What is scarring?

Acne scars can seem like double punishment. First you had to experience acne/pimples, now you have the marks as a reminder. Acne scars result from inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells.[1] The skin pore swells, causing a break in the wall of the follicle. Shallow lesions may heal quickly but if there is a deep break in the wall of the pore, infected material can spill out and may create deeper lesions. The skin compensates by attempting to repair these lesions by creating new collagen fibres. The process is not usually smooth and flawless as the original skin.

There are two main types of acne scars classified based on their healing response and appearance:[2]

Atrophic or depressed scarring: This type of acne scar occurs when there is tissue loss. There are two common types of this scar: “icepick” scars which are usually small but with obvious holes in the skin; and “boxcar” which are depressed areas, usually round and is similar to chickenpox scars.

Hypertrophic or keloid scarring: This is a result of too much collagen production as acne wounds heal. The scar has a mass of raised tissue of the surface of the skin.

The risk of acne scarring increases when a person:

Has swollen, reddish and painful acne, such as nodules and cysts

Does not treat inflammatory acne immediately

Picks, pops and squeezes acne

Has a family history of acne scars

Most serious scarring that can develop is caused by the more severe forms of acne. Although it is possible to predict who will develop acne scars, sometimes even people who have all the risk factors may not develop them. However, it is possible to prevent acne scarring with an effective treatment. Delaying the treatment can lead to extensive scarring.

What causes scarring?

Acne is one of the most common skin problems experienced by people. In fact, about 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will develop acne.[3] For many, acne will be nothing more than a blackhead or whitehead that clears up on its own without leaving scar tissue. Unfortunately, for others, acne can leave noticeable scars.

The following can contribute to acne scarring:

Comedone sebum and excess skin cells: Ice-pick scars begin as a whitehead or blackhead or also known as comedone. It forms when the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands called sebum, combines with excess skin cells in the skin follicles. The combination creates a soft plug that can block the follicle.[4]

An increase in pressure: Pressure builds behind the acne lesion as inflammation occurs. As the pressure increases, it causes the inflammation to move deeper into the skin and damaging the surrounding area. This can be a severe form of acne known as cysts or nodules. If the pressure is not relieved, the inflamed area can burst, causing even more damage to the skin tissue.[5]

Disruption in collagen and fibrin production: Damage to the skin tissue secondary to inflammation can disrupt the production and structure of collagen and fibrin.[6] As a result, the scar tissue from the acne inflammation creates an “icepick” skin mark.

Infection: If you prick or scratch your acne with dirty objects such as the fingernails or unsterile needles, harmful microorganisms can infect it. This can result to severe scarring.

You can have complete control over some of your acne marks and scars while others are pre-determined. Those with deeper skin tones may develop darker marks while those with lighter skin tones can have redness. Aside from genetics, several lifestyle factors such as sun exposure can cause scars to darken.

What is the treatment for scarring?

There are physical, social and emotional reasons for treating acne scars such as improving physical appearance, enhancing self-esteem and promoting better skin health. There is no single treatment for acne. A combination of various methods can help improve your overall complexion.

To treat acne scarring, you can choose from the following methods:

Serums: Chi’s Alpha EGF Serum is a power house of amino acids and peptides, when topically applied to the skin stimulates collagen, regenerates cells, and fibroblasts. EGF supports cell renewal by promoting the development of proteins such as collagen, increasing cell division, increasing circulation, increasing the number of fibroblasts, and promoting blood-vessel formation.

anti scarring serumC.I.T (Collagen Induction Therapy): The Chi Pen’s fractional micro delivery system provides an unparalleled delivery system of needles which cause micro-channels in the epidermis and dermis. These micro-channels encourage and harnesses the power of the body’s ability to re-grow and repair the skin through its normal physiological process. The tissue is then re-modelled where the skins vascular matrix matures, and the skin tightens as new collagen is created.

It is the only skin treatment that stimulates your skin to create its own collagen without ablation, heat or chemicals.

Protect yourself from the sun: The suns UV rays can cause darkening of acne scars by stimulating melanin production. Limit your sun exposure and wear long sleeves and a hat when going out.

References:

  • 1. Naik, A. (2002). The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Good Health, page 172.
  • 2. Khanna, N., et al (2013). World Clinics: Dermatology – Acne, page 211.
  • 3. Garfunkel, L., et al (2007). Pediatric Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, page 6.
  • 4. Carton, J., et al (2007). Clinical Pathology, page 389.
  • 5. DiPiro, J., et al (2014). Pharmacotherapy A Pathophysiologic Approach 9/E, page 1556.
  • 6. Roenigk, R., et al (1993). Surgical Dermatology: Advances in Current Practice, page 446.