Acne is a condition that is common and can affect people from their teens throughout adulthood. Acne can lead to severe scarring for reasons that are not fully understood. The severity of scarring is different with each person, sometimes leading to disfiguring and permanent scars. The term "scarring" refers to permanent texture changes in the skin due to damaged collagen from inflammation. Scars are formed at the location of an injury to tissue, which is caused by the bodies inflammatory response to sebum, dead cells and bacteria in the plugged sebaceous follicle.
Some people are more susceptible to acne scarring, suffering from severe inflammatory acne, occurring deep within the skin, or even from more superficial inflamed lesions. Acne scarring is also described by several patients as a discoloration of their skin, even months after the acne lesion has healed.
The life history of acne scarring is not well understood. Some people obtain scars that stay with them for a lifetime with little to no change, whereas others are able to see a degree of remodeling as the acne scars reduce in size over time. Acne scarring can be devastating for people who suffer from it, which can lead to immediate treatment to remove or diminish the scarring effects. It is hard to gauge how extensive and deep the scars will be, or what is the best method to prevent and treat acne scarring before it happens.
There are several different types of acne scarring including; ice pick scarring, atrophic scarring and hypertrophic scarring. Ice pick scars are usually small deep pitted scars with steep jagged edges. Atrophic scars are smaller and soft, and over time change color and reduce in size. Hypertrophic scars are thick and lumpy and sit above the surface of the skin, much more common on the back and chest.
Acne scarring can be treated early in its course, by reducing the amount of inflammation in order to prevent permanent damage. Since the severity of scarring is different with each person, any person who tends to scar easy should be under the care of a dermatologist.