Do Acne Marks Ever Go Away?

One of the prime questions that people ask when they seek treatment for acne is if the scars will entirely disappear. The answer is yes, and no. This is because scars form when your skin is damaged in the dermal level, the layer of skin where new skin cells originate.

As your body cures the wound, it creates new collagen fibers and this repair of destroyed tissue results in scar formation. Once the scar forms, it will not go away. However, you can help heal acne marks and make the skin appear better. You might not make the scars disappear, but there are things you can do to reduce acne scar size, color, and appearance.

With technology advancement, today, some acne scar treatments can minimize and lighten the appearance of scars to the point where they are nearly unnoticeable. Today, some acne scar treatments can reduce and lighten the appearance of scars to the point they're almost undetectable.

How to treat acne marks and scars?

If you suffer from acne and have scarring, getting started on any scar treatment without addressing the initial reason for their appearance, the efforts will be pointless. New pimples start forming continuing to cause scarring on the skin surface.

What's the distinction between acne marks and acne scars?

To treat acne marks and scars, it's good to learn how to differentiate between the two. What most don’t realize is that a dark or pink mark on the skin is not an acne scar. Redness in the skin often leaves behind a stain as part of the natural healing method. The inflammation increases pigment production, creating the marks that disappear on its own over time. Unlike scars, they are smooth to the touch meaning they are not raised or indented, signifying no permanent collagen harm to the skin.

Acne scars are formed when there is an injury to the skin which leads to unusual collagen production and appears raised or bumpy. There are two kinds of acne scars: depressed and raised. Depressed scars look like pits or craters, and raised scars may be firm and tender, and regrettably, these are permanent. Some scars can be thick, raised hypertrophic scars that protrude above the skin; others are keloids, which are scars that have over-healed, and show as dense rubbery skin tissue. There are atrophic scars that look like depressions in the skin, and they're the most difficult to treat. The three main classes of atrophic scars are:

Ice pick scars

They are deeper than they are wide, with jagged edges and sometimes they look like a large, scooped out pore.

Boxcar scars

They are broad, rectangular depressions with deep, defined edges.

Rolling scars

They are large dents that have rounded, sloping edges.

What causes acne scars and dark marks?

The blemishes that linger after a pimple has healed are as a result of inflammation that has disturbed the skin's natural healing process. When your skin is exposed like when you pop a pimple and then closes back, you can get irregular pigmentation, texture, and skin tone that appears different from the rest of your skin. Sometimes the broken blood veins that persist after an acne lesion fades can result in a mark. For those able to refrain from picking, inflamed pimples or blemishes can still leave a dark brown or red mark, but they naturally fade throughout a few months.Since it's quite difficult to ascertain what causes one to scar more than another, the best way to dodge scarring is to manage acne with a great skin care routine and resist picking, poking, or touching a pimple.

Acne scar causes

Acne scars occur when normal skin tissue is destroyed and replaced with fibrous one. Think of an acne lesion as a wound. When the harm caused by acne is a lot, the body responds by creating too much or too little tissue. With too much tissue forms a keloid or a hypertrophic scar, and too little leads to depression in the skin or atrophic scar. The deeper and more hurt the acne lesion is, or the more it is squeezed, the more likely it is to scar.Some marks and scars are entirely within your control while others are not. Aside from genetics, many lifestyle habits can cause dark marks and scars to worsen. Spending time in the sun and picking or squeezing pimples creates further inflammation and can ultimately lead to more damage.

What to do to acne marks and scars first?

Picking at and popping pimples can damage your skin and result in scarring. But even if you're careful with your skin, scars can still develop. Severe blemishes, those that are highly inflamed, are more likely to scar. Some persons are very prone to scarring with even insignificant blemishes leaving scars.

If you notice some scarring, there are a few things you can do. First: the acne needs to be brought under control. See a dermatologist. If one is already treating you, follow their directions precisely and let them know if you have any concerns. Once your skin is clear, then you can choose what steps need to be taken next.

The best acne scar treatments and procedures

The discoloration from dark marks will fade over time, taking between 3-6 months to go away on their own. But, there are some treatment options to help speed up the process.

Topical Retinoids

They are used to clear acne, but they're also prescribed to reduce dark marks that acne leaves behind. These dark spots on the skin are super common, and almost everyone with acne gets them. It's called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This isn't a true acne scar. In some cases, it even fades away by itself without treatment. Topical retinoids help speed up the process and work to fade away even stubborn marks. Topical retinoids work only on dark marks. Pitted or depressed scars, however, need more than just topical creams.

Laser Treatments

They come in two modes: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers resurface the skin by removing the outer layers. Non-ablative lasers create differences in the dermis without resulting in damage to the skin. They are often referred to as lunchtime lasers because they can be done quickly, such as over a lunch hour break. Unlike ablative lasers, there is little to no downtime needed.

Ablative lasers

The most common ablative lasers used on acne scars are the carbon dioxide and erbium-YAG lasers. They burn skin tissue in a controlled manner to a specific depth. The result is that the "new" skin is smoother, the atrophic scars are reduced in depth, and the overall look of scarred tissue is softened. Skin usually heals within two weeks but can remain red for a while after. The redness fades over time.

Non-ablative lasers

Non-ablative lasers tighten the skin and incite new collagen formation. These lasers are most useful for mild acne scarring and pigmentation issues, rather than deep, pitted scars. However, pulsed dye lasers are a kind of non-ablative laser that are used to raise scars and keloids better. Hypopigmentation is a potential side effect of the laser treatment, especially in darker skin tones. Your dermatologist can tell you if you are a good candidate for this kind of treatment.

Punch Excision, Punch Elevation and Punch Grafting

The punch procedures are used to treat ice pick and other depressed acne scars. A small punch tool, which is often depicted as a tiny, circular cookie cutter, is used to cut the scarred tissue from the skin. After the scar is removed, the skin is sutured closed. The small scar resulting from the therapy may be left, but it is less obvious than the original one. The new scar can grow fainter over time, or be more hastily faded using resurfacing techniques such as microdermabrasion or laser treatment.

Boxcar scar treatment

After a scar is removed, a skin graft can be used to fill the void left. The graft is taken from the skin behind the ear. Again, these treatments leave their scars, but they are less noticeable than the pitted scars and can be resurfaced more quickly. For deep boxcar scars whose bases are made of normal-looking skin, the punch elevation technique can be used. During a punch elevation, only the base of the scar is removed. The dermatologist then lifts the base to the skin's surface, where it is attached with stitches or skin glue such as Dermabond. 

Subcutaneous Incision

Subcutaneous incision, is also known as subcision, is used in the treatment of rolling acne scars, as well as some depressed acne scars. Subcision is an easy surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia.A needle or small scalpel is injected to run parallel to the skin's surface. The instrument cuts the scar bands of tissue that hold the skin to deeper physical structures. The skin noticeably lifts once these bands have been released, smoothing the skin surface appearance.

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is also done under local anesthesia. A rapidly rotating wire brush scrapes the top layers of the skin. After healing, the scar has softened, and pitted scars are diminished in depth. It is used to treat depressed boxcar scarring. This procedure may make an ice pick scars more prominent because while they are narrow at the skin's surface, they mostly wider at the base.

 Microdermabrasion

Not to be mistaken with dermabrasion, microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that is performed at spas as well as at a dermatologist. During a microdermabrasion treatment, a machine discharges ultra-fine aluminum oxide crystals through a tube and onto the skin. The crystals are then simultaneously vacuumed away. Some treatments are needed as only the surface skin cells can be removed. Microdermabrasion is ideal for hyperpigmentation. This treatment won't work for pitted or depressed scarring.

 Dermal Fillers

Another option for depressed acne scars is using dermal fillers. A filler is a substance injected into an acne scar, elevating the base of the scar, so it is even with the skin's surface. The results are not stable, so treatment needs to be repeated after several months. Materials used as dermal fillers include human and bovine collagen, hyaluronic acid, and fat gotten from the patient's body. Your dermatologist will assist you in deciding which filler will be most appropriate for you.

 Steroid Treatments

They are often on raised hypertrophic and keloid scars. They can be injected directly into the scar tissue, making the tissue shrink or flatten, softening the scarred tissue and improving the overall look. Corticosteroid creams and impregnated tapes, infused with a corticosteroid, used on a scar and left for several hours at a time can also be used to manage hypertrophic scars.

It's important to be practical, and understand that most scars can't be entirely erased. But a lot of improvement can be achieved with the right therapy or a combination of treatments. Your dermatologist can suggest the most suitable scar treatments for you. Many choose to not treat their scars. Remember, the scars are more obvious to you than they are to anyone else.

Natural cures for acne

If the thought of visiting a dermatologist makes you woozy, there are numerous ways to treat acne scars without involving lasers, surgery, or injections. But remember as with any medication, what works for one patient may not work for you. Only you can recognize if the medication you are using is improving your acne scars. Below are some of the most effective natural remedies you can use to treat acne.

Topical creams - You can use over the counter creams to stimulate new skin cell growth to reduce the appearance of scars. These ointments have alpha hydroxy acids that help to reduce swelling and itching.

For scars that have raised tissue, they can be treated through the use of massage or pressure bandages to smooth out the build up scar tissue.

Use gels that contain tea tree oil to treat acne marks. Tea tree oil has been known to cure the skin and make it smoother, but this remedy may result in allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin.

You can also use vinegar to get rid of acne marks. Vinegar behaves like a gentle chemical peel to remove the epidermis (top layer of the skin), and it enhances the turnover of old skin cells, which are replaced with new cells.

Lime juice or lemon - rubbing lemon or lime juice to acne scars will eid in lightening the color of the scars so that they are less noticeable.

This list is not limited; there are other natural approaches to acne marks. If natural methods do not give you positive results, you might have to try medical treatment options. Read the section above about procedures your doctor can perform to make your cane scars go away.

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