How to Fade Acne Scars or Pimple Scars
Acne is not dangerous, but can leave skin or pimple scars. These scars will often leave ugly marks on the skin, especially on the face, long after the puberty and teenage years if one doesn’t know how to fade acne scars.
Acne is medically known as Acne Vulgaris
It is a skin disease that involves the oil glands at the base of hair follicles. It commonly occurs during puberty when the sebaceous or oil glands become severely active. The glands are stimulated by the adrenal glands of both males and females.
Human skin has pores that connect to oil glands located under the skin. The glands are connected to the pores through the follicles or small canals. These glands produce Sebum, an oily liquid. The sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. A small hair grows through the follicle out of the skin. Acne or pimples grow when these follicles get blocked, resulting in an accumulation of oil under the skin.
In simpler terms, skin cells, sebum and hair can clump together into a plug, this plug gets infected with bacteria, resulting in a swelling. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down.
The word acne comes from the Greek word acme meaning “the highest point” or “highest spot.” It was originally misspelt with an ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’ in 1835.
Acne and pimples tend to appear on the face, back, chest, shoulders and neck.
There are various types of acne or pimples:
Whiteheads – remains under the skin and are very small.
Blackheads – clearly visible, they are black and appear on the surface of the skin. A blackhead is not caused by dirt. Scrubbing your face vigorously when you see blackheads will not help.
Papules – visible on the surface of the skin; they are small bumps, usually pink.
Pustules – clearly visible on the surface of the skin and are red at the base and have pus at the top.
Nobules – clearly visible on the surface of the skin and are large, solid pimples. They are painful and are embedded deep in the skin.
Cysts – clearly visible on the surface of the skin; are painful and filled with pus. Cysts can easily cause pimple scars.
How common is acne?
Dermatologists say that approximately three-quarters of those aged from 11 to 30 years will get acne at some time. Acne can affect people of all races and all ages. It most commonly affects adolescents and young adults. Approximately 17 million Americans are estimated to have acne at any one time.
Although acne affects both men and women, young men suffer from acne longer because of testosterone, which is present in higher quantities in young men, can make acne worse.
What really causes acne?
Medical Science isn’t completely sure what causes it. Experts believe the primary cause is a rise in androgen hormone levels. Androgen levels rise when a human becomes an adolescent. Rising androgen levels make the oil glands under your skin grow; the enlarged gland produces more oil.
Some studies indicate that susceptibility to acne could also be genetic. Some medications or cosmetics that contain androgen and lithium may cause acne.
How acne is treated may depend on how severe and persistent it is.
The majority of people who get acne will develop mild acne. This can usually be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) natural acne scar treatment medications. These can be bought at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription and applied as topical medicines.
Most acne OTC products may contain the following active ingredients:
Resorcinol – helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. It is a crystalline phenol and comes from various resins. Resorcinol is also used for treating dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.
Benzoyl Peroxide – kills bacteria and slows down your gland production of oil. It is a white crystalline peroxide used in bleaching and as a catalyst for free radical reactions. It works as a peeling agent, accelerating skin turnover and clearing pores, which in turn reduces the bacterial count in the affected area to lighten acne scars.
Salicylic Acid – helps break down blackheads and whiteheads, also reduces shedding of cells which line the follicles of the oil glands, effective in treating inflammation and swelling. It is a white crystalline substance that causes the epidermis to shed skin more easily, prevents pores from becoming blocked while at the same time allowing room for new cells to grow. It is commonly added to shampoos used for treating dandruff.
Sulfur – helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. It is a yellow crystalline solid used for centuries for treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Elemental sulfur oxidizes slowly to sulfurous acid which is a mild reducing and antibacterial agent.
Retin-A – helps unplug blocked pores; contains Tretinoin, a vitamin A acid. Tretinoin is also used for the treatment of acute leukemia. Retin-A has been used widely to combat aging of the skin and also acts as a chemical peel.
Azelaic Acid – strengthens cells that line the follicles, stops oil eruptions, and reduces bacteria growth. It is a saturated carboxylic acid found naturally in wheat, rye, and barley. Azelaic acid also mops up free radicals, which reduces inflammation.
In methods on how to reduce acne scars, acne medications come in forms of gels, soaps, pads, creams and lotions. For sensitive skin, cream is medically preferable. Gels, which are usually alcohol based, are better for people with oily skin.
Since acne medications will have ingredients in different concentrations, it is advisable to start with the lowest strengths. You may experience skin irritation, redness, or burning when you first try them. These side effects usually go away after continued use.