The 5 Most Common Questions about Acne Scars

Author: Dr. Bobby Buka

Pimples are unfortunate enough to have to deal with, but when they leave behind scars as a constant reminder of acne past, it can be pretty defeating to your self-esteem. From discoloration to dark, unsightly craters, acne scars are usually the result of inflamed blemishes caused by pores filled with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. After a pimple subsides, the body attempts to heal itself with collagen. When there is not enough collagen produced or an overproduction of collagen, this can result in either pitted or raised scarring. With all the information available it can be overwhelming to find answers to a solution, which is why we’ve gathered the five most common acne scar questions to set the story straight!


Are acne scars permanent?

Most scarring of any kind leaves a permanent imprint on your skin, and unfortunately, this goes for acne scars too. However, the good news is that over time the marks left by pimples can lessen in depth and contour. What’s even better is that with the many advancements in dermatology, there are a number of options available to help decrease the appearance of scar tissue from acne breakouts. From laser treatments to micro needling, a visit to your dermatologist will help find the right procedure for you.


Will picking your acne cause scarring?

While it can be very tempting to pop an inflamed zit, especially when you have a social engagement, it’s absolutely the worst thing you can do! When picking your pimples, you are damaging the outer layer of your skin which causes further dermal disruption. Although it may feel as if you are getting all of that unwanted pus out when you pop your zit – the opposite is true! That yucky white substance that is visible on the outer layer of your spot is actually only 20% of what needs to come out and when popping your zit by hand, you’re pushing 80% of the pus further back into your dermis – a big no-no! You should always allow your spots to heal naturally to avoid any permeant damage or invest some time in heading to your dermatologist to extract your spots safely and efficiently.


Is surgery necessary to remove acne scars?

Acne scars are often a long-term condition that can range in severity. Some are more prone than others due to genetics, and if acne is left untreated at an early stage, this can also contribute to scaring. Every individual will react to a specific treatment differently meaning there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution. There are no topical creams that can successfully treat acne scarring – however, a number of approaches including CO2 laser treatment, chemical peels, subcision (fanning a needle underneath scar tissue) and fillers for acne scars have been used to great effect.


What is Accutane and does it cause scarring?

Accutane is a common potent oral medication prescribed for severe and nodular acne. Accutane works by decreasing the production of sebum oil and steadies the flow of dead skin cell shedding – both of which are two major cause of your acne breakouts. Although previously reserved for severe cases, the high success rate of this medication has allowed the use to be expanded to patients with moderate acne who have found no success with other forms of treatment. Accutane does not cause scarring, but one particular side effect of the medication includes dryness, particularly around the lips and eyes, which can easily be managed with an attentive daily moisturizing routine. There have been some cases of minor joint pain; however, this subsides once completing treatment. In recent years, the drug has been the center of much debate concerning its side effect for increasing the likelihood of irritable bowel syndrome and depression however recent studies have disproven this theory.


Can acne scars heal naturally?

Yes, they can lessen in depth and contour over time without treatment altogether. However, there are a number of factors that can determine the period of time it takes for any existing acne marks and scars to fade. Not only does the severity of your acne have an impact but also your age, skin type, tone, and complexion can play a part in how long it can take.