Whiteheads, blackheads, and nodules, oh my! We could go on and on about how frustrating pimples and breakouts are, but they’re not the only things plaguing your otherwise flawless features.
Acne is a problem for over 50 million people in the United States, making it the most common skin condition. What’s worse is that 95% of those acne-prone folks wind up with scarring.
Scarring after a battle with acne makes moving on from a breakout almost impossible and can leave you feeling defeated and low on confidence.
Our dermatology specialists at Sanford Dermatology know how acne scars can affect your mental and emotional health, so we make dealing with them a top priority. In addition to bringing you the most advanced treatments, we also equip you to keep your skin healthy and acne-scar-free.
Here’s straight-from-the-expert insight on acne scars.
How did I get acne scars in the first place?
The best way to understand how a pimple turns into a pitted scar is to think of your acne as an iceberg. The red bump you see on the surface is only an indicator of what’s going on below the surface.
Acne that penetrates the deepest layers of your skin damages your skin and the tissues below. The visible acne may clear, but your body still has work to do to repair the damage. Your body does this by producing collagen (a protein essential to firm-but-flexible skin).
Even if your body produces the perfect amount of collagen, the repair job never looks as smooth as your skin was before your breakout. Too much collagen leaves you with a raised (hypertrophic) scar, and too little creates depressed (atrophic) acne scars.
Acne scarring is a threat to all those acne-prone, but you’re most at risk if you:
- Have inflammatory acne, such as cystic acne or nodules
- Leave inflammatory acne untreated
- Pick, squeeze, or pop your acne
Your family history of acne may even play a role in your likelihood of developing acne scarring.
Is there any way to prevent acne scarring?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee you won’t develop acne scarring, but that doesn't mean there’s nothing you can do. Consider these acne scar-reducing strategies.
Get treatment ASAP
Step number one is to get your acne under control as soon as possible. The fewer breakouts you have, the less chance there is of your scarring. Our acne specialists personalize your acne treatment plan and use our full lineup of treatments, which includes:
- Prescription-strength salicylic azelaic acid ointments
- Removal of whiteheads or blackheads (extractions)
- Topical or oral retinoid medications
- Oral contraceptives (for women)
- Chemical peels
- Oral antibiotics
- Laser therapy
We address acne from multiple angles and combine treatments based on your needs, goals, skin type, and current skin condition.
Remember that even though the smallest blemish can damage your skin, the big zits do the most damage. Don’t wait to get treatment or try to take care of the problem on your own, or you could end up with scars.
Reduce inflammation and irritation
Your acne-riddle skin is going through enough, so we recommend avoiding anything that aggravates it more. That may mean changing your skin care routine, not rubbing or scrubbing your face, and adjusting your diet.
Leave your skin alone
We get it: It’s tempting to pick, squeeze, and pop your pimples. However, it’s the worst thing you can do if you don’t want to be scarred when the breakout clears. All your fussing pushes debris further into your skin, spreading infection, exacerbating inflammation, and causing more underlying damage. This is especially true if you have deep cystic acne or nodules.
If you’re already deep into a picking battle with your blemishes, stop and take steps to heal your skin before it becomes a permanent scar. The same goes for scabs. Leave those natural “Band-aids'' alone and let your skin heal naturally.
Know your skin
Get to know your skin and whether or not you’re at risk for scarring. Simply knowing your skin type and how it reacts to breakouts can go a long way in keeping scars at bay.
It’s time to take your skin back and give it the care and support it deserves. When you’re ready to team up with our experts, call or click to schedule a consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices serving Greater Sanford, Pittsboro, and Lillington, North Carolina.