne scars get in the way of your happiness. At Premier Dermatology Partners, we aim to help our patients make informed decisions about their skin health that will improve their lives. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.