Acne is classified as a disease, and pimples are one of its symptoms. Certain scenarios are known to trigger acne, e.g.:
- squeezing or picking pimples
- hormonal changes – puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy
- harsh treatment of skin
- tight collars, helmets, back pack straps
- allergy caused by cosmetics, hair products or certain medications
The National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has rubbished common beliefs that suggest acne is caused by stress and dirty skin. The majority of people do not get acne from consuming chocolate and oily food. However, genes also do play a factor in getting acne.
Breakouts make the acne sufferer go through much torment and emotional distress, which can lower self-esteem. Left unattended, acne scars may cause permanent scarring.
HOW DOES SCARRING HAPPEN?
Scarring is a natural part of a healing process that takes place after an injury to the affected area. Scars are not to be confused with birth marks that appear on the skin before birth.
Facial scars often call for unwanted attention or embarrassment. Luckily there are several good options for removal of scars caused by acne.
ACNE SCARS AND RISK FACTORS:
Apart from facial scars caused by acne, these scars can also appear from breakouts on the neck, back, chest and shoulders.
CAUSE OF ACNE BREAKOUTS:
Basically, acne breakouts happen when the skin’s pores are blocked by oil, dirt, bacteria or dead skin cells. Though not a life-threatening condition, acne can be severe and painful.
Symptoms of acne include:
- blackheads – open at the skin’s surface, giving the spots a black appearance because of oxygen in the air
- whiteheads close under the skin’s surface, giving the spots a white appearance
- papules – small, red bumps caused by inflammation or infected hair follicles
- pustules – small, red pimples containing pus
- nodules – solid, painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface
- cysts – painful, large pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface
Treatment options range from do-it-yourself home treatments to consulting a qualified dermatologist.
Home treatment options:
- a good skin cleansing routine that may need to be repeated more than once a day, depending on skin condition
- avoid squeezing or picking pimples
- usage of waterbased make-up (look out for the word “non-comedogenic” on the label)
- keeping hands away from the face
Medical treatment options:
Before treating acne scars, the acne outbreaks need to be treated first. Your dermatologist may prescribe:
- OTC (over the counter) washes or creams that help kill bacteria or reduce oil on the skin.
- oral or topical antibiotics to kill bacteria causing inflammation and pimples. This is a short-term measure only.
- prescription topical creams containing retinoids that reduce oil production, and benzoyl peroxide as a bactericidal agent which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Isotretinoin (commonly known as Accutane) which is a vitamin A based medication to treat severe cases of acne. NOTE: this medication can cause serious side effects and is often used as a last resort.
Once the acne is controlled, your dermatologist may suggest the following scar removal options, depending on the severity of your facial scars and, of course, the budget involved:
- Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion – deep exfoliation of the top layer of the skin. A series of treatments is necessary to see results.
- Chemical peels – consisting of a strong acid to also remove the top layer of the skin. There are different strengths to treat different types of acne scars.
- Laser resurfacing – similar to dermabrasion and chemical peels. However, this treatment has a faster healing time, so you will notice results very soon.
- Fillers – injected to fill depressed acne scars and even out the skin. They can be made out of collagen, your own fat or Botox. Treatments may need to be repeated in some individuals.
- Microneedling – a newer treatment that puncture the scars after the area is numbed. Collagen is formed as the skin heals, but this treatment can take more than 6 months to see improvements.
All the above medical treatment options are best left to be carried out by qualified dermatologists, to reduce the chances of infection and more scarring.
The above information is on some treatment options for acne scars, and should in no way be taken as medical advice. Readers are advised to consult a qualified dermatologist for further advice on individual acne issues, especially those having other underlying medical issues.
13th July 19:30 2020