The What, Why And How Of Acne Scarring

So, after years of battling severe acne, getting the wrong advice, being sold the completely incorrect products, and spending lots of money; you’ve FINALLY found the right treatments for you and acne is a thing of the past … and then comes acne scarring. Sound familiar? Yep, the frustration is palpable.

Acne scarring is definitely up there with being one of the most upsetting skin conditions. It can really affect people’s self-esteem, so much so that we’ve had clients come to us feeling down and deflated and thinking that there’s no long-term fix for facial scarring – but we can assure you that there ARE ways to revise it.  

In this blog we’re talking about what acne scarring really is – including the different types, why it forms, and most importantly, how you can help reduce it!

So, what is acne scarring?

Acne scars are permanent, textural changes and indentations that occur on the skin as a result of severe acne. They are often described as being atrophic, which basically means they are a deep or pitted scar formation that sit underneath the normal level of the skin’s surface.

The term “scarring” however, is not used for the temporary red and brown marks that initially remain after acne has occurred – these marks will almost always improve without treatment, so it’s important not to get these confused. Our team are able to tell our clients this difference during their initial consultation.

Why it forms:

Acne scars form as a result of an abnormal healing process happening within the skin after the inflammatory effects of acne. When our skin experiences a severe inflammatory reaction, it causes changes to occur within the dermis. The dermis is home to our good friend collagen, and during this severe reaction, our friend is sadly destroyed.

Collagen forms a large part of the structural framework within our skin and if it’s suddenly taken away, our skin doesn’t get that vital architecture it needs in order to look and feel smooth. When it comes to acne scars, the intense destruction of collagen results in the formation of the aforementioned atrophic scars due to the loss of skin tissue – and there’s even different versions to choose from – lol.

Here’s some common types of scarring:

  • Mixed acne scars.
  • Boxcar: Can be shallow or deep scars that are wide based and have the appearance of being ‘punched out’.
  • Red acne scars.
  • Hypertrophic/Keloid scars: Thickened, wide, often raised scars that develop where skin is injured
  • Ice pick: Sharp and depressed scars V-shaped scars that are very narrow at the base and are generally less than 2mm wide at the skin’s surface.
  • Rolling: Have gently sloping edges and are up to 4-5mm wide.

How scarring can be revised

There are many resurfacing treatments designed to remove scar tissue and to stimulate collagen production like peels, needling, and laser with skin needling being the most popular and effective, especially for more severe cases. We explain this procedure in depth in one of our recent Instagram posts.

Like with all skin conditions however, if the root cause of the scarring (i.e. the acne) is not addressed, then procedures won’t have lasting effects. To avoid clients wasting their time, money and being left disappointed – it’s compulsory to have a full skin consult with our team before we embark on a skin journey. Scar revision is not just about encouraging collagen production, the skin needs to function optimally for it to heal successfully. This is why scarring treatments are often offered either after or alongside a holistic program which can include supplements, an at -home skincare plan, lifestyle changes and other in-clinic treatments. 

 If you have any questions of concerns about acne scarring and treatments for it, as always, the experts at our Point Cook skin clinic are here to help.

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