An unexpected pimple is annoying enough, but the scars and red marks it leaves behind are often worse to deal with! Acne scars and patches of discolouration can linger for months, years or even be permanent! But there are tactics you can employ to smooth your way back to bright, even and healthy skin as quickly and safely as possible!
Know the Difference between Acne Marks and Scars
In order to treat acne marks and scars, we need to first know how to distinguish between the two. There are two different types of acne marks: post inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Both of which are a result of inflammation in the skin. If the spot appears pink or red, we call this PIE, which is caused by a dilating of blood vessels when the skin is inflamed. If the mark is brown, we call it PIH, which is caused by excessive melanin (pigment) production as the skin’s natural inflammatory response. These acne marks usually fade on its own over time, but for some, if not properly dealt with, especially with prolonged sun exposure, can linger for a very long time from months to years.
Acne scars, on the other hand, are formed when there is permanent tissue and collagen damage to the skin and usually appear raised or pitted, this includes hypertrophic scars or keloid and atrophic scars that appear as depressions or indentation in the skin. These usually require treatments that will help remodel the scars.
Different Treatments for Various Forms of Acne Scarring and Marks
At GMA, when it comes to dealing with various forms of acne marks and scars we use an integrated approach, consists of a combination of advanced facials, chemical peel treatments and energy-based devices. When dealing with PIH, we like to use Mandelic Peel, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds that works to increase cell turnover and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and promote a more even skin tone. We also target the PIH with Yellowbeam. The 577 NM wavelength Yellowbeam laser is also highly beneficial in reducing the redness associated with acne marks.
When treating older scars such as ice pick or rolling scars that are no longer red, the Microneedling and/or Infini RF Microneedling offer a superior result that stimulates the reproduction of healthy collagen and elastin which reforms the skin tissue. The Clear & Brilliant laser also helps with resurfacing uneven skin texture and brings back the skin’s healthy glow and radiance.
Prevention is the key! Here Are Some At-Home Tips to Prevent and Reduce Appearance of Acne Scarring!
- Use retinoids as they are the most powerful ingredients in fighting against acne. It helps reduce inflammation, normalize sebum production and regulate cell turnover. Retinoids also help kill acne bacteria. Retinoids can be found in the Environ AVST moisturizers as well as Environ Hydroxy Acid Sebu-Lac Lotion/ Vita-Botanical Sebu-ACE Oil which also help combat breakouts and assist in improving the texture and tone of acne-prone skin. Rule of thumb, the quicker the inflammatory acne is treated, the less the risk of scarring.
- Stop picking your pimples! Bacteria can increase the risk of additional cysts forming and can lead to the development of a larger scar forming. We also need to be aware of the sun exposure as over-exposure to the UV rays can darken scars, making them look more prominent.
- Regular Exfoliation! It is helpful to exfoliate the skin about twice a week to help remove dead skin buildup and thus prevent and reduce the extent of breakouts. Exfoliation also helps to speed up the reduction in pigmentation.