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Is it Possible to Fade Acne Scars?

Having acne is bad and it can be a humiliating experience. But having acne scars long after the acne is gone is a condition that can be even worse than the acne itself. The good news is that acne scarring mostly results from only the most severe form of acne; the type where cysts full of pus actually form beneath the skin and cause extensive damage to the underlying layers.

Scars do fade, and if you've ever cut yourself as a child you know that while it may linger in your memory, the physical appearance doesn't. Blood vessels and collagen eventually return to normal making the scar no longer (or minimally) visible. Most acne damages only the upper layer of skin. When a scar appears in the upper layer of skin, new tissue formation makes it disappear relatively easily.

It's the damage done in the deeper skin layers that can't always be returned to "normal" especially when sweat glands and hair follicles don't grow back. If acne scaring is extreme, laser surgery may help by changing the shape of the scar or its position so that it's less noticeable. There is a trade off to such an extreme measure because it causes additional scarring that can take up to 2 years to fade.

Collagen injections are another option for acne scars. Collagen is injected into the scar where it works to "fill in" the damaged area. It's a relatively painless process, but it's something that must be repeated every 3 to 6 months. A similar option is to take fat from another part of the body and inject it into the acne scar, much like collagen treatments.

Even though most acne scars will fade over time, scarring rarely will ever completely disappear. Most people simply opt to camouflage scarring by using the right shade of make-up. The best advice however, is to prevent acne flare-ups in the first place by practicing proper skin care.

Brian Fong

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