It was everyone’s best friend the moment we hit puberty. Some had their relationship ended while others tried so hard to make them go away but to no success. Everyone will always agree that a relationship with acne is the kind that everyone dreads about, especially for girls.
That monthly ‘date’ with zits in the most random places in the face is just one of the major reasons why girls are just too burdened during their red days.
However, the issue on zits popping everywhere during period has been scientifically researched and has been considered as a natural phenomenon that happens during that time of the month. But take note that there are a lot of factors that contribute to the random appearance of acne: stress, hormonal imbalance, genetics, etc.
The most common misconception about acne. Most people think that acne is that red bump that appears on the surface of the skin.
The truth is, acne comes in different forms, some of it are actually known to people yet they are not aware that is a form of acne. There are two types of acne: the non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne.
The Medical News Today enumerates the different types of acne, as follows:
- Non-inflammatory acne
According to the website, Whiteheads and blackheads are types of non-inflammatory acne lesion. They are the least severe forms of acne.
Non-inflammatory blemishes usually do not cause swelling and are not very painful.
The medical term for whiteheads is closed comedowns. These are small, whitish or flesh-colored spots or bumps. They usually have a white, circular center surrounded by a red halo.
A hair will sometimes emerge from the center of a whitehead, or it may appear to be trapped within the blemish.
The skin around a whitehead may appear to be tight or wrinkled, especially when the whitehead is large or especially raised.
Whiteheads typically do not cause scarring.
Blackheads are also called open comedones. They are small, black or dark-colored spots that may appear as slightly raised bumps.
The skin around a blackhead usually appears normal, while the center of the blackhead is darker than the surrounding area.
The coloration is not a result of trapped dirt. Blackheads are simply whiteheads that have opened and widened. When the contents of a whitehead are exposed to air, they darken.
- Inflammatory Acne
Inflammatory acne is more severe than non-inflammatory acne, and this type is more likely to cause complications, such as scarring or pitting.
Blemishes or lesions that are inflamed, or red, swollen, and warm to the touch can result from inflammatory acne.
The different types of inflammatory acne are:
Papules are bumps under the skin’s surface. They are solid, tender, pink, and raised, and the skin around a papule is usually slightly swollen and red
Unlike whiteheads, papules have no visible center. Unlike blackheads, the pores of a papule do not appear to be widened.
Papules develop when whiteheads or blackheads cause so much irritation that they damage some of the surrounding skin. The damage leads to inflammation.
Pustules are larger, tender bumps with a defined circular center. The center is filled with whitish or yellowish pus, and the bump has a pink or red base. Immune cells and bacterial cells collect to form this pus.
Pustules typically look like much larger and more inflamed whiteheads.
Nodules are hard, painful, inflamed lumps located deep within the skin. They look like larger, deeper papules and have no visible center or head.
This type of acne lesion develops when clogged pores damage tissues and cells deep beneath the skin’s surface.
Nodules are a severe form of acne blemish, and they can cause skin complications such as dark spots or scarring.
Cysts are very large, soft, painful, red or white lumps situated deep in the skin. They are filled with pus.
Cysts form deeper within the skin than nodules, and they are the most severe type of acne blemish. Cysts can also cause skin complications, such as scarring.
Knowing the type of acne you have is important in order to determine the severity of the acne thereby being able to be given the appropriate care. With this, it is also determine the difference between acne scars and acne marks.
According to Renee Jacques, a contributor of the HuffPost, there is a major difference between acne marks and acne scars. In her article, How to Prevent and Get Rid of Acne Scars for Good, acne marks are when ‘people with darker skin often see post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — marks that appear brown.
Those with lighter skin often develop post-inflammatory erythema — which show up as purple or red marks’.
Acne scars are much more complicated, and in most cases, have the inability to heal itself. She defines it as ‘deep indentations that are usually caused from picking at a blemish (though not always). They take much longer to remove and and can only be erased with laser treatment.
Atrophic scars appear as indentations in the skin. One type of atrophic scarring commonly seen as a result of acne is often referred to as an “ice pick” scar, which appears more deep than wide. Hypertrophic scars appear as thick, raised bumps on the surface of skin’.
Bottomline, acne marks are hyperpigmentation after the papules have flatten while acne scars are indentations in the skin, much like a crate in the skin. The good news is that acne marks are healable and its healing process is sped up with the aid of treatment options from natural remedies to dermatological facial procedures.
There are tons of article that provide alternatives that are commonly used wherein most of them are effective.
Acne scars are unfortunately have little chance of recovery, especially if the scar has affected most layers of the epidermis. It is important to also identify the type of acne scar you have, which could be any of the following, according to vaseline.us:
Depressed or atrophic scars fall into the following categories:
- Ice Pick Scars
These are deep, narrow (around 2mm wide) scars that look similar to open pores. About 65–70% of atrophic scars are ice pick scars.
- Rolling Scars
These are caused by damage under the skin. There are usually wider than 4–5mm and lead to shadowing on the skin surface. About 15–25% of atrophic scars are rolling scars.
- Boxcar Scars
These are normally round scars, similar to rolling or chicken pox scars. They’re commonly wider at the surface and often compared to craters.
What are the treatment options for acne scars?
Healthline.com suggests a few treatments for acne scars but highly recommends that you see a dermatologist before applying treatments onto the face. The following are some of the at-home treatments the website suggests:
· Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are often found in products made to treat acne since they help to remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores. Even better, AHAs can also help make acne scars appear less noticeable.
The mild acid exfoliates the outer layer of the skin to help remove discoloration and rough skin.
This is best for all types of acne scars. Shop for products containing alpha hydroxy acids.
· Lactic acid
Don’t worry, this one has nothing to with the gym. A small 2010 study found that dermatologist-performed lactic acid peels done once every two weeks for three months improved the texture, appearance, and pigmentation of the skin and lighten acne scars.
This is best for all types of acne scars. Shop for products containing lactic acid.
Topical retinoids are another acne treatment with scar-smoothing benefits. In addition to speeding up your cell regeneration and improving your skin’s texture, retinoids can also help reduce discoloration and make scars less noticeable according to a recent review.
However, they can also make your skin especially sensitive to the sun. Always wear sunscreen daily when using anything that contains retinoids.
You can find creams and serums with retinoids over the counter, but your healthcare provider can also prescribe you higher concentrations. Look for products that list retinol as one of the active ingredients.
This is best for atrophic or depressed scars. Shop for products containing retinol.
· Salicylic acid
Chances are high that you’ve already used salicylic acid to treat your acne in the past. From pads to spot treatments and lotions to face cleansers, it’s in just about every kind of acne treatment these days.
You can add products with salicylic acid into your daily routine or your skin care specialist may use it for less frequent chemical peels.
It might take a few weeks to see a difference when using salicylic acid. It can also cause dryness or irritation. You may need to use the product less often or try spot treating if you have sensitive skin.
This is best for all acne scars. Shop for products containing salicylic acid.
Yes, really. It’s vital to wear sunscreen every day over scars. Sun exposure can darken scars or make them more noticeable.
Best for all acne scars. Shop for different sunscreens to protect your skin, especially those containing a minimum of 30.
If at-home treatments aren’t your cup of tea, there are in-office procedures that could be performed also, such as:
Dermabrasion is one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scars. While it uses the same general principle as the microdermabrasion kits you can do at home, healthcare providers use a wire brush or a wheel to more deeply exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
Best for: Scars close to the surface like shallow boxcar or rolling scars. However, deeper scars may also become less noticeable.
· Chemical peels
These aren’t the kind of face masks you binge watch your favorite guilty pleasure with. A chemical peel is a strong acid that’s used to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scars.
Some chemical peels are mild enough to be used at home, but your healthcare provider can provide a stronger solution with more dramatic results.
There are many different types of chemical peels, so it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about which one is right for you.
Best for: All types of acne scars, often used for deeper scars.
· Laser resurfacing
Much like a chemical peel and dermabrasion, laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin. This treatment typically has a faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments.
However, you have to keep the area covered with a bandage until it’s completely healed. This treatment is also not a good option for anyone who’s still getting breakouts, and it’s not as effective on darker skin tones.
Best for: All acne scars and lighter skin tones.
Healthcare providers use fillers to fill in acne scars and help even out the skin. The fillers can be made with collagen, your own fat, or a commercial filler. They’re injected under the surface of the skin to help plump up and smooth out depressed scars.
Most fillers last between 6 and 18 months before they need to be redone, but some are permanent.
Best for: Someone with a small number of boxcar or rolling scars.
This newer treatment uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller or hand held “pen” on the surface of the scars. The needles puncture the numbed skin — but don’t go through it like a shot! As the skin heals, it makes collagen.
There’s evidence to suggest that microneedling helps reduce the depth of acne scars, but this treatment can take up to 9 months to see changes according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Outside of the slight fear factor, it’s a safe treatment that works for all skin tones.
Best for: Depressed acne scars.
There are a few different medications that can be injected into raised scars to help soften and flatten them including corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs fluorouracil (5-FU) and interferons. The injections are usually performed as a series with one every few weeks.
Best for: Raised scars.