The only thing more frustrating than nursing a face full of acne is to spend hours in front of the mirror trying to hide visible acne scars that seem to permanently damage your smooth skin. Acne scars can affect any skin type and at any age, leaving behind red, unsightly marks.
We speak to Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics to understand more about acne scars and the various treatment options available in Singapore.
Why do acne scars form?
In most cases, the inflamed lesion causes a minor damage in the follicle wall and it will heal quickly. When the inflammation is not well-managed, the infection often goes deeper and destroys healthy skin tissue.
The skin reacts to the infection by producing more collagen fibers. In most cases, when the collagen completes the “repair work”, the appearance is never as smooth and flawless as before the injury.
“The severity of the inflammation is often an accurate gauge of scar development,” says Dr. Siew.
“The deeper the inflammation, the greater the chance of scarring. Severe acne that takes a long time to heal also increases the likelihood of scarring.” he added.
Types of acne scars
When wounds heal, the body responds by producing collagen to repair the open wound. Most acne causes atrophic scars, commonly known as depressed scars. A depression occurs because there is a loss of skin tissue after the trauma. Ice pick, boxcar scars, and rolling scars are examples of atrophic scars.
As the name suggests, ice pick scars are deep holes in the skin that look like the skin has been punctured with an ice pick. On the other hand, boxcar scars tend to be broader than ice pick scars. Rolling scars often appear uniformly on the face with tiny depressions and have smooth edges.
When the body overcompensates by producing too much collagen, creating a mass of raised tissue over the wound. Such scarring is called hypertrophic scarring, or commonly known as keloids.
Keloids often appear reddish or pinkish, usually a different shade from your skin color.
Acne scar treatments
The choice of acne scar treatment depends on the type of scar and the downtime the patient can tolerate. Very often, acne scar treatments require a combination of treatments for best outcome.
The diagram below gives a rough guide on a wide range of acne scar treatments that might be suitable for the different acne scar conditions:
Ice pick scars occurs because of the lack of collagen production which creates a deep depression on the skin. Treatments for ice pick scars aim to stimulate the skin’s collagen production so that the depression on the skin becomes less visible when more collagen fibers grow to smoothen out the skin.
Boxcar scars are often deep and wide, forming deep craters that can take a long time to treat. Depending on the nature of the scars, some doctors may recommend a dermal filler treatment to fill the deep craters.
After a dermal filler treatment, the scars can visibly disappear after the treatment. The downside: You need to repeat this treatment every 6 months as the dermal filler may dissolve after a few months.
Rolling scars are best treated with a skin resurfacing laser treatment because the scars are uniformly distributed with no defined depressions or holes that can be easily filled with dermal filler. Repeat sessions are often required to see some improvement in the skin texture.
Keloids are best treated with a steroid injection to reduce the swelling and appearance of the raised scars. Once the scar is flat, your doctor may recommend a laser treatment such as a CO2 skin resurfacing treatment and dual yellow laser to continue to improve the texture and reduce the redness so that it blends in well with the surrounding skin.
Radium Medical Aesthetics offers a full range of customized acne scar treatments to reduce the appearance of scars and improve your skin condition, allowing you to focus on what is important to you.
Radium Medical Aesthetics is conveniently located at #03-326 Suntec City Mall, Tel: 6837-0507. For more information, visit http://www.radium-aesthetics.com/