What Causes Acne Scars?

Acne scars

Scars form on the skin in an attempt to heal a wound or injury. When the infection in an acne pustule, papule or cyst spreads into the deeper layers of skin, a scar will most likely be the result. If the acne, wound or injury is superficial, the skin can heal it without scarring. As such, acne scars typically develop with more severe cases of acne.

Acne develops when a hair follicle or pore on the skin becomes clogged with the skin’s natural oil and dead skin cells. The bacterium that is usually on your skin combines with the oil and dead skin and an infection begins. This infection can develop in several ways. The most superficial infection is called a blackhead or whitehead. When the infection is under the skin, it does not mix with dirt and remains white. When it is open, it mixes with dirt and becomes a blackhead. If properly treated, these lesions may not become a scar.

If there is a deep break in the follicle wall, the infection may go into the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin, resulting in a lesion or wound. When the skin tries to heal the wound, it forms new collagen, which is fibrous protein that gives the skin its flexibility and strength. Sometimes, the fibers heal on the surface of the skin and do not look smooth. This is called keloid or hypertrophic scarring. The more common type of scarring from acne is atrophic or depressed scars. There are two types of atrophic scars, including boxcar and ice pick scars. Both leave depressions because of a loss of tissue.

The size and depth of the scar depends on the amount of inflammation in the acne. The greater amount of inflammation, the more likely a scar will occur. Some so-called acne scars are not actual scars but hyperpigmentation left behind by the inflammation. These discolorations usually fade after some time.

For any type of acne, there are things you can do to prevent scarring. The first step is to get the acne under control as soon as it erupts. Once you have a pustule, you should try to refrain from poking or squeezing it. The temptation is to pick the pimple to make it go away, but doing so can push the infection deeper into the dermis and make it worse.

Acne scars may develop no matter how carefully you take care of your skin. Fortunately, at Perfect Skin Laser Center, we have various treatments available for acne and acne scars. During a consultation at our office in Tempe or Scottsdale, you can learn about all of your options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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