Treat acne scars effectively and sustainably
Now, hand on heart, what do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? What do you look at first? And what do you think? Most people actually do not pay attention to the changed appearance, not to how the clothes fall and not to the new hairstyle. The gaze too often falls on the unloved parts of the body. A quick check and an attempt at self-conviction that it’s not as bad as feared after all. Not so shapeless not so dark circles under the eyes and the acne scars can also be overlooked.
Scars caused by acne are by no means a problem that plagues only teenagers. Adults are definitely affected by it as well. One of the reasons for this is that untreated scars from youth remain visible for years. However, acne can also first appear in adulthood and then form scars.
Scars often greatly affect self-confidence, as no one feels comfortable with clearly visible scarring on their face. Fortunately, there are numerous methods of successfully treating them.
Acne scars do not have to be accepted as a permanent fate
Just problem zones, at which one can change supposedly nothing, are for many humans not only an unloved eye-catcher, which can express itself in psychological loads. The vast majority of people carry Scars of past times that permanently disrupt the external appearance.
This is especially true for acne scars, which usually form in youth and from then on shape our external appearance. However, just because the scars have been with us for a long time does not mean that they have to do so forever. New therapies make treatment methods possiblewhich can be tailored to each patient and thus lead to a more even skin texture and a fresher complexion.
Which methods are offered, you can read here. But for a better understanding of the function and effect of the treatments, it is first explained how Acne scars arise and what this means in consequence.
Formation of acne scars and differentiation from other types of scars.
Acne develops when sebaceous glands are chronically inflamed. They produce sebum almost continuously, and significantly too much. Consequently, the pores become regularly clogged and pimples and blackheads appear. They recur again and again, which greatly increases the risk of resulting scarring.
Pimples are usually first preceded by blackheads. These are small elevations in the skin with a black dot. These spots consist of the body’s own pigment melanin. When it comes into contact with oxygen, it turns black.
In technical circles, this is referred to as open blackheads, because their follicle opening is literally open. Therefore, the blackhead can escape when light pressure is applied.
Of course, if there are open blackheads, there are also closed ones. The follicle opening is closed, and the blackhead cannot escape this time by applying light pressure. Often inflammation occurs, which in turn causes the blackhead to become a pimple.
Usually, with a good skin cleansing routine and proper care, this will heal. Patience is simply required. Scars form only very rarely and usually remain inconspicuous. If acne is present, however, very deep scars can develop due to the chronic inflammation. They are particularly sensitive to light and discolor quickly when exposed to strong sunlight.
Scars as a result of the healing process
Scars form the final state of a wound healing process of the skin. As such, they remain visible, depending on their size and severity. However, scars only occur when not only the epidermis but also the dermis and the subcutis are damaged.
The complex structures of collagen, which is found in the dermis and is responsible for the stability of the skin, are permanently destroyed when the skin is cut and cannot be rebuilt. Instead, the skin grows together in parallel and a new tissue is formed. This is less elastic and the functions are limited.
In brief, then, scars develop whenever the natural structure of the skin is permanently damaged. As a result, new tissue is formed that differs in structure from the old tissue – and this can be seen.
Never newly formed skin cells are less well supplied with blood. They can harden, pull inward or even become bulging. In addition, there is the difference in color.
Scars are noticeable mainly because they are usually reddish or lighter in color. In addition, the formation of scars often leads to overproduction of connective tissue, resulting in so-called scar growths and scar bulges. However, the situation is different with acne scars. These are classified as scar depressions because less connective tissue is formed during the healing process.
Causes and forms of acne scars
Whether scarring happens due to acne depends on several factors. There are cases where hardly any scarring has occurred after severe acne, whereas in others the disease leaves many deep scars. Unprofessional “squeezing” of pimples can lead to small explosions of the skin, which permanently disturbs the skin tissue and causes anchoring scars.
Trying to squeeze a pimple with unwashed hands will only make it worse. The most common mistake sufferers make is that they push the bacterial focus even deeper into the skin. It penetrates deep into the skin layers, and scarring is pre-programmed.
Basically, the deeper the focus of inflammation moves into the interior of the skin, the more likely it is that scars will remain. Significantly more tissue must be renewed, and the difference between healthy and newly formed skin will be visually more noticeable.
So it is necessary to show patience and resist squeezing. Only professionals should lend a hand here. They remove the skin impurities professionally and subsequently provide the skin with the optimal care.
The scars can take these forms
Scars can take different forms. Basically, a distinction is made between atrophic and hypertrophic scars.
Atrophic scars are curved inward, that is, they are below the normal level of the skin. They occur when the skin has not been able to form enough new connective tissue and are often darker than the surrounding tissue. Atrophic scars can be divided into three types: vermiform, varioliform, and undulating.
So-called “ice pick scars” are common because they look as if they have been punched into the skin. Depending on how close the individual scars are to each other, small connecting ducts may appear. These worm-like scars have a maximum diameter of only 2 millimeters and form a funnel-shaped depression. They may extend into the lower dermis or subcutis.
Varioliform scars, on the other hand, are U-shaped and visually comparable in part to chicken pox scars. They may be deep or shallow and may reach a diameter of up to 4 millimeters.
Wavy scars are M-shaped. They are comparatively shallow with a diameter of at least 4 millimeters. The reason for their formation are connective tissue strands that connect the dermis with the subcutis and form narrow elevations within the scar. The scar then looks as if it is making waves.
Scars that form elevations are called hypertrophic scars. In this case, too much new tissue was formed during wound healing, resulting in a thickening. They are often lighter in color than the surrounding skin and may be itchy and tight. They occur primarily on the cheeks and shoulders.
Factors that influence the appearance of scars
When acne scars proliferate, larger red patches appear. Other factors affecting the appearance of scars include age, hereditary factors that determine skin type, the location of the scar, and any complications with wound healing.
The older the person is who is plagued by acne, the higher the likelihood that visible scars will remain. The reason for this is simple: at a young age, the skin regenerates much faster. Around the age of 25, this process slows down, and scars heal with greater difficulty.
How to avoid the formation of acne scars
Thorough and, above all, type-appropriate skin care is the be-all and end-all for reducing blemishes and acne. However, much helps much is the wrong motto here. An excessive cleansing routine can irritate the skin and destroy its protective barrier. We would be happy to advise you in this regard at our skin and laser center.
If blackheads and pimples are already present, they should be regularly examined by a specialist. Professional skin cleansing is also a valuable aid in getting acne under control.
It is strongly discouraged to do it yourself. The risk of pushing the focus of inflammation deeper into the skin and making the whole thing worse is too great. Great care is required here, which is why this task must be left to specialists.
Treatment methods for acne scars
Whether the acne scars are rather discreet or clearly visible, the affected patients usually suffer a lot from their appearance. Young people in particular usually do not think about later consequences when “treating themselves” and thus often promote the unsightly effects of scratched and squeezed pimples themselves.
Nevertheless, there are possibilities both during the course of the disease and afterwards for effective Treatments. Even during the disease phase, scarring can be prevented by performing a professional skin cleansing. However, once the scars have formed, they can be treated with different methods.
Chemical peels are applied directly to the epidermis. This is attacked and removed with mostly acidic peels. After just a few days, the top layer of skin has regenerated and the complexion glows as usual, making the acne scars less noticeable. Medium and deep peels attack the skin more strongly, which consequently regenerates.
While a superficial Peeling merely removes dead skin scales, acne scars can only be minimized or completely removed with the more aggressive chemical peels. Here, layers of skin are actually peeled off in order to also remove the scars at the same time. It goes without saying that such a treatment should preferably be carried out by experienced specialists.
Because with chemical Peels acids are used, some of which act as far as the dermis. In medium-depth peeling, for example, the trained dermatologist uses trichloroacetic acid. Since this is able to penetrate to the dermis, it can also be used to even out scars. Dr. Fuchs and his team will be happy to advise you in detail on this topic and answer all your questions comprehensively.
In the first days after the treatment, the skin is still very sensitive. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to apply a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor as soon as you leave the house. This applies even if the sky is cloudy, because UV rays still reach your skin, albeit in smaller amounts. Otherwise, you run the risk of discoloration of the treated tissue.
The term microdermabrasion is composed of words of Greek and Latin origin and describes the minor abrasion of skin areas, for example in the area of acne scars. In this therapy, the treating dermatologist removes the upper layers of a patient’s skin with tiny crystals in a controlled manner at the affected areas.
These may be very fine sand, salt or aluminum oxide, for example. Similar to sandblasting, the therapist directs the microfine crystals onto the corresponding skin areas. Here, they hit the scars to be treated at high speed and are sucked out by a vacuum in the next step.
The abrasion of the skin is therefore carried out without chemical agents and is therefore well tolerated. However, the skin is affected in the process and must be well cared for afterwards and kept out of the sun for some time. With microdermabrasion, the top layer of skin is removed mechanically, similar to a chemical peel.
For more severe acne scars, dermabrasion helps, which is both more intense and more aggressive compared to microdermabrasion. In this procedure, the scars are smoothed by removing large portions of the dermis. The skin under the removed layer swells and turns reddish-pink for a certain period of time. Due to the area-wide regeneration of the skin, it is younger again and the acne scars are removed.
So-called Filler, i.e. cosmetic fillers, are used – in addition to their application for the Wrinkle reduction– also used to treat acne scars with low risk. The injection leads to a smoothing of the skin in the affected area, thus providing an even skin appearance. Whereas decades ago liquid silicone was used to inject the skin, today’s fillers are absolutely biologically compatible.
Acne scars can be filled by means of injections. For this purpose, mainly collagen, Hyaluronic acidor autologous fat is used. This makes the scar less visible. Since fillers correspond to the human molecular structure, they have no side effects. However, they are therefore also absorbed by the body, which is why the treatment must be repeated after a certain time.
Biological fillers are generally very well accepted by the body. Even though the risk of infection or allergic reaction is extremely low, you should have possible intolerances clarified beforehand. Dr. Fuchs’ practice team will discuss with you in detail the various options for treating acne scars. The trained dermatologists will also be happy to explain to you how long the effect lasts and when follow-up treatment should take place.
Lasers consist of focused beams of light that are very high in energy. They produce radiation in different wavelengths and colors when sent through an appropriate medium. This can be, for example, a liquid, gas or crystal. In the treatment of acne scars, the laser is directed at the affected area after the dermatologist has specifically adjusted the wavelength to the thickness of the skin tissue.
Laser treatments can be used for two different purposes. Because depending on the type and severity of acne scars, different laser methods can be chosen to remove the scars, or make them invisible. Because on the one hand, the scars can be removed with laser therapies, and on the other hand, the color of the scars can be improved. Which of the laser methods is used, must be clarified individually before the treatment.
For example, laser treatment involves directing infrared light specifically at the affected areas of the skin. This heats the water in the skin, causing it to evaporate. This leads to a flattening of the laser-treated skin region, and raised acne scars can thus be smoothed. At the same time, the redness of the skin is reduced there, which leads to an even complexion in the overall picture. Avoidance of direct sunlight for a few weeks and good skin care reinforce the result.
At Microneedling the affected skin region is treated with very many, very small needle pricks. The needles attached to a special roller inflict controlled injuries on the skin, which release messenger substances that stimulate new collagen and elastin formation, giving the skin a younger appearance.
Depending on the area of skin, the dermatologist chooses needles of different lengths. These are extremely fine and usually range in length from 0.25 mm to 2.0 mm. Since the skin becomes more elastic as a result of this treatment, the acne scars appear less pronounced in the long term. The epidermis remains unharmed except for the tiny puncture marks and recovers within a few days. Immediately after the appointment, your skin will still be slightly red, but this will quickly subside.
During the treatment, you may feel a slight pinching sensation, but it is not painful at all. A light anesthetic is available upon request. The use of a special cream makes the area to be treated relatively insensitive to pain temporarily. And following the therapy, beneficial active ingredients ensure that the skin is well nourished and heals quickly. Nevertheless, slight swelling and redness of the skin will appear in the days following the procedure. The acne scars are only faintly visible or not visible at all after a few treatments.
What you should pay attention to after the treatment
As already mentioned, the skin is initially more sensitive than usual after the treatments. This will subside after a few days. Nevertheless, you should protect your skin additionally. This does not only mean applying a sunscreen.
Avoid visits to the solarium and sauna, and also take care when cleansing your skin. Do not use scrubs or exfoliating brushes and dry your face carefully. Do not rub it with a towel, but dab it gently.
Next steps to remove acne scars
There are several options available to remove acne scars. Find out more today from your Skin Doctor Zurich about the treatment method that best suits you and look forward to a significantly improved appearance of the skin.
In the heart of Zurich, the latest technologies meet highly concentrated active ingredients and highly qualified specialists. At our skin clinic, we care for your comprehensive well-being. We know how important a trusting basis is for treatments of this kind, and we take time for your individual needs.
We will educate you in detail about the condition of your scars and discuss all the options available to you. Arrange an individual Appointment and get detailed advice.