Early, appropriate treatment of pimples is best to minimise or prevent acne scars, a major concern of teens with acne.
Most studies on acne and its effects on the teen age population point out that the prospect of scarring is the primary concern of a patient with acne.
Healthcare Implications of Scarring Caused by Pimples
There is a wide variation in results in studies about the occurrence of scarring in acne patients. Goodman, in 2000, reported 11% of males and 14% of females with acne had scars as assessed by the dermatologists treating them. A survey conducted in 2001 in France among female patients by Poli F et al revealed that 49% of patients thought they had scarring from acne.
In the extreme end of the spectrum, Layton et al studied 185 patients in 1994 and found that almost 95% of patients in their study had some degree of acne scarring. They also noted that body acne caused scarring in males more often than females. Another important inference from their study was that the severity of acne scars was related to the delay in taking treatment after the onset of acne eruptions.
It would be interesting to analyse why an acne sufferer would approach a doctor for the treatment of acne scars in the first place. There are two main reasons why an individual would seek treatment for his/her acne scar problem.
Cosmetological reasons. Removing scars or at least changing the appearance of scars so that it becomes less visible is the main reason a patient would seek out treatment for the acne scars. It is always wise to keep a realistic expectation, though, so as to avoid future disappointments.
Psychological reasons. Recurrent acne eruptions and the resultant blemishes and scars could be emotionally upsetting to any teenager. At times the psychological impact may be disproportional to the extent of the acne scars themselves. Depressive illness and anxiety coupled with a loss of confidence creates an inferiority complex and self imposed social isolation in a number of acne scar sufferers. In such cases, proper counselling should be included as part of the acne treatment protocols.
Why Prevention is Better than Cure in Acne Scars
An update from the global alliance of dermatologists to improve outcomes in acne management published as a supplement to the May 2009 issue of the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology reached the consensus opinion that ‘Early, appropriate treatment is best to minimise the potential for acne scars’. The authors, headed by Diane Thiboutot from the department of dermatology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and Harald Gollnick from the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg recommended the acne treatment be continued as long as necessary to prevent acne scars.
The above study conducted by dermatologists from across the globe links two modifiable key factors to the formation of acne scars:
- Time delay between onset of acne and starting effective and appropriate treatment according to the specific type of acne. The longer the delay to get the most appropriate treatment, more the chances of getting irreversible acne scars. This is a warning to those teenagers who do not take the initial outbreak of acne seriously and resort to home remedies and OTC treatments for their pimples till it is too late to prevent the damage.
- The extent and duration of inflammation caused by acne breaks before these are controlled. More the inflammatory reaction and the longer it is allowed to damage the facial dermal layer, the deeper and larger will be the resultant acne scars.
In some acne affected teens, progression to scarring despite conventional treatments has been cited as a primary rationale for early institution of oral isotretinoin.
The unfortunate fact is that, whatever mode of therapy is instituted for the treatment of acne scars, it is virtually impossible to get back the normal consistency and appearance of the skin as compared to the pre-acne state.
Hence it is always wise and cost effective to prevent the acne scar formation by taking appropriate effective medications to treat the acne right from the initial stages of the disease activity.
Acne Scars Prevention: Related Articles
- Acne Scar Causes
- Types of Acne Scars
- How to Get Rid of Acne Scars
- Acne Scars: Medical or Non Surgical Treatment
- Acne Scar Removal: Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment
- Laser Treatment for Acne Scars
- How to Get Rid of Acne Blemishes
- Acne Scar: FAQ
- All About Different Types of Acne and their Treatment
The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available for diagnosis and treatment of common skin, hair and nail diseases. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your dermatologist. If you do so, the author will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and should not be reproduced without the consent of the author.
About the Author of Skin Care Tips from Dermatologist: Dr Hanish Babu, MD
Dr Hanish Babu, MD is a dermatologist with more than 3 decades of experience in treating skin and sexually transmitted diseases in UAE and India. He has been practicing in UAE since last 22 years. He is a respected speaker during the Continuing Medical education Programmes for doctors, medical students and paramedical staff and is also a Stress Management Trainer. He organises group therapy sessions for patients with psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo.
He is available for consultation at Cosmolaser Medical Centre in Samnan, Sharjah (06 5678 200) from 9 am – 1 pm and at City Medical Centre, Al Bustan, Ajman (06-7 441 882) from 4.30 pm – 9.30 pm.
Visit his personal website dr-hanishbabu.com for more details and for educational articles on Skin, hair, nail and sexually transmitted diseases. Click here to Book an Appointment with dermatologist Dr Hanish Babu, MD