As if acne itself weren’t annoying enough, pimples can leave a long-lasting mark. Acne scars can make a depression or textural change in the surface of your skin, while post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation creates a purple, gray, or brown mark.
Sometimes we may notice that some acne scars might even look like they are getting worse instead of getting better!
There's 3 common causes of why acne scars could be getting worse:
- UV rays
- Picking of skin
- Increased Damage
We’ll elaborate how these could cause acne scars to worsen.
Exposure To UV Rays
We all know that a little bit of sunlight has many benefits like helping our body produce vitamin d and regulating our sleep and wake cycle, but too much exposure to it can also be harmful.
Many people believe that the sun clears skin, but what they’re seeing is the tan darkening the skin around pimples, thus making them stand out less.
UV rays can cause damage in the skin especially during longer exposure times. "UV radiation and sun exposure are more likely to cause scars to discolor or take more time to heal,” says Dr. Lee.
This is because UV exposure triggers production of melanin and can lead to overproduction of melanin from acne.
The sun is at its strongest from 11am to 3pm, so avoid direct sunlight during these hours and wear sunscreen before sun exposure.
Picking At Skin
Who doesn't have the urge to pop a pimple as soon as we notice it?
While it may feel good initially, popping acne can cause trauma and damage to the skin. Pinching the skin around the pimple can increase inflammation and break the cell walls surrounding the infected pore and destroy more of the surrounding collagen. This can increase the chances to long term acne scarring.
The increased inflammation from overly picking at acne can also leave PIH that is darker and may take longer to heal.
Being Too Aggressive – Being too aggressive on your skin as it is trying to heal could worsen acne scars.
This could mean over exfoliating, using too many different treatments at once too soon, or using extraction tools yourself to try to force out every closed comedone. This can cause skin to appear raw and red which may highlight the appearance of already existing scars making them appear worsen temporarily. The biggest concern is that this can create a lot of inflammation in the skin which may lead to a new acne outbreak - and new acne may leave new scars after it's healed.