Pimples or Acne is the most common problems among teens. Interestingly, that is the time when people start focusing on their external appearance and for many acne comes in the way. While eruption of pimple is seen in almost everyone, the post pimple effect left on some people’s faces (or chest and shoulders) is quite deep. They leave darkened spots, deep trenches like scarring or raised bumps on the face that psychologically affects many. Though time heals some of the scars and spots, deep scars rarely go away without cosmetic surgeon’s or a good dermatologist’s intervention.
There are two different types of acne/pimple scars:
- Atrophic or Depressed Scars
- Hypertrophic or Raised Scars
Atrophic or depressed pimple scars
These are the most common type of pimple scars. They are depressed scars and are deeper into the skin. Depressed pimple scars form due to insufficient production of collagen after the pimple erupts and starts healing. Reduced production of collagen doesn’t repair the underlying tissue completely leaving trenches like depressions on the skin. Depending on the type of depressed scars, atrophic scars are divided into three types:
- Boxcar – These are U shaped scars. The edge of the scars is sharper. They can be shallow or deep.
- Ice Pick – These are small but deep scars. They go deep into the tissue under the skin. These are difficult to repair even after several treatment sessions owing to the depth of the damage to the tissue.
- Rolling scars – These are wider depressions typically with smoother edges. Rolling scars look like a few of nearby boxcar scars have combined into one.
Hypertrophic or raised acne scars
There are the opposite of atrophic scars. They are raised and not depressed due to the excess production of collagen during the repair of the tissue. Hypertrophic acne scars are usually seen on chest and shoulders/back.
What are the dark spots that are left behind after a pimple goes away?
The light brown, reddish spots are discolouration of skin after a pimple is gone. These are not actually scars and they fade away eventually with time. Some may be gone in few weeks and some may take years to lighten.
Home treatment for acne scars
Though there are several medicines, ointments and lotion out there in the market which claim to completely clear away your acne and the scars that are left behind, it is important to get in touch with a good dermatologist near you to get the right medicine to treat your acne. Several home treatment options for acne scars include:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha Hydroxy Acids help in removing the dead skin and prevent clogging of pores on the skin. The outer layer of the skin is exfoliated and new skin layers are generated by the body. As a result, these acids and substances containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids make the scars less visible and the new skin looks smoother.
There are dozens of products in the market that contain lactic acid. Lactic acid peels done once every two weeks has shown to improve the texture, appearance and pigmentation of the skin resulting in lightening of scars.
Topical retinoids are capable of smoothening / lightening of acne scars. They help in speeding up regeneration of cells under the skin and improve skin’s texture. Retinoids also help in discolouration of acne marks making them less visible.
Retinoids can make the skin sensitive to skin. So, if you are planning to get into the sun the day you use retinoids, make sure that you apply sun screen with enough SPF so that your skin won’t get burnt.
Salicylic acid is present in almost every other cream, ointment that is aimed at lightening acne scars. Salicylic acid clears the pores on the skin, reduces swelling and redness caused by pimple eruption. Salicylic acid also removes the top layer of the skin, consequently with the regeneration of new skin, the scars become smoother and lighter. Products with Salicylic acid are considered as one of the best treatment options for acne scars. All you need while using these products is patience to wait to see the results.
Another important care you need to take care when you are working on lightening your acne scars is to use sunscreen every time you step out in the Sun. Exposure to direct sunlight and heat can darken the scars that could otherwise be lighter.
When none of these home remedies work for treatment of acne scars, the next step you need to take is to see a good skin specialist near you. In our upcoming article we will go through the list of procedures that a cosmetic surgeon or a dermatologist may take to treat the scars left by your acne.