Boxcar scars are also called pockmarks or craters. Even though they don’t hurt you physically, they can make you feel bad about yourself and cause stress, especially if they show up on your face.
This article explains what boxcar scars are, why they happen, and how to get rid of boxcar scars.
What Are Boxcar Scars?
A boxcar scar is a round or oval depression left in your skin after some types of acne heal. Some boxcar scars are red or dark brown, but others are the same color as the skin around them.
Boxcar scars are atrophic, which means that the skin didn’t go back to how it looked before. Experts don’t know why some people get atrophic scars and others don’t. Even mild acne seems to make some people more likely to get flat (atrophic) scars, while others may get raised (keloid) scars. Still, some don’t scar at all.
Most boxcar scars are caused by cystic or nodule acne, which causes hard cysts to form under the skin that hurt. When this kind of acne clears up, it seems like your skin has a harder time replacing the collagen it lost. Collagen is what gives your skin a “plump” look, so when it breaks down, it can leave dents or depressions.
How do they form?
Boxcar scars are caused by cuts and inflammation on the skin, which can happen when you have severe acne like cystic acne.
When the skin heals from a bad case of inflammatory acne, it forms scar tissue that isn’t neat or even. This looks like a depression in the tissue of the skin.
How can we prevent boxcar scars?
One of the best ways to avoid getting boxcar scars is to have as few inflammatory acne lesions as possible. This is because inflammation that goes deep makes it more likely that atrophic scars and deep scars will form. Boxcar scars happen when the top layer of skin is hurt very badly, which stops collagen from being made.
The second most important thing you can do to avoid boxcar scars is to not pick or squeeze your pimples. This is so you don’t hurt your skin any more, which could cause more swelling and scarring.
Some parts of the face, like the cheeks and temples, tend to get boxcar scars. Because of this, it is very important to treat acne in these parts of the face quickly and strongly.
How To Get Rid Of Boxcar Scars
Most of the time, acne scars won’t go away on their own. There are several ways to make atrophic scars less noticeable, such as:
This is done by gently sanding off or removing the dead cells from the top layer of your skin. It might make your skin make more collagen, but it only works to get rid of boxcar scars that aren’t too deep.
Dermabrasion is a deeper version of the same treatment that takes off the whole top layer of your skin, including skin cells that are still alive. It might help scars look better, but it makes your skin red, sore, and sensitive to the sun.
3. Chemical peels
Chemicals are used in these treatments to remove the top layer of skin to help healthy skin grow. Chemical peels can be light, medium, or deep. However, for acne scars, most doctors only recommend light and medium peels. If it’s not done by a trained doctor, a chemical peel can make your skin red, hurt, and flake.
Microneedling hurts the skin in the scar, just like chemical peels and dermabrasion. The scarred skin will be poked with a tool that has tiny needles. Your skin makes more collagen and repairs the damage.
A filler is an injection that fills in the depression in a scar. Fillers can be put in a scar for a short time, for a longer time, or for good. Temporary fillers may help your body make more collagen in the area, which can make the scar look better even after they wear off.
6. The use of lasers
A doctor uses targeted pulses of light energy in this treatment to help your skin heal and make collagen. The top layer of your skin is hurt by ablative lasers, which are used to fix it. Ablative lasers are some of the most effective ways to treat acne scars, but they can cause redness and itching, which can be uncomfortable. Lasers that don’t cut the skin are used to target areas below the top layer. Non-ablative lasers don’t hurt as much, but they don’t work as well either.
7. Punch excision
Punch excision can be used to get rid of boxcar scars completely. A small tool is used to get rid of the scar, which is then bandaged up like a small cut. This treatment works best for people who have a small number of small scars.
Preventing Boxcar Scars
The easiest way to avoid getting boxcar scars is to get rid of cystic acne before it scars. When cystic acne heals, scarring is more likely the longer it goes without treatment.
Unlike other types of acne, cystic and nodular acne often can’t be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Instead, they need to be treated by a doctor. Since cysts and nodules form deep under the skin, over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments don’t get to the root of the problem.
Talk to your doctor about how to treat you. They might offer choices like:
- Topical prescription medicines to dry out the cysts
- Retinoids, which are strong derivatives of vitamin A, are used to open up hair follicles.
- Antibiotics to treat a buildup of bacteria that cause acne
- Last, don’t pick at any kind of acne. When you pop a pimple, it opens up and becomes a wound instead of a bump. Scars are more likely to form on open wounds, especially if they are bigger.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you want to improve your chances of getting rid of acne scars, you should see a doctor or dermatologist as soon as you notice acne or acne scars.
There are a lot of different treatments, and each one has its own pros and cons.
Often, it’s also important to use more than one type of treatment at the same time to get rid of acne scars.
To get good results, you also need to go to more than one treatment session.
In general, if you treat your scars when you are younger, you will get better results than if you treat them when you are older.
Talk to a doctor who is an expert in acne scars to find out what your best options are early on.