What is Acne?
Acne, or acne vulgaris, is a condition involving the oil glands in the skin and affects of 60 million people in North America alone. Although it’s not a serious medical condition, it can be emotionally debilitating, often affecting your self-esteem and sometimes leading to depression. Acne can also leave your skin with mild to severe acne scars. Acne occurs on people of all races and all ages, but is most common in adolescents and young adults. Skin specialists estimate that approximately three-quarters of 11 to 30 year-olds will develop acne.
What causes Acne?
No one is really sure of the exact cause of acne, but what we do know is that your skin has pores that connect to the oil glands below the surface. Acne forms when these pores get blocked and infected. Acne affects both men and women, but young men suffer from acne for longer – likely due to higher levels of testosterone. There are several acne treatments available, ranging from medication to light therapy. The best option will depend on the severity of your condition.
Types of Acne Scars
It helps to understand the different types of acne in order to figure out the best treatment for your acne scars. So first of all, exactly what is acne? There are many different types of acne, and they fall into two main groups:
- Non-inflammatory acne: blackheads and whiteheads
- Inflammatory acne: papule, pustules, nodules and cysts
The mildest form of acne is non-inflammatory and results in blackheads or whiteheads. This type of acne does not usually cause much scarring – unless you have been trying to extract the blackhead or pop the whitehead, damaging the skin in the process. The most serious acne scars are caused by inflammatory acne such as papules, pustules or the most severe, nodules, which are painful, pus-filled cysts under the surface of the skin.
The acne scar type will depend on the damage done to the skin and how the skin heals afterward. You might find that you have more than one type of acne scarring:
- Ice pick – visible deep hole in the skin, usually the result of cystic acne
- Boxcar – depressed, round scar
- Rolling – bumpy or wavy skin surface
- Hypertrophic – raised, thickened lump
- Skin discolouration – reddish or brownish marks
Treatment of Acne Scars
Since acne has to be under control before the scars can be treated, early intervention is the best acne treatment around. Seek treatment for your acne as soon as it appears in order to prevent or reduce the potential of scarring.
Most of the time, skin discolouration will eventually fade and doesn’t require treatment. Acne scars that actually change the volume or texture of the skin do not fade with time, but there are treatments for acne scars available such as the Fraxel Laser, HydraFacial and dermal fillers.
If you have questions about acne or acne therapy, please contact us to book a complimentary consultation to find an acne skin solution that will work for you.