Acne Scars: Understanding The Different Types Of Acne Scarring, Treatments And Prevention Tips

Acne scarring can take various forms, each requiring different approaches for treatment. Knowing the type of scars you have can help you and your dermatologist choose the most effective treatment strategy. Here are the main types of acne scars:

1. Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars are the most common type of acne scars. They occur when the skin loses collagen during the healing process of an acne lesion. These scars are characterised by depressions or indentations in the skin. Atrophic scars can be further divided into three subtypes:

  • Ice Pick Scars: These are deep, narrow, and sharp-edged scars that extend into the dermis. Ice pick scars resemble small, round or oval holes, similar to the marks left by an ice pick. They are often the most challenging type of acne scars to treat.
  • Boxcar Scars: Boxcar scars are broad, rectangular depressions with sharply defined edges. They can be shallow or deep, and they often give the skin a pitted appearance. Boxcar scars are usually caused by severe inflammatory acne.
  • Rolling Scars: Rolling scars have a wave-like appearance due to their wide, shallow depth. They result from damage under the surface of the skin, which creates an uneven texture. These scars are usually caused by long-term inflammatory acne.

2. Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars

Hypertrophic and keloid scars are raised, thickened scars that form due to an overproduction of collagen during the healing process.

  • Hypertrophic Scars: These scars are raised but remain within the boundaries of the original acne lesion. They are often red and may diminish in size over time. Hypertrophic scars are more common on the chest, back, and shoulders.
  • Keloid Scars: Keloid scars are similar to hypertrophic scars but extend beyond the original lesion site. They can continue to grow over time and may become quite large. Keloids are more common in individuals with darker skin tones and tend to occur on the chest, shoulders, and jawline.

3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

While not a true scar, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common consequence of acne. PIH appears as dark spots or patches on the skin where acne lesions have healed. This discoloration occurs due to an overproduction of melanin in response to inflammation. PIH can fade over time, but treatments like chemical peels, topical retinoids, and laser therapy can help accelerate the process.

Treatments we recommend for Acne Scarring

Skin Pen Microneedling: This procedure stimulates collagen production by creating tiny micro-injuries in the skin, which helps improve the texture and appearance of scars.

Dermal Fillers: Fillers can be injected into depressed scars to raise them to the level of the surrounding skin.

CO2 Laser Resurfacing: This Laser employs a fractional CO2 laser to target precise areas of the skin, promoting collagen production and stimulating the body's natural healing process.

VASQ Laser: Vascular lasers are an essential tool for facial rejuvenation by correcting red and brown skin discolouration, eliminating virtually all vascular and pigmented lesions.

Alumier MD Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.25: Retinol Resurfacing Serum is a pure potent retinol serum that dramatically improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and skin texture, while evening skin tone. Available in 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 (This is a step up system patients should start on 0.25 if they are new to retinol).

Understanding the different types of acne scarring is the first step towards finding the right treatment. Whether you have atrophic, hypertrophic, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, there are effective treatments available to help improve your skin's appearance. Consulting with a dermatologist is crucial to developing a personalised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and skin type.

Click here to book a consultation with one of our skin therapists, or contact the clinic on 0121 456 7930.

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