As frustrating as they are, acne are a common ailment of people of all skin types. So, if you think you’re the only one who had their skin cells turn on them and betray them, rest assured; you aren’t. What’s more, acne usually aren’t even the worst skin problem people face. They often leave behind scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that refuses to fade on their own.
Here at Ottawa Vein & Cosmetic Medical Clinic, we understand the effects acne scars can have on a person’s confidence, self-image, and life in general, which is why we offer more than a handful of the latest innovative acne and acne scar treatments that are highly effective.
Acne Scars — Why Are They So Persistent?
Most pimples disappear on their own. We might have to wait patiently for them to do so, but eventually, they will. Acne and acne scars, on the other hand, will linger for months or even years.
The leading cause of acne is excess sebum production. When our pores get clogged with dead skin, bacteria, or excess oil, we might get a pimple. Each pore is an opening to a follicle, a pocket that contains hair and oil glands. These glands produce sebum (or oil) that keeps our skin soft and young by lubricating it.
Typically, the oil travels up the hair and lubricates the skin through the pores. If the pores are clogged, however, the oil will get trapped.
When an area becomes inflamed, it’s not uncommon that, after the swelling and redness go down, you’re left with an acne scar.
Inflammatory lesions (mild acne, cystic acne, papules, and pustules) can cause acne scars. Inflammation can break the follicle wall and affect the surrounding tissue. This causes deep lessons in the skin and ultimately results in an acne scar. But, not everyone has acne scars, so what precisely contributes to them?
Inflammatory acne damage the skin and the underlying collagen. While the inflammation goes down and the area heals, your body will produce collagen to expedite the process. However, if it produces too much or too little, you might be left with a depressed or a raised acne scar.
What Causes Acne Scars?
Sometimes, we’re genetically predisposed to have acne scars. If you have a lot of family members with acne-prone skin and acne scars, there’s a strong chance you’ll develop them as well. Aside from that, factors that cause acne scars are:
- prolonging treatment (if you have acne, you need to go to a dermatologist office and seek professional help)
- trying DIY solutions, picking skin and acne, and popping pimples
- the severity of acne (more severe cases have a higher risk of after-acne scars)
Out of these three, picking your skin and not letting the acne heal on its own is the worst. Generally speaking, that causes most acne scars — picking at inflamed skin on your own is never a good idea.
Types of Acne Scars
Just like people have different skin types, they can also have different types of acne scars. What you’re left with after acne goes away depends on the severity of the acne and your treatment of them.
As mentioned, acne scars can either be depressed or raised. We can divide acne scars into four distinct categories:
- Keloid scars (or raised scars) occur when the skin produces too much collagen, leaving raised scar tissue.
- Boxcar scars (a form of depressed scars) are wide and usually in a box shape.
- Rolling scars give the skin a wavy texture and make it generally uneven. These depressed scars often occur after moderate or severe cases of acne.
- Icepick scars are more linear in appearance than other depressed scars and resemble small, deep puncture holes.
Furthermore, you may also experience discoloration after acne. Although discoloration isn’t technically a scar, it’s still a massive issue for people. Your skin tone and type may play a vital role when it comes to the kind of discoloration you experience. People with darker skin develop brown blemishing after acne or PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), while people with a lighter complexion often have persistent redness.
Treating Acne Scars and Removing Them For Good
On their own, acne scars may fade a bit after a few years. However, they will never completely go away or heal on their own. That’s why people often turn to professional treatments to expedite the process and ensure their acne scars are a memory instead of a daily reminder they see every day in the mirror.
Here at Ottawa Vein & Cosmetic Medical Clinic, we offer several different treatments both for acne and acne scars.
Acne and Acne Scars Treatments
If you have acne scars but are still battling active acne as well, consider one of the following treatments:
- Effective skincare
- Chemical Peel
Why Skincare Matters
Skincare is the cornerstone of dealing with any skin problem. If we take care of our skin, clean it daily with mild products to ensure we remove that excess sebum and dirt and use makeup that won’t clog our pores, we have a better chance of treating acne scars. In fact, effective skincare also helps us prevent not only acne scars but also acne themselves.
Microdermabrasion can treat both acne and acne scars, given that it exfoliates the skin to renew tone and texture. Even after one treatment, the skin becomes smoother and fine lines, damage, scars, and acne disappear or lessen.
At the Ottawa Vein & Cosmetic Medical Clinic, we use SilkPeel™ Dermalinfusion™ — a new format of dermabrasion. With a diamond tip head, this method evenly abrades the skin. That allows us to deliver topical solutions specific to your skin type under pressure smoothly and uniformly.
Chemical peels use controlled injury to peel off the oldest, upper skin layers. By using a strong acid solution to chemically exfoliate the skin, we can improve not only the overall appearance of the skin but also blemishes, scars, and other issues.
Chemical peels work by going under the skin, turning over old skin cells, and promoting new growth. This removes the old, damaged skin (and acne and acne scars along with it) and incites regeneration.
Acne Scar Treatments
For old (or newly formed) acne scars on otherwise acne-clear skin, consider:
- PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
- Medical needling
- Dermal fillers
- PEARL laser resurfacing
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
PRP therapy has anti-aging properties and can elevate the overall look of your skin. It’s often used to treat injuries, which is why it can be of immense help with acne scars. Atrophic acne scarring technically isn’t an injury, but we can trick your body to treat it as such. PRP therapy consists of infusing platelet-rich plasma from your blood (usually 10 ml) into the scarred skin. Because it’s full of nutrients and proteins, it will accelerate collagen production and promote healing as well as plump up the skin.
This has a fantastic effect on acne scars, especially when combined with other forms of treatment such as microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, etc.
Microneedling is a procedure that includes puncturing the skin with a significant number of tiny needles (usually 0.5 or 1 mm wide). These needles create wounds that we can’t really see with the naked eye. However, the wounds play a critical part in healing acne scars because they boost the immune system and tell it that it needs to heal the affected area. This increases collagen production.
As mentioned, depressed scars occur due to a lack of collagen production. Ergo, when we boost collagen production in the affected area, our immune system will heal or smooth the acne scars there (as well as all fine wrinkles, lines, and sun damage).
Boxcar, icepick, and rolling scars can all benefit from microneedling.
Although dermal fillers usually play a big role in helping sagging, old skin look younger and more plumped, they can also be of great help when treating acne scars, specifically depressed ones.
Dermal fillers are injected beneath the surface of the skin. Thanks to them, fine lines and wrinkles practically disappear because the skin gets enhanced in shallow areas. Because dermal fillers treat all shallow areas, we can use them to enhance and better the appearance of acne scars.
Of course, fillers also boost the skin’s natural collagen production. That further helps with decreasing the depth of acne scars. By adding volume to the skin and boosting collagen production, we can see dramatic changes even when using just dermal fillers as an acne scar treatment.
PEARL Laser Resurfacing
Laser treatment is often the most effective way of dealing with acne scars. The PEARL laser resurfacing is a rejuvenation treatment that treats all uneven skin textures. The laser works in a simple way. It emits pulses that are directed into the top layer of the skin. These pulses can help us strategically and precisely treat old skin with flaws such as wrinkles, lines, sun damage, spots, and scars. However, that’s not everything the laser does.
While it’s treating the outer layers of the skin, it’s also heating the deeper skin layers. That improves and stimulates collagen production that has twofold benefits:
- It makes the skin’s natural protective properties kick in, which minimizes downtime after the procedure.
- It boosts collagen production, which can help with acne scar healing.
A Few Parting Words
Although the battle to remove acne scars is an uphill one, it’s not impossible. The effectiveness of treatments depends on how diligent you are but also your skin type, scar type, and general skin state.
If you’re unsure which method is the best for you, book a consultation at the Ottawa Vein & Cosmetic Medical Clinic. Although they are all highly effective, not all treatments will work as well for everyone. You have to find the right ones for you, and we’ll be more than happy to help you on your journey to scar-free skin!