Acne doesn’t discriminate – and nor does its more permanent sidekick: acne scarring. Whether it’s shown up after an ISO-induced DIY extraction (nobody’s perfect) or it’s the after-effects of a particularly bad breakout, we explain why it happens, what it looks like, what you can do about it.
Why Acne Can Lead to Scarring
Acne, whether it’s a full-blown breakout or a lone pimple, is essentially inflammation beneath the skin. That inflammation—and any further trauma to the skin inflicted by you picking or squeezing any eruptions—can damage skin cells, collagen stores and elastic tissue. This then stimulates pigment production and dilates blood vessels which causes redness. At its most severe, damage to the skin tissue can then lead to visible holes or indentions in the skin.
The Different Types of Scarring
The way skin scars due to a breakout or persistent acne depends on a number of factors including: your skin tone, your family history of scarring, and of course the severity of your acne. Oh, and we’ll keep saying it, whether you mess with your face and perform unsupervised DIY extractions when no one’s watching. That is one thing you can control.
Pigmentary scars form when there is too much pigment in the skin (varying shades of brown), too little (white) or redness. The good news: these types of scars can be treated, both professionally and with at-home care, and will most likely improve if not disappear, depending of course on the severity.
Scars that appear like holes or indents in the skin are the result of a loss of tissue which isn’t replaced once the breakout or acne has healed. These include what are known as box car scars, ice pick scars, and rolling scars. When a scar is raised and feels lumpy, it’s known as a keloid scar. These potentially permanent scars generally require some form of professional treatment.
How To Treat Acne Scarring
Just as no two skins are alike, nor are scars identical; treatment is generally best handled by a combination of approaches. As always, we would first recommend you take your skin to a dermal therapist, GP, or dermatologist for professional attention. For more severe scarring (indented or raised scars), they may recommend anything from a course of chemical peels, microdermabrasion, skin needling and light therapy, to laser treatments, injectable fillers or steroids, or possibly even surgery.
But in the meantime (while clinics are closed) and for milder, pigmentary scars, there are some things you can do at home to help including:
1. REBUILD YOUR SKIN WITH A SERUMOur Even Blend Serum is our go-to for hyperpigmentation or brown markings in the skin, often experienced by medium to darker toned skins. Glycolic Acid and Japanese Seaweed work to exfoliate and brighten.
To help treat the pink, red, or purple scars that fair and lighter skin tones are often more prone to post breakouts, we reach for Rejuvenate 15 Serum. Rich in vitamins (like botanical Vitamin A) and minerals (like Copper), it helps to topically nourish the skin and boost cellular renewal.
2. KICKSTART COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
Our Vitamin C 100% is the vitamin in its purest, most powerful form and it works to even out skin tone and boost radiance, all while nudging the skin’s collagen production. It can either be applied to the skin by adding to your moisturiser, mask, serum, and even Retinol.
3. GET ROLLING
Skin-needling can be an especially effective treatment for acne scarring. While you can’t get to a clinic for a professional treatment, we can recommend a DIY solution: our Derma Roller. An easy-to-use at home tool, it contains tiny needles that you simply roll over your skin before following with your serum and moisturiser. Lightly needling the skin works to stimulate cell regeneration and collagen production and helps your products penetrate more deeply into the skin.
4. PREVENT UVA EXPOSURE
Sun protection is an essential, this we know. But did you know that UVA rays can worsen the look of scars in the skin by attacking the skin’s collagen stores which compromises its healing abilities? Our Age Defence SPF50+ delivers the highest broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB —and just so happens to be a great pre-foundation primer.