Deep Acne Scars

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Most people will experience an acne breakout at one time or another. The most common skin condition in the United States, it afflicts up to 85 percent of all teenagers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne is not limited to teens: People of all ages can have a breakout. While acne is not a debilitating or life-threatening condition, it can have serious emotional repercussions, particularly when it results in deep, unsightly scars.


Causes

No one knows the exact cause of acne breakouts, but a combination of inflammation of the sebaceous glands, excess skin oil production, clogged pores and an overabundance of P. acnes bacteria are the likely culprits, according to the AAD. Heredity probably plays a role in determining susceptibility to acne breakouts, according to MayoClinic.com. Hormonal changes may also contribute to the problem, which may explain why teenagers get acne so frequently.

Identification

Acne breakouts occur when hair follicles get plugged by dead skin cells and excess skin oil, or sebum. Since the oil and dead cells can’t be expelled to the surface of the skin, they build up under the surface of the skin. The bulging contents of oil, skin cells and bacteria may present on the surface of the skin as pimples, whiteheads or blackheads, or may form deeper beneath the surface as cysts or nodules.

Effects

Most cases of acne can be effectively treated, but no treatment works overnight. The AAD notes that even mild acne typically requires four to eight weeks of treatment before breakouts are completely cleared. Moderate to severe cases of acne usually do not respond to over-the-counter medications and require professional medical intervention. Mild acne may leave slight skin discoloration that heals on its own over time. Moderate to severe acne can result in deep scars in various formations, including boxcar scars, ice pick scars and rolling scars.

Treatment

A number of medical techniques can significantly improve the appearance of acne scars, including laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, scar removal surgery and fillers. The decision to pursue acne scar treatment is a personal one that should involve a number of considerations, including whether the scarring makes you self-conscious or depressed, or you believe your quality of life is significantly diminished.

Considerations

Acne scar treatment may be viewed as an elective cosmetic procedure by some health insurance companies. Elective procedures may not be covered by health insurance, so the patient may have to cover the costs out of pocket. Most treatments for deep acne scars are invasive in nature and will require some recovery time.

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