Acne Scarring: Causes, Treatments, and Phyla's Role

Acne scars can be a frustrating reminder of past breakouts. While acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages and skin types, not everyone who experiences acne will develop scarring. However, for those who do, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process to treat. In this blog post, we'll talk about skincare products that can make acne scars worse, how to treat acne scars, and how Phyla can help prevent acne scars. 

Acne Scarring 101

Acne scarring occurs when the skin is damaged during the healing process of an acne lesion. Acne scars are a result of the skin's natural healing process being disrupted, causing an overproduction or loss of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin.

When an acne lesion is deep or inflamed, it can cause damage to the surrounding skin tissue. This can result in the formation of acne scars. In addition, picking or popping pimples can also cause damage to the skin, which can lead to scarring. When the skin is injured, the body produces collagen to help repair the damage. However, if too much collagen is produced, it can lead to the formation of raised or hypertrophic scars. On the other hand, a loss of collagen can cause the skin to appear depressed or pitted. 

In some cases, acne scarring can also cause hyperpigmentation, which is when the skin appears darker than the surrounding skin. This can occur when the body produces too much melanin in response to the injury. Hyperpigmentation can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the scarring.

Picking + Acne Scarring

Picking at your skin can have various negative effects on your skin's health, including acne scarring. Here's an in-depth look at how picking at your skin can lead to acne scarring:


1. Introduction of bacteria and dirt: When you pick at a pimple, you are introducing bacteria and dirt from your hands onto your face, which can lead to further inflammation and acne. Your hands come into contact with countless surfaces and objects throughout the day, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. When you touch your face with your hands, you transfer that bacteria to your skin, which can cause more acne breakouts. The bacteria can also increase the risk of infection, which can lead to scarring.

2. Damage to the skin: Picking at a pimple can cause damage to the skin around the lesion. This damage can include tearing or stretching of the skin, which can lead to scarring. The skin can also be punctured or scraped, which can cause the body to produce more collagen than necessary. This overproduction of collagen can lead to raised or hypertrophic scars.

3. Hyperpigmentation: Picking at a pimple can also lead to hyperpigmentation, which is when the skin becomes darker in the area where the pimple once was. This occurs because picking can damage the skin's melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment. The damage can cause an overproduction or underproduction of melanin, resulting in darker or lighter spots on the skin.

To prevent acne scarring, it's important to avoid picking at your skin altogether. Instead, try distracting yourself with other activities such as reading a book, going for a walk, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.

Sun Exposure + Acne Scarring

Sun exposure has both positive and negative effects on our skin's health. A little bit of sun exposure can be beneficial for our state of mind, as it boosts our mood and helps us produce vitamin D. However, overexposure to the sun's UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation and exacerbate the scarring process.

When the skin is exposed to UV rays, it triggers the production of melanin, which is the pigment that gives our skin its color. While this is a natural defense mechanism to protect our skin from further damage, it can cause hyperpigmentation in areas where acne scars are present. This makes the scars more noticeable and can be frustrating for those who are trying to minimize their appearance.

Moreover, sun exposure can cause damage to the skin's collagen fibers, which play a crucial role in maintaining the skin's elasticity and firmness. When collagen fibers are damaged, the skin becomes less resilient and more prone to scarring. This damage can lead to discoloration, thickening, and the formation of new scars.

Using sunscreen or sun protection is one of the best ways to mitigate the risks associated with sun exposure as it protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and can help prevent acne scars from becoming more noticeable.

Skincare Products That Can Make Acne Scars Worse

While there are many products that can help fade acne scars, there are also some that can make them worse.

1. Scrubs and Exfoliants: While exfoliating in moderation can help to remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover, using a scrub or exfoliant that's too harsh or using one too often can damage your skin barrier. This can cause inflammation and exacerbate the appearance of acne scars.

2. Fragranced Products: Fragrances can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin, particularly in those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. Acne scarring is a result of inflammation and damage to the skin caused by acne. Using skincare products with fragrances can further irritate and inflame the skin, making acne scarring more noticeable and potentially exacerbating the underlying acne condition.

Additionally, fragrances are considered to be one of the top allergens in skincare products, and can cause allergic reactions such as itching, redness, and swelling. This can further damage the skin and delay the healing process of acne scars. Therefore, it is generally recommended to avoid fragranced skincare products when dealing with acne scarring, and opt for fragrance-free or unscented products instead. This is why all of Phyla’s products are intentionally formulated without fragrance. 

3. Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is a chemical compound commonly used in skin lightening products to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin. Hydroquinone is available in both over-the-counter and prescription-strength formulations.

While hydroquinone can be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation, it is important to note that it can also irritate and sensitize the skin. This can worsen the appearance of acne scars and make them more visible. Additionally, some people may experience an allergic reaction to hydroquinone, which can cause redness, itching, and other skin irritations. We recommend avoiding it for these reasons.

4. Harsh Cleansers: Harsh cleansers can cause irritation and dryness, which can impede the healing process of acne scars. When the skin is dry and irritated, it is less able to repair itself and may take longer for acne scars to fade. Additionally, harsh cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can lead to further inflammation and exacerbation of acne scars.

To avoid these negative effects, it is important to choose a gentle cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. Look for cleansers that are free of harsh chemicals and fragrances, and that contain ingredients like glycerin or sorbitol, which can help to hydrate and soothe the skin.

It is also important to avoid over-cleansing the skin, as this can lead to further irritation and dryness. Instead, aim to wash your face no more than twice per day, and use lukewarm water rather than hot water, which can further dry out the skin.

5. Benzoyl Peroxide: When it comes to healing acne scars, benzoyl peroxide is not the best choice. One reason is that benzoyl peroxide can be quite drying and irritating to the skin, which can make acne scars appear worse. In addition, benzoyl peroxide can actually bleach the skin, which can make the scars appear more prominent.

Treating Acne Scars

Acne scars can be challenging to treat, which is why prevention is key. Developing a consistent skincare routine is essential, as it can help prevent breakouts and reduce the risk of scarring. The basics of a good skincare routine include cleansing, hydrating, and moisturizing.

In addition to a basic skincare routine, there are several skincare ingredients that can help fade acne scars and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Here are a few examples:

1. Niacinamide: This is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation and improve skin texture. Niacinamide can also help regulate sebum production, which can help prevent future breakouts that can lead to scarring.

2. Vitamin C: This potent antioxidant can help brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C also promotes collagen production, which can improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.

3. Bakuchiol: This natural alternative to retinol is known for its ability to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Bakuchiol has also been shown to improve hyperpigmentation and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Other ingredients that can help fade acne scars include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, which can help exfoliate the skin and improve its texture. Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid, can also help improve the appearance of acne scars by exfoliating the skin and unclogging pores.

It's important  to keep in mind that although these ingredients can aid in reducing acne scars, their effectiveness may require some time to become evident, and it's crucial to use them consistently. If you're planning to add a treatment serum to your Phyla skincare routine, it's recommended that you apply your Phortify Serum first and give it 3 minutes to absorb before using your acne scar treatment.

Embrace Your Skin

Acne scarring can be frustrating, and it's easy to become fixated on the scars, which can negatively impact self-esteem and confidence. However, it's essential to remember that acne scars are a natural part of the skin's healing process and that everyone's skin is unique.

Instead of focusing on the scars, it's important to focus on the positive aspects of your skin. Everyone has unique features that make them beautiful, and acne scars don't define who you are. By embracing your skin and focusing on its positive attributes, you can boost your self-esteem and feel more confident in your skin.

Remember, beauty comes from within, and embracing your skin's uniqueness is the first step towards feeling confident and beautiful.

Phyla’s Role In Acne Scarring

At Phyla, we believe in preventing acne before it can lead to scarring. The Phortify Serum is formulated with billions of bacteriophages in each bottle to balance the skin's microbiome and reduce the likelihood of acne breakouts.

It's important to note that while products like the Phortify Serum can help prevent acne breakouts and reduce the likelihood of scarring, it may not be effective in treating existing scars. 

While there's no magic cure for acne scarring, there are many ways to prevent and treat acne scars. Developing a consistent skincare routine, using nourishing products, and protecting your skin from overexposure to the sun are all effective ways to reduce the appearance of acne scars over time.

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