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Inflammatory Acne Scarring vs. Post Hyper-pigmentation: Best Treatment Interventions
Written by Amanda Beisel   

For most of us, our teenage years share one common denominator - acne. It’s the inescapable plague that haunts young adults during their most formative years. Acne can be a very difficult skin issue to treat and comes with a lot of emotional turmoil. Even when the war is over and the skin is clear, the scars of the battle remain.

Being fortunate enough to make it through your teens with a minimal amount of pimples doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe. A growing number of people these days are experiencing the frustration of adult onset acne. The struggles are all the same and, again, the scars remain long after the acne has faded away.

Treating acne scarring can be as challenging as treating the acne itself. The severity of the scarring depends on various factors from genetics to the grade of the acne experienced - as well as the topical and internal care provided along with how quickly the treatment intervention occurred.

It is important to note the distinction between acne scarring and post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.

Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation is not Scarring

PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyper-Pigmentation) is not acne scarring. PIH is a color change in the skin - that unsightly dark mark left over after a breakout. The healing process for PIH requires patience as it will gradually fade over many months. PIH occurs due to the skins inflammatory process and the darker the spot, the longer the healing time.

Generally PIH will fade unassisted over a period of 3-12 months, but you can speed this process with topical care.

The best topical treatment for PIH is Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, a vitamin A serum, and gentle skin lighteners. Of the utmost importance is that you are wearing a physical sunblock every day and minimizing your sun exposure, as UV rays will darken the areas of abnormal discoloration.

Acne Scarring: Atrophic and Hypertrophic

The severity of acne scarring ranges from mild to severe. Acne scars are most commonly atrophic, which means they leave an indentation in the skin often referred to as a “pock mark”.

Less common is hypertrophic scarring, which is due to excessive scar tissue and this presents as a keloid.

Acne scars result when skin follicles become blocked by excessive oil, and the physiology of keratin combined with old skin cells triggers an inflammatory response reaction. The skin will attempt to heal and the scar tissue results as the collagen becomes deformed and thickens. Acne scars are categorized as being “ice- pick”, “rolling” or “boxcar .” Ice pick scars are the most difficult to treat while rolling scars respond the best to treatment.

The Solution to Acne Scarring: Dermapen Micro-Needling

The Dermapen Micro Needling treatment improves the appearance of atrophic acne scars and surgical scars. The micro needles of the Dermapen cause new collagen and elastin to be generated and deposited in the areas of the scar. An added bonus is that you are not only decreasing the appearance of scars, but are also addressing and delaying the signs of aging simultaneously. The physical nature of “skin needling” breaks up this fibrous and uneven scar tissue and stimulates the growth of new tissue resulting in a smoother and more even skin surface. Also, there is the added benefit of new capillary growth, which improves the blood supply to the area providing a healthy foundation for the new skin.

There are ablative, sub-ablative, and non-ablative treatments such as Fraxel and CO2 lasers; however, these treatments can include some negative side effects due to the intense heat used. These treatments can damage the epidermis and evaporate the skin, leading to a thinner epidermis. While they are often safe for very light skin types, they can pose a high risk for those with darker skin tones. The main risk for dark skin types is PIH, which is darkening of the skin, as well as hypo-pigmentation which is loss of pigment.

The Dermapen Micro Needling treatment keeps the integrity of the epidermis intact making it safe even for the darkest skin types. Additionally, the healing time is very short and there is minimal discomfort. The most important thing to remember is that Dermapen Micro Needling treatments actually improve the health of the skin because they are stimulating natural collagen growth factors and the epidermal growth factor, which slows down thinning of the skin. Our epidermis protects us from the outside world and causing harm to this protective layer compromises our overall health and skin health while accelerating the rate at which our skin ages.

How many treatments?

Your skincare professional will consult on the number of treatments needed as well as what results you can expect based on your individual scarring needs. While each client is different and conditions will vary, the typical treatment regimen will consist of 4-6 treatments.

Proper Home Care

Your skin needs daily topical support every day but even more so when committing to a series of Dermapen Micro Needling treatments. This is because The Dermapen treatments are stimulating the wound healing response and your skin requires a support system for optimal results.

The most important ingredient is vitamin A. Vitamin A will help support the wound healing process that is set in play by the micro needling treatments. Even though your skin appears visibly healed 2-4 days post treatment, there is still healing happening beneath the surface and this healing process requires topical support to effectively heal and re-form new tissue in the area where the scar resides. Not all forms of vitamin A are effective, so consult your skincare provider to learn about the various forms of Vitamin A and which are best suited for your needs.

Skin Boosting Supplements and Vitamin Injections

Healthy nutrition and supplements supply skin cells with the essential building blocks they require to achieve healthy skin. One of the most important vitamins to be supplementing with is the B-Complex. A deficiency in vitamin B can lead to many skin health issues such as acne, dry skin, and skin rashes.

Vitamin B1 boosts circulation in the body and gives your skin a glow. Vitamin B3 helps your skin receive plenty of oxygen, which can help prevent the development of acne, among other benefits. Vitamin B5 also helps to promote faster healing of skin wounds and is most effective when combined with vitamin C. A biotin deficiency can lead to a variety of skin problems including rashes, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and overall itchiness. If you are suffering with chronic skin issues, or even if you are just sick of dealing with a dull and unhealthy complexion, the cause may be a vitamin B deficiency.

The Incredible side effects of Dermapen

Dermapen Micro Needling is the only acne scarring treatment available that is safe, effective, and that simultaneously improves the health of your skin. A series of Dermapen Micro Needling treatments will not only reduce the appearance of acne scarring but will slow down the signs of aging. The Dermapen treatments will slow the formation of lines while softening the appearance of existing ones. You can expect a smoother skin texture and overall brighter skin tone.

Amanda Beisel -

Amanda Beisel is the owner of the award-winning SKN Holistic Rejuvenation Clinic in Yaletown. She is a registered acupuncturist specializing in Cosmetic acupuncture and medical skin needling. Amanda is also the founder of Skin Addix, a natural cosmeceutical line focused on skin restoration. To learn more about SKN Clinic and Skin Addix visit SKNClinic.ca and SkinAddix.com

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