Acne marks and acne scars are very similar as it is caused by pimple outbreaks also known as acne. Individuals with acne scars or acne marks usually consider themselves as less attractive or less appealing, due to the lack of confidence, which can be emotionally and mentally distressing.
Acne marks and acne scars can be treated with suitable treatments. However, for both concerns, it will require different kinds of treatments and having the knowledge to understand the differences between acne scars and acne marks. It is important to know what you are dealing with.
How Many Types Of Acne Are There?
All comedones and inflamed pimples started as a micro-comedo. Microcomedo is the tiniest acne of all and cannot be seen by the naked eye. There are two kinds of acne:
Non Inflammatory Acne are whiteheads and blackheads when the comedones are formed and categorized as opened or closed comedones. Closed comedones refer to whiteheads that appear as small plugged follicles and the contents of the follicles are not exposed to the skin. Open comedones refer to blackheads that allow oxidation of the content within the follicle and appear with small follicles with dilated openings to the skin.
Inflammatory Acne is inflammation caused by acne bacteria. It is when the comedones develop into papules or pustules when an inflammatory response is triggered and causes redness and swelling of the follicle. If left untreated, inflammatory acne can cause damages to your skin texture and it can be permanent.
Difference Between Acne Marks & Acne Scars
Acne Marks are not scars and do not stay on the skin permanently. It is a discoloration caused by the healing process of the acne wound and usually takes around 3-6 months for the marks to fade off.
Acne Marks are also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which usually appears as brown, gray, or dark color spots or red spots also known as post-inflammatory erythema.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when pigment skin cells are stimulated by the healing process of where the acne wound occurs. Post-inflammatory erythema happens when the blood flow stops during the inflammation stage also known as blood vessels dilation which can cause red or pink marks on the skin.
Acne Scars are scars that require treatment to get rid of because it is a permanent damage and affects the texture on the skin. The color of the scars varies from the skin tone, individuals with lighter skin tone will produce red marks while darker skin tone will produce brown marks after the acne heals.
The texture of the skin that is caused by the acne scars are either hypertrophic (raised scars) or atrophic scars (indented).
- Hypertrophic scars usually happen on individuals with a darker skin tone. It can appear as a hard or itchy raised lump that comes in red or pink color and commonly appears on the jawline, chest, back, and shoulders.
Hypertrophic Acne Scars are when the skin has over produced collagen to the acne wound.
- Atrophic Acne Scars refers to depression or pits formed on the skin itself when there is a lack of collagen produced by the skin.
However, Atrophic can be categorized into 3 types of scars:
Rolling Acne Scars looks like a crowd of waves that are usually not define with uneven and bumpy skin texture.
Ice Pick Acne Scars look like small craters around the cheek area that appear as narrow and deep scars.
Boxcar Acne Scars look like round or oval depressions that are formed after an acne heals and appear as a deep and sharply defined edge.
The type of acne scars depends on the amount of collagen that our body produces.
Depressed Acne Scars happen when the skin over produces collagen causing depressions or pits when the skin heals.
Raised Acne Scars are usually more commonly seen on individuals with dark skin done and happen when the skin produces too much collagen when the skin is healing.
What Causes Acne Marks & Acne Scars?
Acne marks and acne scars are injury and inflammation caused by pimples. Acne inflammation is a skin condition that appears as red, swollen and sore bumps that includes pus, dead skin cells and excess oil. Inflammation occurs underneath the skin when a pimple starts to form and causes wound to the skin tissue, resulting in acne scars or acne marks after healing.
What Causes Inflammatory Acne?
Inflammatory acne is painful, swollen, and appears as yellow, white or red in the center. This happens when the pores are clogged with product oil applied on the skin, dead skin cells or natural oil that our body produces, also known as sebum.
What Are The Signs Of An Inflammatory Acne?
- Pustules: Surface of the skin is bumpy and contains pus.
- Nodules: Huge and hard bumps hiding underneath the skin.
- Cysts: Huge and soft bumps underneath the skin that contains yellow substances like keratin
Can Inflammatory Acne Spread To Others?
Inflammatory acne cannot spread to the other person and cannot be spread from an area of your body to another.
Who Are Prone To Getting Acne Scars?
It’s almost impossible to predict who will get acne scars but individuals with the following factors are more prone to develop an acne scar once the acne clears:
Inflammatory Acne such as acne nodules and cysts are usually painful and appear swollen and reddish. These acne are more prone to causing damage in the skin as it penetrates deep into the skin.
Delays in Getting Treatment is another cause for acne scars as the longer it takes for the individual to seek for a treatment, the higher the risk of producing an acne scar.
Popping of Acne is also one key point that causes acne scarring because it damages the skin underneath.
How Common Are Acne Scars?
Acne Scarring usually targets mostly teenagers. However, it can be common to anyone between the age of 11 to 30 with one out of five in the population having scarring.
What Can Worsen Acne Scars?
Genetics plays a part when it comes to acne scarring as it controls how well the skin heals, as well as how deep the acne is and the amount of collagen produced also affects how obvious the acne scars are. However, smoking, squeezing or picking of acne can also worsen the acne scars.
How Can We Treat Acne Scars?
Acne scars can be stubborn but there are a few different ways to treat acne scars.
- Chemical Peel can help to boost the skin tone and appearance by using chemical solution to remove the outer layer of the old skin, allowing the new layer of skin to produce and replace which and smoothen the skin texture.
- Home Remedies such as aloe vera can reduce swelling and redness because scars heal well when there is enough moisturize and soothing treatments. Baking soda also acts as a natural exfoliator for acne scars removal, it balances out the pH and get rid of dead skin cells without damaging the skin around the scar.
- Fractional CO2 Laser reduces the appearance of enlarged pores and pimples with no surgical procedure. It is also a non-invasive treatment to treat uneven skin tone and texture and remove acne scars at a low downtime with minimal pain. The treatment stimulates collagen production for the skin, using laser beams to create injury on the acne scar for our body to produce more collagen to grow new skin and replace the damaged skin.
- Pico Laser is a non-ablative laser treatment meant for pigmentation removal and can be used for many purposes on different areas of the skin including fading of acne marks and acne scars, skin brightening and tattoo removal with minimal pain and low downtime. It fires laser shots at picoseconds using ultra short pulse duration which allows the skin to have a lesser exposure to irritation and downtime. It also allows pigments to break into the smallest possible fragments that can be removed easily by the body naturally.
Is Treating Acne Scars Painful?
At V Medical Aesthetic Clinic, we do our best to solve the concerns our patients have. We provide treatments like Fractional CO2 Laser and PICO Laser for individuals that have concerns about acne or acne marks and acne scars.
Both Fractional CO2 Laser and PICO Laser treatment have little to no concerns from our patients. These treatments are bearable as numbing cream will be provided before the treatment starts to minimise any discomfort.
Does Acne Marks & Acne Scars Go Away On Its Own?
No, it does not entirely go away on its own. However, it depends on the type and the depth of the scarring. Scars such as atrophic can be difficult to go away naturally and it tends to stay on the skin for years depending on the skin type and how severe the acne is.
How To Prevent Acne & Acne Scars?
It is important to keep our skin clean by cleansing our face up to two times a day and after sweating, as well as removing the makeup on our face before going to bed and not letting it sit overnight. Avoiding touching the face with our hands is also important because we might transfer the unseen germs to our face and cause acne to flare up.
Acne or pimple can be tempting to pick it or pop it but it is important to avoid doing these as it can push or spread the bacteria and pus into the skin deeper which will worsen the swelling and redness.
Acne can be caused by certain reasons but at the end of the day, it is important to keep the face clean and know what to avoid to prevent acne from flaring up. It is also important to have basic knowledge to differentiate between Acne Marks and Acne Scars can also help you to know which treatment will be more suitable for your skin concern. Otherwise, you may speak to our doctors and they will advise you on what kind of treatment works best for you regarding your concern.