Acne scars start with the formation of acne. This skin ailment starts when the skin is irritated by excess sebum, the oil that is usually produced by the sebaceous glands to moisturize and protect the skin. Factors like hormones and stress can cause an increase in sebum production.
With elevated sebum secretion, the fragile cells that line the follicle can be damaged as the sebum pours through the canals to the surface. Additionally, other factors can make the sebum even more damaging to the skin. Two of these factors are not enough essential fatty acids, which keep sebum in its more liquid state, and acne causing bacteria.
This physical state change means that sebum more easily blocks pores, trapping debris and bacteria inside, allowing them to multiply. The body then responds to fight off these antigens and protect the skin with an inflammatory response that can actually further wound the skin. In their efforts to remove the antigens, immune cells destroy healthy, surrounding tissue. The damage to the dermal layer also changes collagen production, ultimately increasing the visibility of the scar.
Body acne scars can have the appearance of hypertrophic and atrophic scars. Hypertrophic refers to those scars that protrude from the skin, including keloid scars that, unlike typical hypertrophic scars, continue to expand in size. Both of these types of scars are more regularly found on the back or chest. Atrophic scars, those that are lower than the regular skin level, are the types of scars more commonly resulting from facial acne. Due to injury caused at the lower skin layers, ice pick, boxcar and rolling scars are bound down, making them difficult types of scars to treat.
Facial Acne Scar Treatment Options
To rid facial acne scars, typical scar treatments will not work. To illustrate, the injection of steroids to flatten hypertrophic scars will not diminish these scars. In fact, it is quite difficult to bring depressed skin up to its original level.
To fill in these hollows, one must regenerate new, healthy skin cells. Facial resurfacing for acne scars is a way to raise your lowered skin. Although methods differ in how they remove layers of skin, the general idea is a controlled removal of skin tissue to stimulate skin cell regeneration.
Laser resurfacing for facial acne scars uses non-ablative lasers on the skin, sending quick pulses of high energy light. The light is converted into heat energy that systematically vaporizes one layer after the next of skin. This method does more than just laser face acne scars to make them disappear. Scar tissue is eradicated and fresh skin growth is encouraged to replace the tissue that was removed. Laser skin resurfacing acne scars is a precise method that does not cause much damage to the surrounding skin. For these reasons, it is often the preferred method for treating scars on the face.
Although there are other resurfacing options, they are not as successful. Dermabrasion for acne scars is a less precise way of regenerating new skin. A dermabrasion treatment uses a high speed rotary instrument to exfoliate away layers of skin. Chemical peels on facial acne scars use similar thinking but peel away skin layers with a chemical solution that first causes the skin to blister.
Both techniques are applied to the whole face and are quite lengthy in their healing times.
Facial surgery for acne scars might also be considered for depressed scars. Subcision is a surgical method that cuts the deeper layers of the skin so that is not bound down. Punch techniques are helpful for the really deep scarring, such as ice pick scars. These techniques that remove the tissue with the contained scar include punch excision, punch excision with skin grafting and punch elevation.
For a temporary solution, dermal fillers can be used to treat facial acne scars.