The pimple or breakout has finally cleared up. But what are you left with? Scarring. On one hand, you’re happy the painful bump is gone but why does there have to be proof that something was there? So let’s delve into why scarring occurs and how to treat it.
Though the area of the skin where the pimple was is described as a scar, it is actually not a scar if under a year old. The discoloration or red mark is described as a post-inflammatory change, part of the healing cycle that can take the skin 6-12 months to heal from. As long as no more breakouts surface in that area, the scar will diminish within a year. If the scar is there longer than a year, it is then
described as a permanent scar.
Almost everybody has heard the advice, “Don’t pick your pimples. It’ll cause scarring.” It’s true! As hard as it is not to pick or pop those pesky pimples or scabs, DON’T! You’re not doing yourself any favors by futzing with your pimples so leave them alone. In addition to scarring, picking at your breakouts will lead to more breakouts. When you break open the pimple, the infection can leak and spread to other areas around the affected area.
During the six to twelve months that the red mark is healing, there are things you can do to prevent the mark from taking longer to heal or becoming permanent:
– Avoid being in the sun unless using sunscreen. Unprotected exposure will delay the healing process.
– Tretinoin-related products (like Retin-A) will help speed up the healing process, minimizing scarring. These products are also known to prevent new breakouts from occurring as well.
– Microdermabrasion treatments done by your dermatologist or using a gentle exfoliating cleanser will remove cellular build-up and make room for new skin to re-surface.
Laser resurfacing has been quite effective in reducing temporary and permanent scarring. Lasers work by burning the top layers of skin to a certain level. The new skin then replaces the old burned skin, looking renewed and less scarred. It is known to be a bit painful, but many patients have been very happy with this procedure. Post-surgery care of the skin is essential and patients need to follow the proper guidelines so the skin heals properly. Discuss with your dermatologist if this is a procedure you should look into.