Scarring is one complication of acne and causes scars, blemishes and dark marks to remain on the skin long after an outbreak has passed. Scars are a form of post-acne inflammation, where the skin has imperfectly attempted to repair the inflamed or damaged skin caused by a burst, or aggressive, spot. This can cause a range of scarring – such as boxcar, rolling and ice pick scars – that leave irregular indentations and raised lesions on the skin. Dark marks and blemishes can also develop during the healing process and this can cause hyperpigmentation that may not fade.
Acne changes the nature of the sebaceous glands and of the usually harmless bacteria, P. acnes, to become overactive and aggressive. This bacteria causes the widespread inflammation and overall increased sensitivity that often appears alongside acne.
Scars are exacerbated when acne has been overly touched, picked at, or squeezed. However, they mostly appear when a spot has become infected. Infected spots burst easily and can cause, not only damage to the hair follicle, but to the surrounding skin in the process. As the skin tries to repair the injury, it may produce inadequate amounts of collagen causing indentations which develop into boxcar and ice pick scars. Or, the skin may produce excessive amounts of collagen that is deposited unevenly, which causes the raised, bumpy scars – called rolling scars –that appear post-acne. Dark blemishes can also appear which develop when melanin, a protective pigment, is produced in excessive amounts to aid skin repair and causes uneven discolouring across the complexion.
The main types of acne scars are:
- Boxcar scars – round, oval depressions in the skin that can be deep – or shallow – box-like crevices that are often caused by burst spots and widespread inflammatory acne
- Rolling scars – bands of scar tissue that form beneath the epidermis that give the skin it’s rolling, uneven and wave-like appearance
- Ice pick scars – the deepest, narrow scars that cause the skin to have a pitted texture. They are the remaining signs of cysts and papules lesions that have significantly damaged the pores. They are developed when the skin produces a lack of collagen during skin repair and makes indentations rather than healing over completely
- Blemishes and dark marks – discolouration during the healing process. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and occurs when there is a build-up of melanin
We have many ways to treat acne scarring and hyperpigmentation. For moderate scarring, most of the acne treatments we offer focus on skin repair through collagen stimulation. For mild conditions, a skin rejuvenation approach is taken to focus on boosting skin health and mild resurfacing. The available treatments we have are:
IPL and laser skin rejuvenation – Light based technologies work wonders to kill acne-causing bacteria but can also be used to restore the complexion to its even, unblemished glory. We use intense pulsed light and laser devices that have phenomenal powers to reach the deepest layers of skin to artificially accelerate collagen producing. As the body begins reproducing new collagen proteins, this works to improve tissue quality, reduce pigmentation and strengthen easily reddened and sensitive skin.
Microneedling and EDS Revitalise – These are two collagen-induction treatments that both use ultra-fine needles to activate collagen production and reveal a newer, smoother and clearer epidermis. EDS Revitalise is different from traditional microneedling, and emits a hyaluronic acid serum during the treatment. Thanks to the tiny, atraumatic holes made in the skin, the hyaluronic acid can penetrate deeply into epidermis and dermis to aid skin repair, restore moisture and leave the skin intensely soft. It should be noted that microneedling is not suitable to treat acne scarring alongside current breakouts as this may facilitate the spreading of inflammatory, infectious bacteria across the face. All our microneedling treatments use original DermaRoller® devices – a brand that was founded in 1999 and has been developing, and revolutionising, collagen-induction tools ever since.
Skin peels – A type of professional exfoliating treatment suitable for treating mild acne scars that uses a combination of essential, skin-loving ingredients – like active ingredients and botanical extracts – to lift away damaged, scarred skin. Skin peels are completely customisable and can become stronger, or more gentle, to treat a range of skin types and acne scarring. The best peels for pigmentation and acne scars would be the Obagi Radiance® Peel, Epionce’s Lite Refresh Peel or Medik8’s Clarity peel.
HydraFacial – a patented six-step facial that works to detox, cleanse, exfoliate, extract, brighten and stimulate the skin. HydraFacials combine the best serums, vortex fusion technology and massage techniques to bring you a treatment that makes a difference from the first session. We have many types of HydraFacial available and from our traditional facials, we recommend the Acne Pro or the Acne GlySal Boost HydraFacial. These are salicylic, alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acid peels that revitalise the skin’s surface. The Acne Pro has the added benefit of using an LED Isolaz light – which can reduce a wide range of pigmentation issues – whereas, the Acne GlySal Boost uses a GlySal skin peel for the ultimate epidermal renewal.
For more severe scarring, you can make your HydraFacial Platinum. A Platinum HydraFacial has developed the six, original steps of a classic facial but has added skin peels, amazing booster serums developed by medical skin care brands and LED light to each facial. For scarring and pigmentation issues, the best Platinum HydraFacials would be ZO Health®’s Brightalive Booster® or HydraFacial’s Britenol™.
The best way to prevent acne scars is by treating your acne early. This can be through anti-bacterial topicals – like tretinoin, adapalene, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide – which can be found in a pharmacy, retailer or prescribed by your GP. Or through professional skin rejuvenation, like HydraFacials, skin peels, IPL and laser treatments.
The biggest advice when preventing acne scarring is to not pick, squeeze or touch your active spots. Touching the affected area can help facilitate the spreading of acne causing-bacteria which in turn, may exacerbate the appearance of your current breakout and infect existing spots, causing pustules, nodules and cysts which are more likely to scar.
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Frequently Asked Questions
We use a numbing cream with all our skin-needling treatments to make the procedure comfortable. We’re particularly confident that the new eDermastamp needling treatment is painless.
We recommend having three to six sessions, depending on the severity of your concern. The natural regeneration process of your skin takes up to six weeks to develop fully – the results are well worth waiting for.
Your skin will look flushed after a dermaroller or eDermastamp treatment and may feel tighter than normal. This will start to subside after one or two hours but may leave a slight redness over the following couple of days. It’s important that you wear a broad-spectrum SPF 50+ product, which you can buy from us if you don’t already have one. This will protect your skin during the post-treatment period. To speed up your recovery time, we also recommend using a hydrating serum.
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