Acne brings huge discomfort and produces a huge dent in our self-esteem. Even when it’s finally gone, the scars it leave haunts us in our everyday life.
If you want to completely be free of these scars and bring back the confidence you have lost, then you have to learn the different types of acne scars and how to treat each of them.
Types of Acne Scars
There are generally 7 types of acne scars: ice pick, rolling, box car, hypertrophic, keloid, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation.
In this article, I have classified them into 3 simple groups and offer what we believe to be the best treatments for them.
Ice pick, rolling, and boxcar scars falls under the “indented” or atrophic scars. With this type of acne scar, you will find a shallow “hole” or pit where the scar is meant to be. This is caused by the insufficient release of collagen on the affected part of the skin during the healing process.
The three scars are named based on their appearance. Ice pick scars are deep and starts wide and becomes narrow as it goes deeper into the skin.
This scar is generally dealt with more complex medical treatments. Rolling acne scars are shallower and have a wider opening while box car have defined edges.
For indented scars, these are the most practical treatments:
- Surgery – This procedure is by far the most promising for atrophy scars, but one that you must first discuss with your dermatologist. It involves several steps. First, the skin is incised to remove the scar. Then, the skin tissue is raised to level the skin surface. Skin grafting may also be done to fill gaps which can’t otherwise be saved through simple tissue raising.
- Laser skin resurfacing – This often follows surgeries when scars are deemed severe. In such a case, the surgery is done to make the scar smaller and its openings narrower. Laser skin resurfacing is then utilized to fade the persistent marks. This procedure is often adopter for treating acne scars, specifically ice pick and shallow box car scars.
- Microdermabrasion – This treatment procedure is recommended for mild scarring. With this treatment, the outer layer of your skin is removed, allowing it to regenerate faster and consequently diminishing, sometimes even completely eliminating, shallow scars.
This type of scar is the result of excess collagen supply during the healing process and, contrary to atrophy scars, produces bumps or elevation on your skin’s surface. This type of scar includes hypertrophic and keloid scars and is treated through the following:
- Surgery, laser treatment, and microdermabrasion
- Injections – This utilizes substances like corticosteroids, interferon, silicon, and the like, which is injected into your skin to shrink and flatten the scars, producing an even surface.
- Cryotherapy – In this procedure, the scar tissue is frozen, “killing” it and making it peel by itself.
Discoloration and Pigmentation
Red or dark spots on the affected skin area may develop after your acne is cleared. This is called hyperpigmentation. It is caused by the excessive production of skin pigments (melanin) on the area affected.
The opposite, hypopigmentation, may also occur, wherein insufficient melanin is produced, making the affected area noticeably lighter than its surrounding skin.
Unlike the first two categories of acne scars, pigmentation and discoloration are easily treated. In some cases, the discoloration naturally fades after some time passes.
If you aren’t as lucky and found your acne spots lingering, you may resort to any of the following treatments:
- Natural skin care treatment (using natural exfoliators and oils)
- Laser treatment
- Chemical peel – While this can easily be purchased from most beauty shops, it is generally recommended for shallow and mild scars.
Now knowing the 7 types of scars and their treatments, you might already have an idea which product or procedure to take. As always, if you are not sure about which treatment to use, consulting with a professional is recommended.