Acne and the scars it leaves behind

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

Anyone who has struggled (or struggles) with acne knows it’s no laughing matter, and it can leave both physical and emotional scars.

Acne is equally painful for the teen with raging hormones who is establishing his or her identity, and the frustrated and embarrassed adult plagued by a condition they feel should be well behind them by now. No matter who you are, living with acne and the scars it leaves is always difficult.

But what is acne exactly?

This skin condition starts when pores become blocked, and oil and dead skin cells are trapped within hair follicles, causing blackheads – this is considered mild acne. Add bacteria to the mix and you get inflammation, and pimples. It is now moderate acne, becoming more severe when it forms cysts and, in very severe cases, it forms extremely painful deep nodules and cysts. Beyond facial acne, it can also affect your neck, chest, back and upper arms.

No one should get to this stage, so it’s important to start treating the problem when it is still mild.

Be proactive!

Early detection of any condition is important, especially so with acne, as you can possibly prevent it developing into a severe problem, or forming scars, with the right intervention. Treatment recommendations include a combination of a professional assessment to see what’s causing the problem – as every situation is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The aesthetic doctor or qualified skincare professional will create a tailor-made treatment programme to ensure best results: a home skin-care routine with products for acne-prone skin, adjustments to your lifestyle, as well as a series of in-clinic treatments to monitor your skin, deep cleanse and to adjust the routine, if necessary, and long-term maintenance.

A word about scarring
Acne scarring often results from severe acne that occurs deep within the skin, but can also arise from superficial inflamed acne, especially if you make matters worse by picking at the problem. Besides scars, you can also be left with dark marks, post-inflammatory hyperpigmention, especially if you have a darker complexion.

The only sure method to prevent or limit the extent of acne scars is to treat acne early in its course for as long as necessary. The more inflammation is prevented or moderated, the more likely that scarring and dark marks can be avoided.

Next week we look at why we get acne.

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