Acne scars

    • Brief

    • Acne scars usually form due to the build up of too much skin protein (collagen) during healing. Most acne breakouts will usually heal without leaving a spot. Acne on your chest and back is the most likely to leave a scar.

      Most scars can be treated to improve their appearance, either by removing the dead upper layer of the skin or by using cosmetics to hide the appearance of the scars.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • There are two main types of acne scars:

      • Atrophic scars in the form of wide U-shaped scars with sharp edges, narrow V-shaped deep scars, or wide irregular edged scars.
      • Hypertrophic scars which are raised due to too much collagen forming during the healing process of acne. They are present above the surface of the skin and are common on the chest and back.  


    • What are the causes?

    • Acne can lead to scar formation when there is excess collagen during healing, forming a raised scar or a loss in skin tissue that leads to a mark in the skin.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

      • Teenagers are more likely to be affected by acne and therefore are more likely to have scarring,
      • Family history of severe forms of acne and acne scarring.
      • Inflammatory acne is more likely to form scars after they have healed because they cause more skin damage than other forms of acne. 
      • The longer the acne, the higher the risk of it forming a scar. 
      • Delay in the treatment of acne can also lead to scar formation. 
      • Bad acne habits like squeezing and picking acne can lead to scar formation. 
      • Smoking puts you at increased risk of developing acne scars.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Persistent and recurrent acne formation requires the services of a medical specialist called a dermatologist.

    • How to prevent?

    • Ways to prevent acne scars are:

      • Quit smoking, as it increases the risk of scar formation in the body, including acne scars. 
      • Bad habits like squeezing and picking at acne increases the inflammation of the acne. 
      • Wearing sunscreen helps prevent the visibility of scars and darkening of the skin.  
      • Using skin products containing salicylic acid helps to clear pores, reducing acne formation.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

      • Alpha hydroxy acid possesses exfoliating properties which help acne scars disappear. It can be helpful for any form of acne scar.
      • Using skin peels with lactic acid once every two weeks consistently for three months will improve the texture and pigmentation of the skin. This will also lighten acne scars. If you cannot not find peels with lactic acid, you can use diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner to get the same effect. 
      • Retinoid accelerates skin cell regeneration and makes acne scars less visible. Retinoid shows the best results in atrophic scars. It can be bought over the counter from a pharmacy, but your healthcare provider will provide a prescription if a higher concentration is required. 
      • Salicylic acid is present in many skin products. It helps to clear pores, reducing acne formation. Its exfoliating properties help with acne scars.
      • Using sunscreen prevents the sun from darkening your scars. 

      Treatment options:

      • Chemical peel contains a strong acid that will cause the skin to peel, removing the top layer of skin. 
      • Laser treatment targets the top layer of the skin and treats deep scars.
      • Acne scars can be filled with fillers made from collagen, fat or certain types of acids (e.g. Hyaluronic acid). 
      • Injecting substances into the skin of raised scars softens them and helps heal acne scars.
      • Micro needling, which is a new technique whereby a needle is used to puncture the scar to encourage the production of collagen as it heals. 
    • Kulawa cares

    • Acne scars are the result of a poor healing process of acne. These scars can be frustrating and can affect one's confidence. Most spots are not permanent and can be made less visible with the help of skincare products and treatments by a dermatologist. Reducing acne and preventing it helps to reduce the risk of scars forming.