Battling acne is a journey many of us undergo, but what often remains overlooked is the aftermath: scars, hyperpigmentation, and erythema. While these might seem daunting, renowned dermatologist Dr. Simon Ourian shares his insights into understanding and treating these lingering skin issues.
Deciphering Acne Scars with Dr. Simon Ourian
Acne scars aren’t simply a single kind of mark left on the skin. “Acne scars can manifest as rolling, boxcar, or ice-pick scars,” explains Dr. Ourian. It’s essential to understand the type and depth of scar you’re dealing with to effectively treat it.
Additionally, Dr. Ourian cautions those with darker skin tones about keloid scarring. Such scars may react adversely to treatments that rely on inducing mild skin trauma, like microneedling or chemical peels. In these cases, it’s advised to seek professional guidance for targeted treatments.
Differentiating Scars, Hyperpigmentation, and Erythema
While all three can stem from acne, they’re distinct issues and must be treated as such. Dr. Ourian simplifies it: think of scars as textural changes and hyperpigmentation and erythema as tonal changes.
“Acne scars generally develop in the dermis, stemming from inflammation caused by the acne,” he explains. In contrast, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation isn’t true scarring but rather skin pigmentation due to trauma.
Dr. Ourian’s Recommended Treatments for Acne Scars
- Microneedling: Dr. Ourian believes microneedling, when done by professionals, is highly effective against scarring. The technique induces skin renewal, promoting collagen and elastin production.
- Peels: For milder scars, Dr. Ourian recommends chemical peels. The new generation of at-home peels can also be beneficial, provided they’re used correctly.
- Coolaser® and Neustem™: For severe scarring, Dr. Simon Ourian opts for his powerful combination of Epione-exclusive laser treatment and dermal fillers.
Addressing Post-Acne Hyperpigmentation
- Vitamin C: “Vitamin C doesn’t just brighten the skin; it stimulates collagen production and helps tackle existing pigmentation,” says Dr. Ourian.
- Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHAs): AHAs, such as glycolic and lactic acid, expedite skin exfoliation, revealing a brighter complexion underneath.
- Retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives increase cell turnover rates, thus fading hyperpigmentation. While prescription-strength retinoids are potent, many over-the-counter brands offer effective alternatives.
Tackling Post-Acne Erythema
Erythema, according to Dr. Ourian, requires a gentler approach. The key is to keep the skin calm.
- Calming Ingredients: Ingredients like niacinamide and propolis have anti-inflammatory properties beneficial for erythema.
- Tranexamic Acid: An excellent dual-action ingredient with anti-inflammatory and anti-pigmentation properties.
- Light and Laser Treatments: Once the acne is under control, Dr. Ourian suggests laser treatments to address persistent erythema. “Laser devices targeting the red pigment in blood can be highly effective,” he notes, adding that advancements now allow for safe treatments on darker skin tones too.
Dr. Simon Ourian emphasizes the importance of understanding your skin’s needs and seeking treatments tailored to them. With knowledge and the right approach, clear, radiant skin is within reach.