Acne (pimples) are common in teenagers. During adolescence, under the influence of sex hormones, oil glands (sebaceous glands) of skin start producing more oil. Enlarged pores of oil glands appear on the skin. Acneform when the pores get blocked. Blockage usually occurs because of excess keratinization and dead skin formation at the neck of the pore, which again is under the influence of hormones. External factors like clogging with certain makeup product also contribute to the blockage. This blockage of already hyperactive oil glands leads to acne.
Acne is of 5 types:
1. Whiteheads: They are mild and initial stages of acne where there is just a slight blockage
2. Blackheads: When the blockage becomes severe it reaches the skin level, gets oxidised and turns black
3. Inflammatory papules: Pink coloured, often painful to touch, elevated lesion.
4. Pustules: These are pus filled acne
5. Nodulocystic acne: This is the most severe form of acne where there are pus-filled cavities that often join and form acne conglobate.
Acne commonly happens on the face, but back and arms can be affected in severe cases. Acne, if improperly treated or neglected, can lead to temporary or permanent scarring.
Common types of Acne Scars (marks) are:
1. Depressed scars: These scars are like holes, that can be pin point or wider like pockmarks.
2. Hyperpigmented scars: There are flat dark spots left behind by healed acne.
3. Hypertrophic scar: These are pink, elevated scars.
4. Atrophic scars: When acne infection goes deeper into the skin, it can eat up the fat under the skin and leave a depressed /hollow look.
Treatment for Acne Scars:
Treatment of hyperpigmented scars: ZO peels, Chemical peels and Cosmelan peel help reduce the pigmentation of scars.
Treatment of depressed scars: Subcision and Micro needling-PRP help smoothen the depressed scars. Fillers like Juvederm are a great option for faster results.
Treatment of hypertrophic scars: Keloid injections ( locally acting steroid or antimitotic drugs ) are given into the elevated pink scars to flatten them and to reduce the redness. Usually, 2 to 4 sittings are required to get the maximum improvement.
Treatment of atrophic scars: Juvederm filler injections can fill up the tissue loss that happens in severe acne scars. This improves the appearance of scars. Autologous fat injections with or without PRP are an alternative to Juvederm for atrophic scars, especially in those people who additionally have hollow cheeks and desire fullness too.
1. How can I prevent acne scars?
Prevention and of acne and pimples is better and easier than treating the scars. Consult the dermatologist at the earliest and follow the acne treatment correctly. Acne is not something that can be cured completely till the hormones are active . Good control is possible . All patients a respond to same medicines. Therefore regular follow up with the dermatologist, and self-care as advised is crucial.
2. Can I use scar creams available in the market to remove acne scars ?
Never. Acne scars are of different types. Always consult a dermatologist/plastic surgeon.
3. How long does Acne scar treatment take?
Acne scar treatment takes multiple sitting and depending on the severity of scars, can take several months.
4. Is there a permanent treatment of acne?
The best treatment for acne is oral capsules of Isotretinoin. When taken as advised they can cure severe acne. Your dermatologist will recommend Isotretinoin capsules depending on the severity of your problem when creams and other topical treatments fail and acne starts to leave scars. These tablets are used strictly under dermatologist’s supervision to avoid any side effects.