When acne is very severe, usually due to ineffective treatment, a patient risks incurring acne scars, which are a permanent reminder of what is already an embarrassing condition These scars are present in two common forms: depressions in the skin and raised bumps such as keloids. Acne scars are caused by serious damage to the skin tissue and are a result of the body”s natural-healing process. The causes of the formation of acne scars and the methods of prevention will be discussed below.
When understanding acne scars, it is important to understand the various forms of acne with their various types of severity. The least severe form of acne is simple whiteheads and blackheads, which nearly everyone experiences from time to time. The second most severe form of acne is two forms of red-inflamed bumps known as papules and pustules (the difference is that the pustules contain white pus at the center). The nodules are the third and most severe form of acne (therefore, the most prone to scarring). These are pus-filled lumps that are usually very painful, are found under the skin, and are, therefore, the most damaging to skin tissue. The main point is that, with the increasing severity of acne, there is an increased likelihood of scarring, especially the more severe forms of scarring.
As mentioned above, the actual scarring is a result of the body”s natural-healing process. The body”s first reaction to significantly damaged skin tissue is to send a legion of white blood cells and inflammatory cells, which work together to both control infection and simultaneously repair the skin. When these cells remain for a sustained period of time at a site, there is an increased possibility of scarring. In some people, the body continues to heal and, over time, these scars will reduce in size and severity; however, in other people some form of treatment may be necessary if the person is significantly distressed by the appearance of acne scars.
The most effective way to reduce the appearance of acne scars is to not get them in the first place. Prevention, although often difficult, is the only way to guarantee that no acne scars will form. Various forms of acne treatment are available, such as washes, scrubs, and masks. To find which is right for you, talk to either a doctor or a dermatologist, who may also explain prescription alternatives.
As said earlier, the two forms of acne scars are either a raised bump or a divot in the skin. These are brought about by either an excess of tissue or by a loss of tissue. The first type, where an excess of tissue is formed, is called a keloid or a hypertrophic scar. In this type of scar, too much collagen is produced, resulting in a fibrous tissue that extends above the surface of the skin. These types of scars do tend to diminish in severity over time. Second, there are the scars that are formed by a lack of sufficient tissue. Common forms of these are ice-pick scars and the more severe deep fibrotic scars, which are characterized by sharp lines and seemingly jagged edges. There are also the less apparent soft scars that have edges that merge with the skin. There are other forms of less frequently occurring scars, but the occurrence is quite rare. Acne scars, although often unattractive, are never harmful and can be removed rather easily with a bit of cosmetic surgery.