Different types of acne
Acne scars can seem like a double punishment: first you had to endure the pimples and now you have scars that remind you of it.
It helps to understand the different types of acne so you can decide what to do about the different types of scars: Acne or pimple lesions occur when the hair follicles (or „pores”) of the skin become clogged with oil and cells of dead skin. A plugged follicle is the ideal place for bacteria to grow and to create red bumps and pus-filled red bumps like pimples.
Acne comes in different forms:
- mild acne, which are pimples with a whitehead or blackhead that most of us have multiple times
- moderate acne, which includes red, inflamed bumps, called papules , and red bumps with a white center, called pustules
- serious acne, which causes nodules (cysts or painful, pus-filled lumps) to appear under the skin
The most serious scars are caused by the most severe forms of acne, and nodules are more likely to leave permanent scars than other types of acne.
The best thing to do is seek acne treatment as soon as it appears to avoid more serious acne and more scarring. If you have nodules, see your doctor or dermatologist for treatment.
Treating acne scars
Most of the time, the reddish or brownish acne marks that remain after the pimple is gone do not need treatment. However, if you touch or break the pimples, you can increase your risk of scarring.
Acne scars come in two forms:
- scars with gradual depression
- deep and narrow scars
Acne must be controlled before treating scars.
Mild scars and severe scars
Treatments depend on the severity of the scars. In some cases, a doctor or dermatologist may recommend a microdermabrasion or chemical peel to help improve the appearance of scarred areas. These milder treatments can be done directly in the office.
If you have severe scars from previous acne breakouts, you have several options:
- Facial rejuvenation. This procedure can be done in the doctor’s or dermatologist’s office. The laser removes the damaged top layer of the skin and firms the middle layer, leaving the skin smoother. It can take from a few minutes to an hour. The doctor will try to relieve the pain by first numbing the skin with local anesthesia. It takes 3 to 10 days for the skin to heal completely.
- Dermabrasion This treatment uses a rotating diamond instrument or wire brush to abrade the surface of the skin. As the skin heals, the peeling layer is replaced by a new, smoother layer. When dermabrasion is used, the skin takes a little longer to heal – typically 10 days to 3 weeks.
- Fractional laser therapy. This type of treatment works on a deeper level than laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. Because fractional laser therapy does not damage the top layer of tissue, the healing time is shorter. A person who has received this type of treatment will simply look as if they have been sunburned for a couple of days.
For gradually depressed scars, doctors sometimes inject material under the scar to elevate it and bring it to the level of normal skin. Finally, in some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove very deep scars.
One thing you shouldn’t do with acne scars is smearing your face with masks and lotions – they won’t help and could further irritate your skin, making the scars red and more visible.
If you have a red or brown mark on your face from a pimple, it should go away over time. However, this can take 12 months or more. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about acne marks; he will be able to advise you what to do.