With the pervasive nature of acne many new treatments are popping up on the skin care and medical market to combat this commonplace cosmetic problem. Those with severe acne and raging hormones that cause acne are reasonably concerned about using quality treatments for their acne scars. Many people with severe acne have tried treatment after treatment to no avail.
Dark Spots vs. Acne Scars
In order to get rid of acne scars and dark spots, it is useful to know the difference between the two. According to dermatologist and 2018 Acne Awards judge Dr. Joshua Zeichner,
what many people don’t realize is that a dark or pink mark on the skin is not actually an acne scar. Inflammation in the skin often leaves behind a stain as part of the natural healing process. The inflammation revs up pigment production, creating the mark that fades on its own over several weeks to months.
Unlike acne scars dark spots are smooth to the touch, not raised or indented. The healthy smooth skin shows there is no permanent collagen damage. The dark spots can fade overtime however if a patient wanted to increase this fading they can use peel treatments. How quickly they clear is usually dependent on the person but most cases are said to clear up in 4 to 6 months.
Acne scars are formed from skin damage which leads to abnormal levels of collagen production and normally appear raised, bumpy, or depressed (look like pits of craters). Raised scars can look firm and sensitive while depressed scars will look like craters or small holes in the skin. Further to this some scars have specific and creative names such as ice pick scars and hypertrophic scars. A list further naming and detailing these scars is displayed below.
If a pimple ever heals but some spots remain. This can be due to lingering inflammation under the skin stopping it from healing properly. Dr. Whitney Bowe a New York dermatologist states
When your skin is opened up (like when you pop a pimple) and then closes back together, you can get abnormal pigmentation, texture and tone that looks different from the rest of your skin. Sometimes the broken blood vessels that remain after an acne lesion fades can result in a mark,
It is near impossible to assert the causes of why one person would scar more than others aside from certain puberty and genetic based reasons. However the best recommendations are based on our own habits i.e. get into the habit of not picking and ensuring you have a good skin care regime. You must force yourself not to pick, poke, or touch the pimples and wash your face twice a day with a gentle (particularly if you have sensitive skin) cleanser.
Acne scars form like any normal scar when our skin is damaged and then replaced. The replaced skin is a fibrous tissue and the skin will not look like normal healthy skin ever again. Depending on how bad your acne is will depend on how bad your scarring is. This is due to our bodies defense system over creating or under creating the scar tissue. In relation to keloid and hypertrophic scars (raised scars) it is the pressence of too much skin tissue being used for the scar that causes this. Also, as it would be expected it is the lack of skin tissue which results in scars that are more shallow.
Acne scars require special attention a registered medical professional most likely a dermatologist. A dermatologist is someone who specializes in the understanding and treating of skin and the different conditions it can have, such as acne. Depending on where you live these treatments can be expensive and it’s important that you use treatments that suit your skin type. Some conventional forms of acne treatment include:
Dermal Fillers: These types of injections are usually connected with “plastic surgery” to help stop wrinkles from appearing on the skin. In relation to acne it is a similar process to the steroid injection mentioned below but in this case it is for the scar not the spot. A dermatologist will inject a medically recommended filler to use and inject it directly into the scar tissue.
Steroid Injections: A dermatologist will inject a steroid directly into your spot and the spot will go down. This is not the most appealing treatment if you have a lot of spots because it means you will need a lot of injections. On the other hand, maybe it is the perfect treatment because you have so many spots. The steroid used will usually be a diluted type of cortisol but this can be different depending on who carries out the procedure. As always, make sure you receive professional treatment from a doctor or dermatologist.
Punch Excisions: This is a medical procedure also known as a punch biopsy/subcision where a doctor or dermatologist will remove a bad spot or acne scar surgically. Obviously a scar will always remain but the goal here would be to leave a scar that is more appealing to the patient.
Laser Treatments: Also known as photopneumatic therapy this is a very intense treatment that acts like a hoover. The light pulses (the lasers) attack the acne, dead skin etc and they are then sucked up and out of the skin. This is one of the more costly forms of treatment but it can be very effective on both black and whiteheads but not on cysts (clogs in the skin with an injection) or nodules (swollen cells under the skin).
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is becoming a hot trend in the beauty and wellness community having infiltrated body care, skin care, and make-up. Due to novel studies, we know CBD oil is able to regulate sebum production, thus preventing and treating acne. Anecdotal reports say CBD oil can aid with dark spots and acne scars, though it is best to communicate with your doctor or dermatologist about a treatment plan. CBD could be used to ease pain and inflammation before and after conventional laser treatments.
It is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant and works on the endocannabinoid system. The stress-reducing and anti-inflammation properties of CBD also have promise for lessening acne scars. Cannabidiol is also an antioxidant. More studies are required to assess if CBD oil is a more effective treatment than current natural remedies.