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Scarred by acne? |

Health And Family

Scarred by acne?

UNDER YOUR SKIN - Grace Carole Beltran, MD - The Philippine Star

Lasting for many years, acne can cause both physical and psychological scarring. It is a skin condition that commonly affects adolescents and continues to cause embarrassment for many, right into their adulthood. Thankfully, it is a temporary condition, that many people are usually able to get rid of after months or years of suffering. However, acne does continue to remind the affected person of the past distress, through the scars that are still visible on his/her face. 

Scars occur in place of the damaged skin tissues due to the acne breakouts.  The infection and severe inflammation associated with this condition can seriously destroy the skin and the underlying subcutaneous tissue, leaving behind significant skin deformity.  In the course of inflammatory acne outbreaks, the underlying collagen matrix that supports the skin becomes obliterated and is replaced by scar tissue.  During the inflammatory process, white blood cells release inflammatory cytokines and toxic enzymes that can kill the surrounding tissue.  Large areas of destroyed skin may not be properly repaired, so that damaged tissue is replaced by fibrous scar tissue.

Recurrent trauma to the skin caused by persistent acne can also lead to dysplastic (abnormally developed) dermal and epidermal cells, resulting in uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmented spots, and other skin irregularities like significant and permanent scarring.  Depending on the severity, location, and duration of an acne lesion, several types of scars can result, as follows:

• Icepick scars are deep, narrow scars that look like little holes in the skin which, for me, are the most difficult and most expensive to treat. These scars are deep pits that are usually less than 2mm across. They extend into the skin, giving it an appearance of having been punctured by an ice pick.  

•  Boxcar scars are larger depressions in the skin. These scars are angular with sharp vertical edges.  They may be shallow or deep, and are most often found on the cheeks and temples. They’re also quite difficult to treat.

•  Rolling or atrophic scars are caused by damage under the surface of the skin, thus giving skin a wave-like appearance. They tend to be wide and shallow.  They’re the easiest to treat.

•  Hypertrophic scars are raised and lumpy. They tend to appear on the back and chest, but they can also appear on the neck and face. Often the result of severe acne (cysts or nodules), they generally stay within the boundary of the original wound, and may decrease in size over time.  Also easy to improve.

•  Acne keloidalis is a result of an overgrowth of granulation tissue (collagen type 3) at the site of a healed skin injury after a large cystic acne lesion resolves, which is then slowly replaced by collagen type 1. Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules that vary from pink to flesh-colored or red to dark brown.  A keloid scar is benign but sometimes accompanied by severe itchiness, pain, and changes in texture. In severe cases, it can affect the movement of the skin and if often irritated and manipulated may evolve into malignancy.  This is also easy to improve.

Successful management of the acne scar patient hinges on the physician’s evaluation (grading system) and a clear understanding of the patient’s concerns and expectations relating to their scars.

For students graduating this March, in order to achieve flawless skin, first things first, the best course of action is to take the immediate step to control one’s severe acne to prevent additional damage.  Usually, you will need at least a month or two and sometimes even more if it is really very severe to finally put a stop to acne. eruptions.  Then your doctor should be able to grade the scar — if you have it already — and tell you what to expect after treatment as well as the costs before availing of the procedure.

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For questions or inquiries call 09174976262,

09399171352 or 4847821; e-mail


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