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Acne and Acne Scarring

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Acne and Acne Scarring

What it is

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Acne is the most common skin condition in the US, affecting 40 million to 50 million Americans. (Source:  AAD). Of individuals aged 11 to 30 years, 80% have some degree of active acne. 1

Interestingly, only 16% of patients with acne seek medical attention and of these, 74% wait more than a year to seek appropriate treatment.

This is significant, because studies have shown a correlation with scar formation as relating to those acne lesions with a time delay of up to 3 years between initial onset and sufficient treatment.

What causes it

Acne is caused by a number of factors, including: “Propionibacterium acnes activity; increased sebum production; androgenic stimulation; follicular hypercornification; lymphocyte, macrophage, and neutrophil inflammatory response; and cytokine activation.”2

What it looks like

The most damaging outcome of acne is scarring.  Acne scar formation is generally categorized as either the loss or damage of tissue or increased tissue formation. Scarring is most frequently associated with grades III and IV acne, and as a result of patient excoriation.

How to treat it

Acne treatments range from treating the active acne to treating any resulting acne scarring, and vary depending on the grade of acne being treated. Acne Simplex (grades I and II) can often be cleared more easily with daily use of topical antibacterial agents such as retinoids, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Acne Vulgaris (grades III and IV) can take 12 to 18 months and may require topical or oral antibiotics in addition to the topical OTC therapies mentioned.

Treatment of acne scars falls into four major categories:

  • treatments for altering the color of the acne mark or scar;
  • excisional and incisional surgery, including most punch techniques;
  • augmentation by autologous and nonautologous methods; and
  • treatments for increasing or decreasing collagen deposition around the scar. 3

PCA SKIN® product options for treatment include: BPO 5% Cleanser, Blemish Control Bar, Acne Cream, Acne Gel, A&C Synergy Serum®, Intensive Clarity Treatment: 0.5% pure retinol night, Retinol Renewal with RestorAtive Complex and Weightless Protection SPF 45.


1 & 2 Acne scarring: A review and current treatment modalities.  Albert E. Rivera, DO.  Journal for the American Academy of Dermatology, October 2008, 659-676.

3 Clinical Procedures in Laser Skin Rejuvenation.  Paul J. Carniol and Neil S. Sadick, 2007, p 91.
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