Updated May 17, 2014.
For the vast majority of people acne is, thankfully, a temporary problem. Unfortunately, acne scars caused by breakouts can be permanent. Scarring results when the skin’s tissue has been damaged. While you may not be able to completely prevent scarring, there are steps you can take to at least minimize the chance of scar development.
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Treat acne as soon as it develops. The most effective way to avoid acne scarring is by preventing acne from developing into a more severe form. Don’t wait to see if acne will go away on its own. Begin treatment right away, and see your doctor if your acne is unresponsive to over-the-counter treatments.
Avoid inflammation, if possible. Inflamed acne lesions are much more likely to cause scars than non-inflamed lesions. Avoid doing anything that may further irritate your skin. This may include aggressive scrubbing, harsh skin care products, etc.
Don’t squeeze, pop, or pick at pimples. Squeezing a pimple can force debris deeper into the follicle, spread infection, and worsen a blemish. When you pick at the skin, it can cause acute inflammation and seriously damage the skin’s tissue. Remind yourself that “popping” that pimple can extend the healing time and may cause a permanent scar. Allow the blemish to heal on its own.
Know if you are prone to scarring. The tendency to scar varies from person to person. If you are highly prone to scarring, you should see your doctor right away to discuss treatment options. He or she can help you with a treatment plan to help minimize the chances of scarring.
See your doctor if you experience large, deep breakouts, or cysts. Deep nodules or cysts often leave deep, permanent scars as the infection destroys skin tissue. A doctor must treat acne of this severity. Quick, effective treatment can help lessen the chance of developing deep scars.