After experiencing severe acne in my 20s, I was prescribed a course of acne medication, Roaccutane. The reported side effects, such as depression and extremely dry skin, meant it wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but it did significantly clear up my skin.
While I didn’t experience many symptoms, I didn’t expect to be left with so many red pigmentation marks and pitted scars once the acne was gone – or just how much they would knock my confidence, like the acne itself.
Six months post-acne, I tried various gadgets and skincare ingredients, such as Neutrogena’s Light Therapy Mask and numerous acid exfoliators. While I’m certain these products and tools helped, they didn’t lead to an overnight transformation. Acne scars, especially pitted versions, are difficult to treat.
According to experts there are numerous types. ‘Ice pick scars’ are deep, narrow pitted scars that tend to occur on the forehead or mid to upper cheeks. ‘Rolling scars’ are broader and typically have slanted edges that make skin appear dappled, and ‘boxcar scars’ are wider with defined edges giving skin a hole-like appearance. That’s before we get on to the skin staining, discolouration or post-inflammatory pigmentation – something I also experienced.
Patience is one factor when it comes to fading scarring (pitted acne scarring especially) but London-based consultant dermatologist, Dr Justine Kluk hits home the importance of making sure that your acne is completely switched off before even considering treatment. “This is because you could aggravate the spots and make scarring worse,” she advised. And there are some things she would suggest avoiding entirely for a while. “I would strongly advise against needling, dermabrasion and laser treatments for six to 12 months after bringing acne under control.”
At my final hospital appointment, I asked the doctor in the dermatology …read more