As if acne did not upset us enough, sometimes it leaves scars to remind us of when we were affected by the skin condition. The term ‘scarring’ refers to a fibrous process where new collagen is produced to help heal an injury within the skin.
Approximately 30% of us that suffer with moderate to severe acne are affected with acne scarring. If you have nodular acne then you are more likely to experience scarring, but it can even be seen in those who get the occasional spot!
For us that have suffered through acne already, we just accept that acne scarring is an unwelcome part of the skin’s natural healing process and can be present with existing or past acne, but did you know there are ways to treat this scarring?
In general, our superficial spots will heal without scarring but when the deeper layers of the skin are involved, there is a higher chance of scar development. Inflammation is the single biggest gauge when it comes to scar development. The more inflammation present, the more likely we are to experience scarring.
We make it clear at Kate Kerr London that every case of acne scarring must be treated individually. No one experiences the exact same condition, and no two people are the same. Kate will assess the type of acne scarring you have before a bespoke treatment regime can be recommended for you. It is so important that your acne is under control before the scarring can be treated.
At Kate Kerr London we have chosen two proven techniques that are effective at helping to dramatically improve acne scarring. After your initial consultation, we choose between the award winning Dermapen Micro-Needling and an Advanced Skin Peel to rejuvenate the skin and stimulate collagen growth. Best results are achieved through a course of treatments using one, or a combination of these techniques as well as a targeted skincare regime, which will be bespoke to your individual needs. The fusion of these cutting edge methods and skincare helps encourage skin renewal to help correct the appearance of acne scarring as well as improve the texture and health of the skin.
If your particular acne scarring isn’t suitable for the techniques that Kate uses, then a referral will be made to an appropriate skin specialist using our extensive network of professional contacts.
Acne scarring is often the product of an inflamed skin lesion with papules, pustules and cysts being the most common. Inflamed spots occur when a follicle becomes engorged with dead skin cells, excess sebum and bacteria. This causes swelling within the pore which leads to a break in the follicle wall. If this rupture occurs near the surface of the skin the lesion is usually slight and heals quickly with no after effects. Scarring can arise when there is a break deeper down within the follicle. The infected material flows into the dermal layers and destroys the healthy tissue. To repair the damage to the dermis, the skin begins to form new collagen fibres. Collagen is the structural protein that gives our skin elasticity and strength. Unfortunately, this ‘repair job’ is never as smooth and flawless as the original skin. This can result in either hypertrophic or atrophic scarring.
As a lesion heals, the body sometimes produces too much collagen. This creates an accumulation of scar tissue on the skin’s surface leading to hypertrophic or keloid scarring.
Atrophic, or depressed scars, are the most common and develop when there is a loss of elastic tissue. There are two common types of atrophic scarring, ‘ice-pick’ and ‘boxcar’ scars. Ice-pick scars are usually small, but obvious, holes in the skin. Boxcar scars are generally larger in size and are depressed areas of skin. They are usually oval or round in shape with steep angled sides, similar to chickenpox scars.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by an inflammatory response to trauma caused within the skin. The lesions range from red to light and dark brown and sometimes even black. Lesions may become darker when exposed to ultra-violet light. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can occur in anyone but is more common in darker skinned individuals. Usually, hyperpigmentation lessens over time and normal skin colour returns. This is a long process and may take up to 6-12 months or longer.
Reduction in inflammatory breakouts is the main aim when treating acne to help prevent the chance of acne scarring. Regular Advanced Clinical Acne Facials along with specialist cosmeceutical skincare is the first line of defence for treating acne and therefore helping to prevent the subsequent scarring. For more severe or stubborn acne, medical treatment may be recommended to help to get your acne under control more quickly.
Even with the most careful treatment and care for your skin you may still develop acne scars.
Yes! You should not pick or squeeze acne lesions. In particular, inflammatory acne lesions should NEVER be squeezed. Squeezing forces bacteria and infected material deeper into the skin, causing additional inflammation and a higher risk of scarring. Extensive extractions are professionally performed in the Advanced Clinical Acne Facial so as to not cause skin damage or cause further break out.
It is also very important to not pick at scabs. A scab is the skin’s natural ‘bandage’ which protects the wound as it heals. Removing the scab before it is ready prolongs the wound healing process and increases your risk of scarring.
Before you commence using any skin treatment it is important to have a thorough consultation with a professional like Kate. When you come to see Kate for your consultation, ALL skin and skincare concerns will be taken into account before a treatment regime and home care advice is recommended.
By visiting Kate Kerr London you can be sure you are benefiting from the most extensive experience across a wide range of treatments to help you achieve the results you are looking for.
To schedule your Dermapen Micro-Needling treatment or Advanced Skin Peel or to request a consultation please contact us.