Acne scarring is not all created equal, and affects about a third of people suffering acne vulgaris. Scarring is more common in certain forms of acne (nodulocystic acne, acne conglobata, acne fulminans, and infantile acne).
Acne can leave deep scars, which come in the following forms:
- Ice-pick scars (deep, narrow, pitted scars)
- Rolling scars (broad depressions with a sloped edge)
- Boxcar scars (broad depressions with well-defined edges)
- Atrophic scars (flat, thin scars)
- Hypertrophic or keloid scars (thick, lumpy scarring)
Treating acne scarring
Acne scarring can be treated using a few different devices, certain creams and applications, and some specialised surgical techniques. We use a combination approach for our acne-scarred clients, including newer radiofrequency treatments, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, and other laser treatments. We also use hyaluronic acid (a dermal filler) which actually improves skin over time.
- Atrophic and rolling scars typically respond well to hyaluronic acid and collagen-stimulating treatments, dermabrasion, skin needling, and laser resurfacing.
- Hypertrophic scars tend to respond well to topical steroids, skin needling, cryotherapy and sometimes surgical revision.
- Keloid scarring is difficult to treat, since any damage to the skin causes a recurrence of the problem.
Acne-related pigmentation changes
The inflamed acne lesion will heal, leaving a small colour change on the skin that usually eventually fades and becomes the same colour as the rest of the face. It can be pink or purple, brown (pigmentation), or white (hyperpigmentation).
Post-inflammatory pigmentation is an issue for many people after a period of skin inflammation whereby the skin changes its normal pigment – either too much or too little – with acne being a major trigger. Chemical peels and bleaching creams may be useful here. Your dermatologist, however, is the best person to talk to about your specific skin issues – don’t just buy products over the counter to try to deal with your acne scarring. We have treatments that, over time, can really make a dent (so to speak) in your acne scarring.