Dermatologists Dish on All Things Acne Scars and How to Erase Them

Dermatologists Dish on All Things Acne Scars and How to Erase Them featured image

Most of us can relate: We picked at a pimple, and then picked at once more, and then lo and behold, a scar was left behind, whether or not that be an “acne mark” like a darkish spot, or a scar. And typically it happens even with out choosing, which, after all, is extremely irritating. “Unfortunately, all skin types can be prone to acne scarring,” says Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Francesca Lewis, MD.

However, zits scarring varies tremendously, from alterations in pores and skin pigmentation to modifications in texture, which is what we consider after we consider conventional scars, like these from surgical procedure. “An alteration in the skin’s surface is what we consider a ‘real scar’ and not color change,” provides Spokane, WA dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, MD. Here, we get all the main points on zits scarring, straight from the professionals.

Which pores and skin varieties and colours are most susceptible to discoloration from zits scarring?

When dermatologists focus on pores and skin varieties, they classify them utilizing the 6 Fitzpatrick Skin Types (FST), with 1 being essentially the most honest pores and skin that at all times burns and by no means tans, and 6 being darkish brown or black pores and skin that by no means burns and at all times tans. “Interestingly, we see the most significant pigmentary alteration—hyperpigmentation ‘dark scars’— in the middle skin types, especially FST 3 and 4,” says Dr. Werschler. “There is a tendency to see post-inflammatory erythema—redness or ‘red scars’—in FST 1 and 2. Hyperpigmentation is more difficult to spot in FST 5 and 6. With excessive manipulation, any skin type can develop ‘white scars’ or areas of pigment drop out, which is referred to as post-inflammatory hypopigmentation. This is very hard to treat and also cover up.” Dr. Lewis agrees, saying it is not uncommon to see pink scars in fair-skinned sufferers and hyperpigmented scars in darker-skinned sufferers.

What about textured scars (versus discoloration)?

“We divide scars into three basic types: elevated or hypertrophic/keloid; depressed or pitted or atrophic; or flat with textural change,” Dr. Werschler explains. “The vast majority of textural and depressed acne scars results from picking, manipulation, poking, etc. Elevated or papular or hypertrophic scars—the first group—are frequently from a genetic predisposition to heal with an over-abundance of collagen. This can happen in all skin types, but is more common in FST 1, 5 and 6.”

Though genetics play a task, Dr. Werschler says redheads and darker pores and skin varieties appear to be predisposed. “Historically, African Americans were considered to be more prone to keloid-type scarring, but this type of scar can occur in any skin type,” provides New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD. And although these kinds of raised scars can happen on all areas of the physique, they’re extra widespread on the chest, jawline, tops of shoulders and even earlobes.

Atrophic scars are described as flat, shallow depressions that heal beneath the highest layer of pores and skin. “This is another form of acne scarring, which includes different types like boxcar scars, ice pick scars and rolling scars,” says Dr. Lewis. Boxcar scars sometimes end result from widespread zits on the decrease face, and are normally box-like with outlined edges. Ice decide scars are additionally widespread on the cheeks and decrease face, and appear to be smaller, extra slender indentations that time downward into the pores and skin, as if an icicle have been to prick your cheek. Rolling scars seem wavy and fluctuate in depth throughout the pores and skin.

What are one of the best topical merchandise to use for treating hyperpigmentation from zits scars?

Though hydroquinone is a sizzling button ingredient, Dr. Day nonetheless considers it the gold normal for lightening darkish spots. “I typically use a 4-percent formulation, and often combine it with tranexamic acid, vitamin C and retinol. However, arbutin is a good and safe substitute for hydroquinone,” she says. “I love my Ultra Brightening Cream for hyperpigmentation from acne or from the sun. It contains arbutin, vitamin C ester and a gentle yet powerful retinol called HPR. I also like philosophy Miracle Worker.”

Dr. Lewis can be a fan of hydroquinone, however most frequently recommends a mixture of prescription and medical-grade pores and skin lighteners to assist fade the scars. “A mainstay of treatment is prescription-grade hydroquinone, which will help effectively lighten the marks over a period of two to three months. We may also combine ingredients such as kojic acid, arbutin, tranexamic acid, and azelaic acid in prescription compounded topical creams or medical-grade skin care.”

Washington, D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD prefers “a combination of A Method C Antioxidant Gel 20%—to brighten skin in the morning under sunscreen—and A Method Advanced TX Lightening Gel Elixir to fade pigmentation at night while sleeping. The TX stands for tranexamic acid, which lightens and corrects skin discoloration.”

Dr. Werschler considers himself “a bit old school” on therapies, however his protocol nearly at all times includes an “old-formula combination of tretinoin, hydroquinone and triamcinolone. “This is referred to eponymously as the Kligman formula,” he says. “But there are many good OTC products out there as well.”

Regardless of pores and skin kind, all dermatologists stress the significance of utilizing sunscreen to decrease redness and hyperpigmentation from zits, and to assist it heal with minimal to no scarring. “I recommend applying a zinc-based SPF every single morning,” provides Dr. Day.

Which in-office therapies are greatest for correcting hyperpigmentation from zits scars?

Hyperpigmentation will be handled with a wide range of interventions, from gentle microdermabrasion to superficial fractionated laser therapies. Although Dr. Alster recommends laser therapies for all kinds of scars, together with keloids and atrophic zits scars, she prefers a distinct technique for treating hyperpigmented zits scars. “I use either chemical peels or microneedling because these treatments do not heat the skin, which often worsens hyperpigmentation,” she explains.

Dr. Lewis additionally makes use of chemical peels for pigmented scars, in addition to “microneedling treatments or ResurFx laser for depressed scars, IPL—Intense Pulsed Light—or excel V for pink scars, and the Clear + Brilliant laser for overall skin tone and rejuvenation.”

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