Acne Scarring: how to stop it and how to treat it
What’s heartbreaking about acne scarring is that it is preventable. Once scarring is established, no clean eating intervention in the world is going to change or remove it. In this article we will look at preventing scarring, and the awesome procedures that really work if you already have it.
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Scarring sucks. One the one hand, you have mostly or totally beaten your acne (yay you!) but on the other, you can be left with a permanent reminder. Don’t fear! There are some awesome and safe scar reduction methods I am going to share with you.
What is a scar?
Acne scars are the result of inflammation within the skin’s deeper layers. They usually occur when the acne has been deep and cystic.
They are created by the wound trying to heal itself, resulting in too much collagen being laid down in one area. As there is a an injury, the repair work happens a little too quickly, and the collagen is dumped and ends up a little gnarly and lumpy. Often when you feel your scarring, you can feel that knotty, hard collagen under the surface of the skin.
Types of scarring
- ice pick scars: deep pits that are the most common and a classic sign of acne scarring
- box car scars: angular scars that usually occur on the temple and cheeks and can be either superficial or deep, these are similar to chicken pox scars.
- Rolling scars: scars that give the skin a wave-like appearance
- Hypertrophic scars: thickened or keloid scars (dermaviduals, 2015)
The best way to treat scarring is to avoid it in the first instance. Alright, fairly obvious yes? There are a few ways to do this. And I know you can do it!
Ooooh my biggest bug bear in clinic. I even have a charity collection jar for pickers, as I fine my clients who do this. Picking is for fruit, there is no place for picking on your face! I know it is tempting, I know that sometimes you do it before you even realise. You have to STOP. Right now. Picking and fiddling is a sure fire way to further damage the delicate tissue and drive the infection and inflammation further into the dermis.
Getting help soon
Lots of people who have scarring tell me they wish that they had gotten help for their acne when it first started. They are so right. Getting help for your acne straight away really reduces your chance of scarring.
As I have already mentioned, all the green juices in the world won’t change existing scarring. However, if your nutritional status is super great, and you are saturating yourself with clean foods loaded with skin loving minerals and vitamins, then your recovery after scar reduction procedures will be DRAMATICALLY improved. The outcomes will be much better, as the skin will have every darn thing it needs to build healthy collagen. Also, eating this way whilst you have acne is a given. It is not optional. You will need to eat your way out of your acne.
I am also a Corneotherapist. A Corneotherapist is all about preserving the integrity and health of the stratum corneum (top layer of the epidermis) at all times. We feed the skin and correct it’s external nutritional deficiencies, and don’t strip, peel, microdermabrade and retinol the skin to within an inch of its life.
It’s a bit like using fertiliser on a garden, instead of weed killer.
So, I strongly believe that in order to correct ANY skin concern, that the external health and nutrition of the skin must be restored first and foremost. Most of us have an extremely compromised barrier function. This means, that through crappy skin care, environmental exposure and UV damage we are walking around with a leaky, gappy, vulnerable skin.
It’s like the roof of a house that has broken and loose tiles. We need to repair that function first and foremost before any kind of scar reduction therapy is started.
“I’ve already got scarring…what is next?”
Firstly, don’t stress! Above all don’t get desperate and book in for an invasive procedure before doing your homework. Have your skin deficiencies corrected, preferably by a Corneotherapist.
Procedures that work
My absolute favourite therapy for Scarring is Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT). Now the first thing you need to know about CIT, is that it can only be started once the active acne has been resolved. An external skin therapy, CIT is comparable to acupuncture. It involves seeing a professional. We use a medical device, with very fine, surgical stainless steel needles to make little channels into the skin.
This works to:
- breakup the lumpy bumpy old scar tissue
- release growth factors that help to produce yummy, bouncy NEW collagen
- increase access of cell nutrients to repair damage
- increases skin cell turnover
- In fact, unlike other procedures (such as Fraxel Laser, which has more associated side effects) it is a really safe experience, when done with the right therapist. It also triggers a response within our clever little skin cells, that starts a cascade of healing that continues for UP TO A YEAR after the treatment. How great is that!?
“How many sessions will I need?”
Everyone is different. Usually for significant scarring, between 6-12 sessions, every 4 weeks. And I must emphasise, scar reduction is entirely possible, but we can’t promise total resolution.
“Does it hurt?”
No, not with the right therapist, who has been trained properly. Every time I complete the first treatment with one of my clients, they are tickled pink with how comfortable and relaxing the session is.
Skin that is in danger of scarring
Skin that has a leaky roof, also has very poor wound healing capacity. Anyone who is having consistently deep acne nodules, should be seeking help quick smart to prevent scarring. There are also various internal nutritional deficiencies that will prevent your skin from healing optimally. Some medications and illnesses will affect the skin’s ability to heal.A sensitive and reactive skin is more likely to scar (remember that sensitivity is a skin type, not a condition and can be reversed with the right care).
“So what’s next?”
If you would like to learn all about ways to heal your acne naturally, sign up below to receive your FREE 7 Steps to Stop Spots in your Sleep and stay in touch about my very exciting online Acne healing program to be released this 2015.