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How Does Acne Scarring Happen? 7 Things You Should Know

Acne is the most common skin condition in the US and can affect up to 50 million American citizens each year. Yet when the inflammation subsides, many people can be left with permanent scars. So how do you avoid and cure this problem?

While there is no one size fits all approach, there are effective solutions available. Read on as we answer the question "How does acne scarring happen?" and tell you how to solve it.

1. What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when oil, dead skin, and bacteria begin to block pores. These are the tiny holes in your skin that allow sweat and oils to make their way out of the body. When clogged, they will form a white or blackhead pimple which can become inflamed.

The condition is extremely common in teens and young adults due to the effects of changing hormones. Yet adults can also get it due to stress, medication, and hormone changes.

Many different types of acne can appear on the body. White and blackheads are the most common but tend to heal easily if they are not picked and scratched. However, other types can cause damage that lasts much longer.

Papules are pink or red bumps that cause pain when touched. Pustules are filled with pus. They are red on the surface and will have a white or yellow head.

Nodules are similar to pustules but they are solid. These can be very painful as they go deeper into the skin. Cysts are larger pus-filled lumps that are deep under the dermis and more likely to scar.

2. How Does Acne Scarring Happen?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and consists of three main parts. These are the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. Whenever the oil and sweat that comes through them causes acne and it produces inflammation, it has the potential to become a scar.

Scars form as the pore swells and the wall breaks down. Some scars created in this way may be small and heal quickly, or the contents can spill into surrounding areas making bigger scars.

There are two main forms of a scar. One is when the tissue gets lost through this process and an indentation forms on the skin. The opposite is when the body provides too much replacement skin, making a raised surface.

3. What Are the Types of Acne Scars?

Acne scarring can take many different forms. Knowing what you have can help you work out a more successful treatment method.

Rolling Scars

Rolling scars are very common. Shallow and broad, they have sloping edges. As you age and lose elasticity in the skin they may become more apparent.

Box Car and Ice-Pick Scars

These scars are caused by a loss of tissue. Named depressed fibrotic scars they can take the appearance of sunken pits in the skin. Ice pack scars are the deeper of the two.


These are possibly the most unsightly of acne scars. They appear as raised, uneven bulges and are formed by excess tissue. Also known as hypertrophic scars, keloids tend to be larger.

4. Hyperpigmentation

Dark spots are a result of acne, but they are not acne scars. Characterized by dark brown or reddish marks, they are a form of skin hyperpigmentation. This is different from scarring and should be treated appropriately.

Given time, they will fade. You can use brightening skincare products to speed up this process. However, dark spots will not cause imperfections on the surface of the skin and as a result, are not classed as a scar.

5. How to Prevent Acne Scarring

Just because you have acne does not mean you will get acne scars. This only occurs with heavy inflammation. The best method is to take part in acne treatments while maintaining a healthy diet and skincare regime.

There are several readily available products that contain anti-acne treatments. Creams and facial washes are advised. Get the assistance of a dermatologist who will be able to discuss treatments with you.

6. Over the Counter Acne Scars Treatment

There are some over-the-counter creams and topicals that may help reduce scarring. The best ones will contain a blend of the following ingredients:

  • Alpha hydroxy acids

  • Lactic acid

  • Retinoids

  • Salicyclic acid

Before purchasing them, you should consult with a dermatologist. They may recommend treatment of over-the-counter medicines and cosmetic procedures combined.

7. Acne Scars Treatment and Procedures

There is a wide range of cosmetic procedures for acne scar removal. They often involve one or two repeat sessions and work best in conduction with other methods.

Laser resurfacing is one of the most popular and effective. It provides heat to the layers of collagen under the skin. The body then creates newer, healthy collagen to replace the skin and stimulate growth.

Dermabrasion is another solution. This uses friction to remove the top layers of skin. Microdermabrasion is similar but removes the whole top layer of the dermis.

Chemical peels are also used for removing scars and can work for acne. This takes off the top layer of skin. When a new one forms, it has fewer scars and tears.

Making a Change

Now you can answer the question "How does acne scarring happen?" you can start making changes. If you have acne, begin with preventative measures. When you already have scars then speak to a specialist regarding their removal.

Your first stop should be Laser Spot. We are a medical spa located in Brampton. Contact us here to book your visit to the place where beauty meets elegant professionals.

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