Acne scars can detract from your appearance and make you feel self-conscious. Scars on human skin generally result from a wound or injury. Although they may not be aesthetically pleasing, scars are a natural part of the healing process. While the majority of superficial wounds will heal without scaring, they will appear if the dermis is damaged. This can occur as the result of acne, which is most often caused by an inflamed lesion, such as a cyst, pustule or papule that produces a break deep inside a follicle. Blackheads, whiteheads and other non-inflamed breakouts usually do not cause scarring as these lesions typically injure only upper layers of skin tissue.
Inflamed blemishes occur when dirt, excess oil and dead skin cells of bacteria clog a pore, which is a follicle. The walls of this tiny opening expand and typically break near the surface of the skin. These minor wounds heal quickly and leave little trace. When serious lesions occur, they may break the follicle wall and allow infected materials to leach into and damage the healthy tissue of the dermis. To repair the damage, your body produces new collagen, the fibrous protein that gives your skin its strength and flexibility. This healing process may produce new skin that is not as smooth as the pre-acne texture.
As the wound heals, a keloid or hypertrophic scarring may occur. This raised mass of tissue on the skin surface is caused when your body produces too much collagen. The most common type of acne scar has a depressed or atrophic appearance. Atrophic scars develop because of a loss of tissue.
Ice pick and boxcar scars are two types of atrophic acne scars. An ice pick scar is a long, narrow scar that extends deep into the tissue of the dermis. It looks like an ice pick or another long, pointed instrument has pierced the skin. Boxcar scars have a wider round or oval shape with steep vertical sides. They give the skin a pitted appearance that looks like two sixes on a roll of dice, or “boxcars.”
Preventing or reducing inflammatory breakouts is the best way to lessen the chance of scarring. When acne initially appears, it is important that it be controlled as much as possible. Do not pick or squeeze a pimple or pustule because it can force the debris and infection deeper into your skin and increase the chance of scarring. If the pimple pops on its own, do not pick the scab. This natural bandage aids the healing process. Removing it will prolong the process and can increase the risk of scarring.
When acne first appears, schedule an appointment at Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office in Poplar Bluff or Paragould. Our medical professionals will perform an examination and develop an effective skin care regimen to control the inflammation as much as possible to reduce the chances of scarring. If you already have acne scars, there are treatment options available which may lessen their appearance. The right treatment can enhance your appearance, boost your self-confidence and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to request a consultation to learn more.