How to Improve Acne and Minimize Scars
Dealing with acne is never easy and the scars that remain after the acne is gone can be equally troubling.
What Causes Acne?
Acne occurs when oil, dead skin cells and bacteria get trapped in a hair follicle. The follicle becomes inflamed and forms a pimple. Although acne can occur at any stage of life, the prevalence of acne rises during puberty. This is due to rising hormone levels which cause an increase in the production of oil from sebaceous glands. Acne ranges from mild and non-inflammatory to acute and inflamed.
Common Acne Treatments?
When acne is mild and close to the skin’s surface, over-the-counter, topical treatments of Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy acid can be very effective. These products work by killing acne causing bacteria, removing excess oil and exfoliating dead skin cells which clog pores.
For severe, persistent or cystic acne many people turn to Isotretinoin, better known as Accutane. Accutane reduces the amount of sebum or oil that your body produces and also makes skin pores less sticky, which reduces the chances of follicles becoming clogged.
Although extremely effective, Accutane can only be obtained through prescription and requires patients to be monitored by a doctor while using this drug. Drying out of mucous membranesis an extremely common side effect of Accutane, which often results in painful irritations of the skin, eyes and corners of the mouth. It is especially important to keep your skin well hydrated while using Accutane.
Why Does Acne Leave Scars?
Scars are more likely when the inflamed hair follicle becomes overfilled with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The inflammation can cause the wall of the follicle to rupture. If the follicle break occurs at the surface of the skin, typically the lesion heals without leaving a mark. If the rupture is deep in the follicle, the products of infection spill into the dermal layers of the skin and cause damage to the collagen and elastin in these lower layers. The area of damage results in a depression or dent and often leaves the skin red or discolored.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Ablative laser treatments which resurface the skin and work by triggering the body’s natural healing process of increasing the production of collagen and new skin cells. Good results are usually seen after 3 to 6 sessions. Each session takes 30 min to one hour and requires about 1 week of downtime. Although this treatment can get pricey at $900-$1400 per session most people are happy with the end result.
Non-Ablative lasers do not resurface the skin and work by delivering small pulses of heat to the skin. Like ablative laser treatments, the purpose of the treatment is to encourage new collagen growth in the deep layers of your skin. These treatments can be very effective at repairing damaged skin texture and fading discoloration from acne scars.
Micro-needling is a minimally invasive therapy that involves exposing the skin to rapidly pulsing tiny needles. The needles puncture the skin causing a minor trauma which triggers your body into producing more collagen to fill up the tiny wounds. The new collagen leaves the skin smooth and even.
DeepMarine Collagenis a highly beneficial dietary supplement made up of small strings of important amino acids which have strong anti-inflammatory properties and also stimulate new collagen growth in your body. In addition to replacing lost and damaged collagen from past acne lesions, DeepMarine Collagen strengthens skin, making it very efficient at retaining moisture. Many people using Accutane to treat their acne also use marine collagen to alleviate the drug’s painful side effects of irritation to the skin, eyes and corners of the mouth.