Getting rid of your spots doesn’t always result in perfect skin. Some of us are left with scars after our acne has cleared up. You might need some extra treatment if you want to eliminate these scars after you’ve dealt with the spots themselves.
How Common Are Acne Scars?
Acne is the most common skin condition in the UK. Around 220,000 of us have scars from this or other skin disorders. Some of us just have a couple of dots of slightly lighter skin that are barely noticeable to other people. However, others will have lots of acne scars that can be very visible.
The most common types of acne scars are:
- Ice Pick Scars, which look like deep puncture marks
- Boxcar Scars, which are larger craters or round depressions in your skin
- Rolling Scars, where there are bands of scar tissue under the skin that make it look uneven or rippling
- Changes in pigmentation, which aren’t usually very noticeable and can improve in time
Why Does Acne Cause Scars
Acne doesn’t always lead to scarring, but it is one of the possible complications. Scars are most likely to form when you have severe acne. Certain types of spots, such as cysts and nodules, are located deeper in the skin so they are more likely to cause permanent damage. Scarring is also more likely if the spots become infected, which often happens after they’ve burst.
If you have spots and you want to reduce the chances of scarring then you should:
- Avoid squeezing or popping your spots
- Use an over the counter product or see a dermatologist if this doesn’t help
- See a dermatologist right away if you have severe acne, deep cysts or nodules, or you’ve already seen some acne scars
How Can Acne Scars Be Treated?
If you aren’t bothered about your acne scars then there is no need to have them removed. The scars are completely harmless, so you can just continue to ignore them. However, if you are worried by your scars then it can be a good idea to consult a dermatologist. It might be possible to improve the appearance of your skin, which could have a dramatic impact on your confidence, mood and self-esteem. Getting rid of that reminder of acne can also help you to change the way you see yourself.
The first step will be to treat your acne if you are still suffering from spots. Getting rid of your acne will stop any more scars from forming. Once this has been done or if you’re already spot free, your dermatologist will probably recommend one of the following options for acne scar treatment:
- Laser Treatment: lasers can be used to remove a small patch of skin so that it grows back smooth or to stimulate collagen production to repair some of the damage. It can be used for mild to moderate acne scars over a large area.
- Dermabrasion: works like an extreme form of exfoliation, removing the scarred top layer of skin so that it can grow back in a better way. Your skin will look red and raw for a few days after the treatment. Dermabrasion works best with fairly shallow scars and can be used across a large area.
- Punch Removal: individual marks such as ice pick and boxcar scars can be surgically removed. Several different techniques can be used to remove mild or severe scars. A small skin graft is sometimes needed to seal the surgical wound.
- Subcision: a surgical treatment for rolling scars that involves removing the upper layer of skin over the scar. The scar tissue will be pushed up as the skin heals, which should make the surface flatter. You might need extra treatment such as laser therapy or dermabrasion to complete the effect.
As well as treating the physical scars, it can also be helpful to talk to someone about the way acne has impacted your life. Many of us have spent months or even years affected by acne or living with the scars that it left behind. Some of us have experienced rude comments, bullying, or other problems linked to our spots. The effects of these experiences can remain with us for even longer than the spots themselves. We can suffer from low self-esteem, self-consciousness, social anxiety, depression or other issues. If you think that your acne is still affecting you, whether or not you have scars, then it can be a good idea to talk to a therapist or psychologist. It can be important to change the way you feel about your history of acne and your current appearance, rather than just to treat the scars themselves.
How Much Does Acne Scar Treatment Cost?
The cost of your acne scar treatment will depend on several different factors, such as the clinic you choose and the type of therapy your dermatologist recommends. You will usually need to visit a private clinic for acne scar treatment in the UK as it is considered a cosmetic procedure. You should also be aware that your health insurance might not cover these kinds of treatments. Make sure that you check your policy before starting treatment.
The clinic should provide a reliable quote for the full course of treatment before you begin so that you can make an informed choice. Typical costs might include:
- Consultation fee of £225-245 for each appointment with the doctor
- Treatment fees of around £250-500 for each session. Some options like surgical treatment will be more expensive. The cost can also be affected by how many scars need to be treated, how deep they are and other factors.
- The total cost is likely to be at least £500 and could be much more if you have very bad scarring or you need a more expensive type of treatment
- The full course of treatment, including all consultation and treatment fees, could cost up to £10,000 in some cases (but it will probably be much less for most people)
Although the cost of acne scar removal can be high, it can be worth it in order to free yourself from embarrassment or low self-esteem. Acne scars can have a big impact on our mood and confidence, so while scar removal is considered a cosmetic treatment it is really about much more than just your appearance.
How do your acne scars affect you?