How to get rid of acne marks and prevent them from returning
Prevention is the key when it comes to “acne marks”. “Acne marks” can be the result of acne leading to either increased melanization of the skin (causing post acne blemishes) or could be due to collagen loss as a result of inflammation (causing post acne scars). But first, we need to understand what all is the reason behind acne marks?
How are acne marks formed?
To understand the development of acne blemishes and acne scars, we must first try to understand the evolution of acne.
Acne is formed when there is hyperkeratinization of pilosebaceous units. In simpler terms, this means clogging of skin “pores” leading to comedones formation. Comedones are blackheads or whiteheads of the skin. Left untreated, these open or closed comedones can cause bacterial proliferation and inflammation leading to pustule, papule and nodule formation. Once the inflammation sets in, it can recruit pigment forming cells (known as melanocytes) leading to spots and blotchy pigmentation. The inflammatory cascade causes collagen loss leading to post acne scars.
In short, acne marks are the results of acne and treating acne can allay all of your skin problems. That’s why, we often treat acne even when it is benign and often a teenage problem.
So Here are few skin care tips to control acne and acne marks:
- Never take your blackheads lightly
Blackheads and whiteheads are the forerunner of deep seated, ugly, red looking and scar inducing, inflammatory papules, pustules and nodules. These blackheads are like little “volcanoes” about to erupt. If you find your skin being bumpy due to blackheads and whiteheads, now is the time to intervene before its too late. Timely treatment of these blackheads either via AHA, BHA containing facewashes, salicylic peels or even over the counter benzoyl peroxides can lead to reduction in the comedonal count causing less eruption of acne marks or scars.
- Never pop your pimple
Once you find those “pesky” zits simmering underneath the skin, it’s hard to control the urge to pop that pimple. But remember, doing so will only aggravate your skin condition causing what is known as “acne excoriee” or excoriated acne. Instead, try using acne patches. Acne patches either contain hydrocolloid to absorb inflammation associated with acne or contain salicylic acid/tea tree oil which literally “dries out” your acne. This has the added benefit of occlusion so that you do not scratch your acne unknowingly.
- No “dangerous” DIYs
The internet is filled with numerous “DIYs” all claiming to clear out your acne marks overnight. While some of these DIYs are harmless, others can “burn” your skin. Stay clear from things like baking soda, toothpaste, vinegar and lemon. The list is endless so be wary of what the internet has to offer to you.
- Apply sunscreen and moisturiser daily
Every skin must use an SPF and a moisturiser. Using SPF is the simplest way to prevent acne marks formation. Usually, an acne settles with slight redness which on sun exposure can turn into brown marks. Using an SPF prevents this conversion thereby preventing marks formation. Adequate hydration using a moisturiser also helps in strengthening skin barrier and decreasing inflammation associated with acne.
- Use azelaic acid, if required
When it comes to acne marks, azelaic acid is the best form of treatment available. Can be used either as 10/20% concentration, or as azelaic acid peel. It’s a dicarboxylic acid which is even safe to use during pregnancy. Apply a thin layer at night and use SPF in the morning. You will see the magic happen in a month’s time.
- Use Tretinoin, but with caution
Nothing works for post acne scars except procedures. Post acne scars can be of 2 types:
- Hypertrophic scars: This is seen as elevated and hard bumps and lumps on the skin surface. Produced due to excessive collagen, they can either be a “keloid” or a “hypertrophic scar”. Intralesional triamcinolone is the treatment of choice. Around 20% of post acne scars belong to this category.
- Atrophic scars: Most of the post acne scars(~80%) belong to this category. Atrophic scars can be of 3 types:
- Ice pick scars: These resemble more like open pores. The most resistant scars to treat. TCA CROSS is the treatment of choice.
- Box car scars: These are shallow, depressed scars with a wide base. They respond to almost any form of treatments be it microneedling, vampire facial, MNRF, or laser resurfacing.
- Rolling scars: These are tethered scars with fibrotic bands underneath the skin. Subcision is the treatment of choice.
While it’s the procedures that mostly work on acne scars, yet tretinoin is the only effective medication that can regenerate early scars and minimise the appearance of it.
However, tretinoin if used recklessly can cause photosensitivity, “rashes” and even retinoid dermatitis. So use this drug sparingly, only at night and ideally post a prescription from a dermatologist or else it can do more harm than good to your skin.
- See a dermatologist
When in doubt, always see a dermatologist. It will eliminate the trial and error you are likely to do with your skin. This reduces the time frame in which you can achieve “wow” results. A dermatologist in Delhi is also most likely to guide you for different skin treatments for acne marks and acne scars.
If acne marks, acne or acne scars bothers you, visit Influennz skin and hair clinic by Dr Geetika Srivastava and let you Be beautiful, Be influential!