Acne is a common skin condition in both male and female, may it be teenagers or adults, but is really more common among teens. Acne is a skin problem that is caused when pores on the face, chest or back are clogged. The pores become clogged because of the stimulation of oil production and the maturing of skin cells. Oils and dead skin cells clog the pores. Bacteria may also contribute in causing acne. Factors that may worsen the condition are hormones, diet and medications. Hormone is also a factor in developing acne for some people, especially during the teen years because puberty causes hormonal changes and in turn causes the changes in the skin. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or due to oral contraceptives are also considered factors affecting the oil production. Medications aside from oral contraceptives, like corticosteroids and lithium are known to cause acne. There are also some dietary factors that trigger acne, like carbohydrate-rich foods and dairy products. Fatty foods and chocolates are considered myths in acne production. It has not been proven that these foods can cause acne. This skin condition can also be caused by genetics – meaning it can run in families; if a parent had acne, the child has a risk of having acne as well. Acne may go away but unfortunately, it can still leave a mark as acne scars. Picking acne lesions is not the only cause of acne scars, but even when these lesions are left alone; there are some which are really prone to cause scars.
Appearance of Acne Scars
Acne scars occurs in the areas where the lesions have been present. A professor of Dermatology at Stanford University, Hayes Gladstone, MD said that acne scars come in three varieties: the shallow scars called atrophic, boxcar-shaped scars and the narrower and deeper scars like the shape of an ice pick. Hyperpigmentation or skin darkening on the scar area may occur in people with deeper skin tones, while redness may appear to people with lighter skin tones.
Treating Acne Scars
Even though acne causes scars, in most cases, the reddish or brownish acne scars clears on its own without the need for treatment. But for scars that do not fade away, fortunately, there are solutions that help in treating these pesky and unsightly acne scars. Before any acne scar treatment, it is important that the acne clears up first. However, acne scar treatment will also depend on the severity of acne scars.
The initial step in acne scar treatment is to have a skin care regimen that is suited to the skin type. A good skin care regimen includes a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer. Prior to any other acne scars treatment, cleansing the face in the morning and at night before going to bed should be made into a habit.
Over-the-counter medications and cream help with acne scars. For instance, a cortisone cream available as an over-the-counter preparation is useful for scars that are still red or inflamed. The cortisone cream will help reduce inflammation and hence the redness.
The next step is to correct the hyperpigmentation associated with acne scars and this is done by using fade creams or lightening creams. It is best to use naturally derived skin lighteners such as kojic acid which is derived from mushroom extract, arbutin or the bearberry extract and vitamin C.
Laser and Filler Treatments
For acne scars that do not fade on its own, procedures done by dermatologists may be the necessary acne scar treatment. For mild cases, chemical peel and microdermabrasion can help improve the scarred areas. But more severe cases may need laser skin resurfacing treatment using the fractionated laser technology. This dermatologic procedure can help even out the surface of the skin and help increase collagen production to fill in the scars. There are actually two types of lasers; the non-ablative which stimulates collagen production without damaging the skin surface and ablative laser which vaporizes the acne scar to allow a smoother skin to take the place.
Filler injections on the other hand may help fill in the dents left by the acne scars. The fillers however are reabsorbed by the skin making it necessary for the repeat of treatment every four to six months. This is what makes filler injections at a disadvantage.
There are natural home remedies that are thought to be helpful as acne scar treatment. Potatoes for example are used as a face mask by rubbing the grated potato on the affected area, leaving it to dry and then washed off.
Vitamin C helps minimize dark spots, and lemon is the choice of Vitamin C source for acne scar treatment. Squeezing a lemon in a glass of water and drinking it in the morning may help with acne scars. Lemon may also be turned into a face mask by mixing 1 part of lemon to 2 parts of glycerin and used once a week.
Patience is Key
Some may take it a lot faster than others for their scars to fade while some may take up to a year. If acne scars are still fresh or whatever treatment is being done to treat acne scars, patience is the ultimate key to see acne scars fade. The skin must be given ample time to regain the collagen to fill in the scars.