Post-Acne Scarring Impact

acne_scarsAs we all know from our teenage years, acne is one of the most common skin problems.  It affects 90% of the population to some extent during that period of life.

For many, acne remains or becomes a problem even later in life.  According to various reports, 70% of people over 20 admit to acne breakouts at some point after the age of 18, and not necessarily on the face.

As if the acne breakouts are not bad enough, acne scarring, especially on the face, occurs in up to 95% of those who develop acne.  Despite the frequency of acne in the population, very little has been studied about its psychological effects, until now that is.

acne_scars_self-esteemA recent medical study has highlighted the psychosocial impact of acne.  This study involved multiple sites within the United States, and recruited both males and females older than 18 who had varying degrees of acne scarring from mild to severe.

During the study, both independent doctors and the participants themselves rated their acne scars on a 0-4 point scale.  The patients in the study also rated 33 different aspects of how acne scarring impacted their lives on a 7 point scale.

An analysis of the results showed that all patients enrolled were negatively impacted by their facial acne scars and how severe their active acne was during their acute breakouts:

  • 68% felt less happy about their body in general.
  • 72% did not like to have their face touched.
  • 80% felt less confident and less attractive.
  • 85% did not like looking in a mirror.

An analysis of subgroups showed that participants with lighter skin and women were more negatively impacted by acne scars than the general acne scarring population.  In fact, women specifically reported significantly more negative effects when it came to optimism, energy, assertiveness, sexuality and overall confidence.

As a result, women felt that they were less likely to go out socially and to exercise in public.  Understandably, they were also more likely to use cosmetics to cover up their scars.

This study certainly affirms that acne scars have a substantially negative impact on the overall social and psychological well-being of all, but especially women and those with more severe scarring.  These findings also highlight why it is so important to prevent or lessen acne breakouts when they occur so as to prevent the later negative psychosocial effects.

acne-scars-fraxelIn addition, treatments are available for existing acne scars, and I employ them frequently in the course of my work here at Maine Laser Skin Care.  Fraxel Skin Resurfacing is the gold standard for difficult-to-treat and severe acne scarring, and I have had very gratifying results using this technique.

A newer addition to my treatments is using microneedling, which induces new collagen growth to replace scarred tissue on the face and elsewhere on the body.  Dermal fillers also are used for acne scars in selected areas, and have recently been approved by the FDA to correct atrophic acne scars.

If you or someone you know or love has acute acne breakouts that are not responding to usual or over-the-counter therapy, call for a free consultation at (207) 873-2158 and don’t allow scars to develop which will have negative consequences long-term.  Don’t suffer in silence.

If the scars are already present and even from long ago, Maine Laser Skin care has treatments to mitigate and reduce their appearance and negative effects psychosocially.  Positive interventions to improve the appearance of the acne scarred individual can be life enhancing and, to some individuals, even life saving.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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