Common Skincare Concern Series: Acne Scarring

Acne is the most common skin problem in the United States and affects 40 to 50 million Americans at any given time. The condition is the result of clogged pores. In healthy skin, dead skin cells rise to the surface of the pores and leave the body. When too much oil mixes with the dead skin cells, they become trapped inside the pores. When bacteria grow in this mixture, the pores become inflamed.

Acne Scarring

If the mixture of dead skin cells, oil and bacteria leaks into the surrounding tissue, it causes swelling, redness and pus, which is what we know as pimples. If the inflammation goes deep into the skin, acne cysts, deep, painful, pus-filled lesions, or nodules, large, painful hard lesions lodged deep within the skin, develop.

How do acne scars develop?

When acne breakouts penetrate the skin deeply, they damage the skin and the tissue beneath it. As the acne clears, the body tries to repair this damage by producing collagen, a protein that supports the skin. If the body produces too little or too much collagen, acne scarring results. The amount of collagen your body produces determines what type of scar you’ll get.

Depressed (atrophic)

If your body produces too little collagen, depressions or pits form as your skin heals. Depressed scars usually form on the face. Depressed acne scars include:

  • Boxcar – depressed areas, usually round or oval-shaped, with steeply angled sides (similar to chicken pox scars)
  • Icepick – deep, narrow scars that are small yet obvious holes in the skin
  • Rolling – broad depressions that have rounded, sloping edges

Raised (hypertrophic or keloid)

If your body produces too much collagen, you’ll develop a mass of raised scar tissue on the skin’s surface. Raised acne scars usually occur on the back and chest and are more common in darker skin.

Who gets acne scars?

You’re more likely to get acne scarring if you:

  • Have inflammatory acne, such as acne cysts and nodules. Inflammatory acne tends to penetrate deep into the skin, producing skin damage.
  • Delay or don’t treat inflammatory acne. The longer you have inflammatory acne, the greater your risk of scarring.
  • Pick, squeeze or pop pimples. This practice increases inflammation and therefore increases the risk of scarring.
  • Have a biological parent who developed acne scars. Genetics play a large role in acne scarring.

How SkinPen and Skinfuse can help

Medical micro-needling, a skin rejuvenation procedure that triggers the body’s natural production of collagen, has been shown to improve acne scarring. One review of 18 research studies found that micro-needling, used alone or in combination with other treatments, produced improvements in acne scarring in all 18 studies. In one study of 60 patients with acne scarring, three micro-needling treatments performed at four-week intervals resulted in a 31 percent improvement in skin texture, with no skin discoloration. Micro-needling was effective for all skin types.

Using the Skinfuse micro-needling protocol after your SkinPen procedure may help to optimize your results. Skinfuse products assist in calming irritated and inflamed skin. Purify Cleansing Complex gently removes makeup, sunscreen and surface oils, purifying skin in one cleanse without over washing or scrubbing. Shield Zinc Oxide 21% protects your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Overexposure to the sun can darken acne scars, making them more noticeable.

Individual results may vary. Talk to your SkinPen provider for more information on your specific skincare needs and about tailoring a procedure specific to you.