Monday, October 20, 2008

How To Prevent And Treat Acne Scars

by Mike Walden

The agony of living with acne on a daily basis is compounded by the trauma of having to deal with lesions and scars left behind by the acne. This is because most people believe that acne is a short term problem that has to be dealt with, whereas the acne scars are permanent blemishes that refuse to go away.

There are, no doubt, treatments available these days which are quite effective, but some types of acne cause deep scarring which aren’t possible to cure. This is why, to avoid the psychological trauma and the expenses of trying to treat the lesions and living with the disfigurement, it is so important to avert acne scarring.

What we will be discussing here are the many forms of acne scars which exist, the ways to treat them and last but not least, how to prevent them by tackling the internal causes of the condition.

An introduction to the types, causes and diagnosis of acne scars

Studies indicate that acne scars mostly come about as a result of severe acne which causes nodules and cysts to form in the deeper layers of the dermis. Other causes include damage caused to the skin by picking or popping acne, infection, cystic acne which works its way deep into the dermis and overgrown skin tissues.

It has been seen that, no matter what type of acne they have contracted, some people are more prone to get scarred than others. And occasions arise where the body itself makes a mess of its wound healing process: whether in the process of formation of new capillaries or by improper collagen deposit or in its response to the swelling or anabolic and catabolic phases; errors in any of these healing equations could lead to scarring.

It is absolutely essential therefore to start treatment for acne scars at the earliest so that the tissues are not damaged beyond repair.

In essence, acne scars are of two types. Scars which have formed due to an increase in skin tissue formation and those which have formed because of a loss of skin tissue.

Acne Scars as a result of excess skin tissue:

The acne scars which form because of increased skin tissue are usually Keloids scars. Keloids scars, which tend to strike people with dark complexions, emerge when excessive collagen is produced by cells during the healing process. These scars tend to be irregularly shaped and firm and are usually smooth.

Acne Scars as a result of skin tissue loss:

Acne spots: a discoloration of the skin to brown or red characterizes these acne scars. Acne spots usually fade away with time or with the help of topical scar treatments. Similarly, post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, which often follows acne breakouts, fades away naturally, but to quicken the process you should try MSM.

Ice-pick lesions: the name says it all. Such acne scars resemble ice on which repeated cuts have been made with an ice pick. They usually appear on the cheeks. The scars can be either deep or superficial and are more difficult to get rid of than discoloration scars.

Depressed fibrotic scarring: these scars mostly form as a result of deep nodules and are white and rigid. They are characterized by steep sides and sharp margins.

Atrophic scar macules: Acne scars of this type are small and white and are generally soft and distensible. Other types of scars include boxcar scars, characterized by vertical edges and round indentations and rolling acne scars which are the result of the surface of the skin getting stuck to the subcutaneous layer are other types of acne scars.

Treatment of Acne Scars

Just as the discoloration that accompanies an acne attack fades away slowly, so do most acne scars. However, some scars prove more difficult to smoothen away and require some manner of treatment whether it be topical treatment or surgical cosmetic intervention.

Different scars require to be tackled differently. And there are even scars which require to be treated using a combination of more than one elimination method. A large number of treatments exist for smoothening over scars and these include: pulsed laser technology, dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, punch techniques, collagen injections and creams.

Collagen injection is a method whereby collagen or fat is injected under the skin. This method is mostly suitable for soft scars, whether they are deep or shallow. However, it has to be kept in mind that this is a short term solution and these injections have to be administered every 6 months. Moreover, collagen injections produce some unpleasant side effects and allergic reactions may also develop.

Microdermabrasion is where tiny particles are passed through a vacuum tool with the purpose of scraping the external top layer of the skin. This process, which is only effective with mild scarring, acts as a stimulant and enhances the growth of new cells.

Laser resurfacing is more effective for treating newer scars rather than older scars by evening out the surface of the skin thereby making the scars less visible. Since the laser levels out and resurfaces the skin, side effects like increased inflammation, infections and an increase in acne scars have been known to happen.

Punch grafting is done by cutting the acne scar right down to the fatty layer of the skin and then repairing the hole thus created by grafting a small piece of skin.

We give you the recommended treatments for the various types of scars acne brings in its wake. Post hyper pigmentation marks are best tackled with MSM or Alpha lipoic acid acne cream. Dermabrasion or laser resurfacing is the suggested treatment for ice pick scars. Flat or thin scars should be dealt with by administering Collagen injections, which should not be used for ice pick scars. Keloids acne scars can be brought under control with steroid injections, silicone gel dressing, crytotherapy or pulsed laser treatment combined with carbon dioxide laser vaporization (where the keloid scar is not too red or too thick).

Acne Scar prevention

Ideally, acne scar treatments should be tried as a last resort because they are highly expensive and have too many side effects. The best approach would be to first try and get rid of the acne. This will work only if you identify the imbalance in your system which is causing the acne. Try to cure it by using natural methods and avoid taking topical acne treatments, medication that is available over the counter or steroids. Once you have corrected the internal symptoms that caused the acne, you will notice the acne disappearing gradually without leaving any scars. Moreover, you will be saved the expenses and harassment of taking treatments that cannot cure the acne permanently.

You must understand that although acne develops on the surface of the skin, as do the scars that appear as a result of the acne, acne is not a skin problem. It forms because of flaws in your internal balance deep inside. Acne and consequently acne scarring are both caused by problems which are wholly internal.

If you succeed in nipping the acne forming process from its roots then you will not have any acne scars to deal with either. In this way you will be permanently free from acne and acne scars and enjoy a flawless complexion forever.

About the Author:

Mike Walden is a certified nutritionist and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, Acne No More . For Further Information: Acne Treatments

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