How to Eliminate Acne Scars

Treating acne and the scars they leave behind is difficult. Once you find a skin care regimen that works for you and can control your breakouts, acne scars and other impurities may be left behind. Although many products claim to be effective in treating acne scars and dark spots, very few of them actually work. Before investing in products that may or may not eliminate your scars, it is important to figure out if your scars are actually scars.

What are Acne Scars?

Scar tissue forms when the body is unable to produce collagen to an injured area. Skin cells can become damaged when inflammation, pain, or swelling occurs. Based on the amount of collagen produced by the injured skin cells, the individual will be left with an atrophic or hypertrophic scar.

Atrophic scars occur when the skin cells are damaged from acne and therefore aren’t able to create enough collagen to fill in the damaged area, which leaves concavity in the skin. These scars leave either ice-pick, boxcar, or rolling scars. The shape and size of the scar is dependent on the longevity of the tissue damage in addition to your body’s healing capabilities.

Hypertrophic scars are left behind when acne-damaged skin cells produce too much collagen. These scars appear raised and sometimes shiny. The occurrence of hypertrophic scars is mostly dependent on genetics.

Typically only severe acne will leave scars. Although genetics play a role in the formation of these scars, the biggest factors include depth and duration. The deeper the blemish and the longer it goes untreated, the more likely it is to form a scar or other skin damage. To determine what exactly your skin condition is, run your fingers over the area in question. If it is raised or indented, it is an acne scar. If it is smooth and discolored, it is a different issue.

If Dark Spots Aren’t Acne Scars, What are They?

Not all acne lesions will leave scars. Mild acne breakouts do not penetrate deep enough to reach the skin cells that produce collagen. Breakouts can leave dark spots or redness behind if the acne is inflamed enough to affect the cells on the surface of the skin. The color of the mark left behind depends on which cells were damaged from the breakout. Dark spots occur when melanocytes are damaged. Melanocytes create melanin which is the pigment responsible for giving the skin its natural color. Hyperpigmentation spots are typically brown, they can appear purple or blue depending on the individual’s skin tone.

Breakouts can sometimes leave red spots behind rather than brown, meaning that the capillaries at the surface of the skin are damaged. The body’s initial response to damage is to increase the blood flow to the area. This will cause redness and swelling, also known as erythema. This will normally disappear as soon as the wound has healed. Sometimes the capillaries become too damaged to return to normal, and therefore will leave red spots on the affected area.

Both hyperpigmentation and erythema will subside once inflammation is cleared, which can sometimes take months or years.

What Should I do About my Acne Scars and Pigmentation?

Since the acne scars left behind after a breakout are caused by tissue damage to the dermis, treating it will demand some penetration to reach the middle layer of the skin. At Allurant, we recommend combining our Scarlet radiofrequency microneedling treatment with the AdvaTx laser toning and rejuvenation procedure. The radiofrequency microneedling treatment penetrates deep into the dermis to attack the sebaceous gland and prevent the production of oil in acne prone patients while the AdvaTx procedure targets hyperpigmentation such as dark spots and redness left behind from acne. Together, these treatments will treat active lesions while eliminating scarring and discoloration to create the perfect complexion.