Especially for young women acne is a cursed word. Even more so the scars that it brings along, which are dubbed as “ice pick” scars because of the indentation they cause on the surface of the skin. They are created by excessive amounts of collagen that are concentrated in a single spot as the skin tries to heal the wound.
The first thing to do to avoid such scars is to attack the acne aggressively the moment it develops. There is a process called “The Regimen” which should be enough to rectify the situation in most cases. More severe cases may require pharmaceutical intervention. However, one thing is imperative and must be implemented at all costs. DO NOT PICK AT THE SKIN.
The majority of the acne scars result not because of the condition itself, but because of this habit. While the occasional “popping a zit” may be a relatively safe and quick process, the picking that follows is a real killer which can increase the damage tenfold. Remember that the fingers and the nails carry along a lot of harmful bacteria and other agents.
If the above measures fail and acne scars begin to appear, some steps are to be followed to reduce the damage. First of all, you need to verify that there is no active acne. Then, you should limit exposure to the sun, if not avoid it altogether. Sun causes discoloration of the skin and hinders healing. If you need to go out, apply a sunscreen of SPF 30 and above that should also contain zinc oxide. You should also not apply Vitamin E directly on the affected area.
A cortisone containing cream should be applied to the scar if it develops a reddish color and gets swollen, to calm the skin. Then, a fading cream should be used to lighten the hyperpigmentation, if there is any left. Filler and laser treatments should be considered if the scar does not fade without intervention. Non-ablative lasers can stimulate the production of collagen and fractionated laser may smooth the skin surface. Both procedures are applied without any further damage.
Filler injections (restylane, juvedem) and surgery for fat injection, can be effective against any indentations that may be left behind. The downside for these treatments is that they should be repeated every four to six months. Another option is to use a prescription scar removal cream. But there is one ingredient in all treatments that is absolutely vital. Patience. It will take a great deal of time to get rid of acne scars.
Over-the-counter generic medication should be avoided. Every skin type is different, scars are different, the thickness is different and the pigmentation is different from person to person. Generic products cannot take these facts into account and therefore they cannot be as effective as directed treatments for each specific case.
Acne and acne scars should not be taken lightly and left untreated. Acne may go away after adolescence but it does carry the risk of leaving scars behind. Parents should not leave their children without proper guidance should they develop acne and consequently acne scars.