Acne breakouts are hard enough to deal with on their own, but when they turn into acne marks or acne scars it can be even more frustrating.
Anyone who suffers from acne scarring often has the same question – how long will it take for my acne scars to fade? Some scars will fade on their own, whereas others are more challenging and will need professional treatment.
To understand this, you need to know what type of scar you have. This is where Zapp Laser Studio can help. We will break down the different types of acne scars and what treatment will be the most effective in helping to get rid of them.
What is acne scarring?
Acne occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil (sebum) and bacteria. You may see a few spots or pimples forming. However, when new spots appear consistently, this is known as an acne breakout.
Not everyone who suffers from acne spots will develop acne scars. But any type of acne spot can result in acne scarring. It is not always obvious why some people develop scarring and others do not.
Typically, acne scars are more common in those who have more severe acne. This is because you will deal with more serious types of spots known as nodules and cysts that become inflamed and can burst, which causes damage to the surrounding skin.
New collagen fibres form as your skin heals and tries to repair itself. However, sometimes your body produces too little collagen. This leads to depressed acne scars. For others, the body will produce too much collagen, which results in lumpy or raised scars.
If you have severe acne, you should consult with your doctor or a dermatologist to discuss how you can get this under control. If you leave this type of acne untreated for too long, you are more likely to develop acne scars.
Types of acne scars
There are two main types of acne scars – atrophic scars (loss of skin tissue) and hypertrophic scars (excess skin tissue).
Atrophic scars are indented scars that heal below the skin’s surface. This is because the skin has been unable to form new and healthy skin tissue. They look like shallow depressions, which is why they are also known as depressed acne scars.
This type of acne scar is commonly associated with severe, cystic acne. However, they can also form as a result of other types of acne.
Atrophic scars can have a box-like shape (boxcar scars), look like ice picks (ice pick scars), or they can have a wavy texture (rolling scars). We give more detail on each of them below:
Boxcar scars – are depressed acne scars that can look like round craters or box-like indents with sharp edges. You are likely to see boxcar scars on your lower cheeks, jaw or places on the body where the skin is thick.
Ice pick scars – usually form after an infection in acne cysts that works its way into the deeper layers of the skin. They are more narrow than boxcars scars or rolling scars but run deeper. They are the most challenging type of acne scar to treat and require a combination of treatments.
Rolling scars – are wide and round with sloping edges. They look uneven and irregular, which is why they look wavy on your skin. They result from bands of scar tissue forming underneath the skin, which pulls on the outer layer of the skin, causing depressed scars.
Unlike atrophic acne scars, hypertrophic scars or raised scars appear on the skin as lumps of scar tissue. They form when scar tissue builds up from previous acne spots.
They normally appear on the jawline, back, chest and shoulders. People with darker skin are also more likely to develop this type of acne scar.
Hypertrophic acne scars are the same size as the acne lesion they started from. If the raised acne scars are larger than the original site of the acne, they are known as keloid scars.
Do you notice skin discolouration or dark spots on your skin after your acne heals? This is not acne scarring; it is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. You are likely to develop this if your skin has been damaged by severe acne or if you have picked your acne spots.
Over time your skin may regain its colour naturally. However, for more severe cases or to speed up the recovery process, there are different treatments you can try:
- Topical retinoids or steroids to increase cell turnover
- Laser skin rejuvenation
- Chemical peels that include glycolic acid
How to get rid of acne scars – the best treatment option
Finding the best way of treating acne scars starts with knowing your skin type, the type of acne scars you have and the depth of the scars.
At your initial consultation with Zapp Laser Studio, one of our practitioners will assess your skin and acne scars. From this, we will develop a tailored treatment plan that will help fade your scars or get rid of them completely.
This will include at least one, or a combination of the following acne scar treatments:
Laser resurfacing to treat acne scars
PicoSure laser skin rejuvenation treatment works by elastin and collagen production in your skin. This helps to plump the skin from the inside out, filling out depressed acne scars.
Besides being a great treatment to improve acne scars, it also helps to even out your skin tone and skin texture. This will leave you with a more healthy and radiant complexion.
How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on the type of acne scars you have. To significantly reduce your acne scars, we advise that you have at least three laser treatments over a few months. Your practitioner may discuss combining laser treatment with another acne scar treatment to enhance your results.
Our SkinPen microneedling treatment can help reduce your acne scars and improve the overall texture of your skin. It works by using tiny needles to create micro punctures in your skin. As a result, it stimulates your body’s natural healing process including boosting collagen production. A course of microneedling will give you smoother skin and significantly fade your acne scars.
How many treatments will I need?
If you have newer acne scarring or it is quite minimal, you may only need two to three treatment sessions to see results. If your acne scars are more extensive, you may need up to eight treatments to see a reduction in your acne scarring.
We may recommend combining microneedling with a chemical peel to provide a more effective way to treat your acne scars.
If you have shallow or mild acne scars, chemical peels may be a good treatment option. Chemical peels use power chemicals to help remove the top layer of your skin and rejuvenate your skin.
They can also help even out your skin tone and texture to give your skin a healthy and fresh glow. There are different types of chemical peels, which means they can work on both darker skin tones and people with lighter skin tones.
How many treatments will I need?
Your skin type and type of acne scars will be a factor in how many chemical peel treatments you will need. On average, our clients have 3-6 treatments, spaced at least four weeks apart to see optimal results.
How can I prevent acne scars?
If you want to give yourself the best chance of preventing any acne scars from forming in the future, there are certain steps you can take.
Firstly, always treat your acne breakouts. Use a facial cleanser that includes salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients help to treat acne by removing dead skin cells and unblocking clogged pores.
Secondly, always wear sun protection. You should apply an SPF 30 sun cream every day to ensure you protect your skin from sun damage.
Finally, and this might be the most difficult – do not pop or pick your spots. Doing this releases all the oil and bacteria onto other parts of your skin. Not only can this cause more acne to form, but it also leaves you with an open wound which can become infected and lead to scarring.
If you suffer from bad breakouts or your acne is getting worse, you should speak to a skincare expert or dermatologist to seek advice.
If you are looking to get rid of acne scars, we can help. This will start with having a consultation with one of our expert practitioners. During this appointment, we will take a look at your scars, your medical history and your current skincare routine.
You will also get the chance to see how the different treatments work and what results you might expect from them. We will develop a tailored treatment program that will not only help fade your acne scars, but will also give your skin a boost, so it looks more healthy and bright.