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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 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 discoloration from dark marks will usually fade over time,” according to dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, who asserts they tend to clear up between 3-6 months. “But, there are a number of spot treatment options [including chemical peels and home remedies] to help speed up the process.”
Acne scars are formed from skin damage which leads to abnormal levels of collagen production and normally appear raised, bumpy, or depressed. Dr. Zeichner explains, “there are two types of acne scars: depressed and raised. Depressed scars may look like pits or craters, and raised scars may be firm and tender.”
Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist, notes some scars are thick, raised, hypertrophic scars that stick out above the top layer of skin, which others are over-healed and are now dense, rubbery skin tissue. Then, she explains, there are depressions in the skin called atrophic scars which are the most challenging to treat. There are three types of atrophic scars:
Spots that linger after a pimple has healed are caused by inflammation which has disrupted the skin’s healing process. “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,” explains Dr. Bowe.
If able to refrain from picking at acne affected areas the pimple may still leave a dark brown or red mark but these naturally fade over the course of a few months, according to dermatologist Heather C. Woolery-Lloyd, MD.
It is near impossible to assert what causes one individual to scar more than another, so the best way to preemptively avoid acne scarring is to develop a good healthy skin care routine. 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 when normal tissue is destroyed and replaced by fibrous tissue in the skin. When the damage caused by acne is more intense, the body can over create or under create tissue. Too much tissue forms a keloid or a hypertrophic scar, while too little tissue leads to a depression in the skin or an atrophic scar. Dr. Bowe warns, “the deeper and more inflamed the acne lesion, or the more that it is picked or squeezed, the more likely it is to scar.”
Acne scars require special attention from your dermatologist, unlike dark or red spots. However, treatments tend to be expensive and it’s important that you use treatments that suit your skin type.Conventional treatment options are:
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.