Obvious acne or acne scarring can be very distressing and many sufferers feel that it dominates their other features. This can lead to anxiety and wanting to shut yourself away.
A personalised treatment regime can dramatically improve an ongoing acne condition and prevent scarring. Existing acne scars can sometimes be temporarily disguised with makeup, however carefully managed aesthetic treatments can make a significant, and permanent, difference.
Causes of acne and acne scarring
There are many factors which cause acne, however the key factor is thought to be the increase in testosterone experienced during puberty. This triggers the growth of oil glands in the skin, which produce more sebum (an oily, waxy substance). This mixes with dead skin cells and forms a ‘plug’ blocking the skin pore.
Other influencing factors can include stress, poor nutrition, menstruation, pregnancy and smoking. Some medications (such as steroids) can increase acne and there is also thought to be a genetic factor.
Acne causes spots and pimples which are commonly found on faces, necks, shoulders, backs, chests and upper arms. These range from relatively minor blackhead and whitehead spots to more severe forms such as nodules and cysts.
Scarring can be caused by any type of acne, however it is most commonly associated with nodules or cysts which damage the skin around them when they burst.
It can also be caused by picking or squeezing any type of spot as this can cause inflammation.
Symptoms of acne and acne scarring
Most people find that acne occurs during puberty and has more or less disappeared by the time they are in their twenties. However, for some, acne can persist into later lives, particularly affecting women and people with oily skin.
These are the most common types of acne scarring:
Ice pick scars
These are small but deep pits in the skin which appear to have been made by a sharp implement (hence the name “ice pick”). They are the result of the body producing too little collagen when healing from an infected spot.
These scars give the skin an overall uneven appearance and are the result of damage under the skin. They appear to form smooth hills and valleys across the surface of the skin.
These appear as shallow square, round or oval craters in the skin, similar to chicken-pox scars. Unlike ice pick scars they have vertical sides. They are caused by the same issues as ice pick scars – too little collagen being produced to heal the original acne wound.
Hypertrophic keloid scars
These are raised above the surface of the skin. Most hypertrophic scars will gradually flatten and fade. However keloid scars continue to grow and are very difficult to resolve.
Treatments for acne and acne scarring
Active acne should be treated as early as possible to control the condition and prevent scarring.
We recommend speaking to your GP about treatments available on the NHS and booking in for a free consultation with our team to discuss the additional treatment options we can provide.
Acne scarring treatments are not generally available on the NHS unless a medical need is identified. If you feel that your acne scars are having a profound effect on your quality of life, or if you are concerned that you might be suffering from depression, then we advise you to visit your GP to discuss your situation.
There are a wide range of treatments available from Melior Clinics which can greatly improve acne and acne scarring. All our new patients receive a free consultation to allow our skin care experts to identify the best treatment combination for your individual needs and provide realistic expectations of the improvements which can be achieved.
Acne and acne scarring
How do I know which treatment is right for me?
Before any treatment is agreed you will receive a free consultation with one of our experts. They will assess your skin and provide you with a recommended treatment plan. They’ll be realistic about the results which can be achieved, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
How good will the results be?
There are a lot of variables to consider when answering this question so it’s very difficult to provide a generalisation. Most people find there’s between a 50% and 75% improvement in acne scarring*, but when you visit us for your free consultation our medical team will advise you on the likely outcome from your personal treatment plan.
What can I do at home to reduce acne?
There are plenty of things you can do for yourself to improve acne:
- Don’t pick or squeeze your spots otherwise you increase the risk of scarring.
- Keep your hands clean – so when you do touch your face you’re less likely to transfer dirt or grease.
- Follow a healthy, balanced diet.
- Avoid using greasy cosmetics; use lightweight and powder-based makeup.
- Don’t smoke.
- Reduce your stress levels.
- Avoid sun exposure as this can dry out your skin triggering your body to produce more oil to compensate.
- Use a personalised skincare regime including using an alcohol-free cleanser twice a day (we can work on your skincare routine with you in a face to face, phone or Skype consultation).
At what age should I start to treat acne?
As soon as it develops, so usually around 13 or 14 years old. Early intervention is critical in managing acne and preventing scarring.
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Why choose Melior Clinics?
Our experts will help you look and feel great