Acne scars are not just a damage to our skin texture but also to our confidence. How we hate when even after makeup those raised and dented scars are visible. This is a step towards ensuring that we don’t suffer that anymore. Prevention such scars starts with awareness about what triggers pitted acne scars. Dig with us on how are pitted acne scars formed and what are the 5 key points to prevent them.
How are pitted acne scars formed?
First, let’s discuss what happens when you get acne. Acne is a clogged pore when pathogens and dirt are marinating to thrive and create a deeper wound. When this happens your skin will inflame and it will instantly lead to giving out those repair signals to your body. So the main reason that pitted scars occur is due to inflammation. Inflammation can turn healthy collagen into fibrous strands that pull down the skin and create different shapes of hollow scars on the skin. So to list down two key factors that can lead to pitted scars are-
- Collagen damage
Learn more about Collagen here.
Learn more about the ingredients that help in treating acne scars here.
What are the types of pitted acne scars?
Pitted scars can be either raised or cause dentation in our skin. They are then further divided into other types. Let’s have a in detail look at all of them-
1. Keloid or Hypertrophic scars
These are the scars that cause raised lumps of scar tissue. Hypertrophic scars grow the size of the acne whereas Keloid scars grow a little bigger.
Keloid scars cannot be removed and even if removed, there are high chances that they will appear again. They usually look like bumps or bubble-like skin.
2. Atrophic scars
This is a common type of scarring. It has a pitted look which is caused by severe acne. This can be further divided into three types depending on the shape of the scar-
These are the smaller ones in size. They form indentations pointing down towards the skin. Just like any other scars, this needs aggressive treatment. They are not easy to treat.
They have a box-like appearance and hence the name. They are broader than the icepick scars and have a defined edge.
5. Rolling scars
These are the broadest of the Atrophic scar types. They do not have a definitive boundary. Boxcar and rolling scars respond better to treatment, unlike icepick scars.
What are the 5 ways to prevent pitted acne scars?
Prevention of pitted acne scars is based on some simple acts that you can follow when you have a pimple. It starts with day 1 and not day ‘n’. Here’s what you should do in order to prevent pitted acne scars:
1. Don’t squeeze, pop or pick
Maybe you've already heard this a gazillion times but let us reiterate this. It is important not to further inflame your skin by touching and squeezing and popping the gunk trapped in your pore. As we mentioned earlier, the more the inflammation, the more the chances of scarring your skin. Inflammation degrades collagen which leads to wrinkles and pitted scars. And just like that, popping or squeezing the skin around your pimples leads to more chances of ending up with pitted scars. If you’re someone who has a habit of touching your pimple time and again then we recommend pimple patches that suck out all the gunk and also won’t let the infection spread.
Sublime recommends Klearme Klear Pro. These are ultra-thin, invisible, hydrocolloid patches that can absorb the gunk in 6-9 hours and can be worn at any hour of the day. If you don’t know how to stop picking your acne, then this is where your search ends!
2. Focus on treatment for the acne
It is often late by the time one starts working on treating acne and the older the marks, the harder it is to treat them. Acne when left untreated in the early days can lead to deeper wounds. This along with inflammation due to external stressors or irritants in your skincare could lead to loss of collagen in that region. Once the acne settles, it will give you a pitted scar since there is not enough collagen in that region to plump up your skin. It is proven that older and deeper wounds are more difficult to treat and take more time to heal as compared to the new ones. So to prevent pitted acne scars, take immediate action to unclog that pore. How do you do that? Read the below pointers!
3. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation leads to chaos under your skin. It immediately sends a signal to repair the damage and to protect it from further harm. This is when it activates the melanocytes- the cells that produce melanin and leads to Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation(PIH) or pitted scars. So if you have a pimple then you must focus on treating it by first looking out to soothe the skin. Look for ice therapy or apply Aloe gel as a quick face mask. You must also try to calm your body from within by consuming rose water, coconut water, fennel drink, etc. When it comes to skincare, pick products that are non-comedogenic and can soothe your skin like Cica, Aloe Vera, Honey, Propolis, Snail Mucin, Rosewater, etc.
4. Opt for gentle exfoliation
To treat acne, you need to unclog that pore and one of the best ways to do it is by using Beta-Hydroxy Acid(BHA). It is an oil-soluble chemical exfoliant which penetrates deep within your skin layers to eliminate the gunk. While BHA works well with oily and acne-prone skin, AHA works well for dry skin. AHA is Alpha-Hydroxy Acid which is a chemical exfoliant and also a humectant. It is water-soluble and hence cannot penetrate deep. When you have acne, the lowest .concentration of chemical exfoliants can help to eliminate the dirt.
Learn more about chemical exfoliation for beginners here.
Sublime recommends Daughter Earth AHA BHA PHA Exfoliating Cleanser. It has natural exfoliants and berry extracts to moisturise and soothe your skin. We’d pick this as a beginner!
4. Apply SPF
There is nothing more magical than a strong SPF when it comes to the prevention of any skin fuss. We spend a few bucks on treating a skin concern but using SPF is still not preached and executed enough. Application and reapplication of SPF are just as important as a good AM and PM routine for skin. When it comes to acne, the skin is already vulnerable due to pathogens thriving in your pores, damaged skin barrier, etc. So if you don’t protect your skin at this point when it is so vulnerable, external stressors will get to you and all that you will be left with is inflamed and sensitive skin which is prone to scarring. Take your SPF seriously!
Learn more about sunscreen here.
Sublime recommends Lisen Soothing Shade SPF 50 + PA +++ Sunscreen. This is a non-comedogenic, physical sunscreen that has Centella Asiatica too. We love how moisturising it is!
Pitted scars can occur on the face, neck, and anywhere on the body. It starts with acne and as the inflammation increases, collagen breaks down in the skin so when the acne is gone, it leaves a scar. The scars could either be brown pigmentation or scars which can either be raised or pitted. To prevent such scars, lookout for soothing, hydrating, and exfoliating products. Just a gentle reminder that prevention is better than cure and to avoid pitted scars, we must focus on the basic necessity of our skin.