Everyone has probably dealt with acne at one point in their lives. Acne is stubborn and tough to get rid of, and you may feel victorious after you've finally managed to get your acne under control. However, the side effect of acne that not many people talk about are the scars that acne leaves behind. But don't worry, there are many different ways to treat acne scars. If you want to treat your acne scars, here are treatments that work!
What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scars can appear due to the damage caused by acne. Acne tends to leave behind texture changes, dark marks, and redness. Depending on the type of scar, it may remain there for several months, or even years.
Treating and getting rid of acne scars is not that easy but don’t fret as you’re not alone in that journey. Acne can be due to a lot of factors which include (but not limited to) hormonal imbalances in our body, problems with digestion, or another underlying health condition. Sometimes the skin damage caused by acne can leave an acne scar behind.
Types Of Acne Scars
Dealing with acne is only half the battle as an inflamed blemish will stretch our collagen fibers over time and which can lead to long term damage on our skin’s surface. This damage may leave textured acne scars, or dark marks.
The common types of acne scars are
- Rolling scars
- Ice pick scars
- Boxcar scars
Hyperpigmention are the dark spots and discoloration which can range from shades of black, brown, purple, and red. Boxcar scars are shallow with a strong straight and defined edge. Rolling scars are depressed scars with less of a defined edge or ridge, and ice pick scars are deep and narrow. If you have keloid scars, it's best to see a skincare professional to help treat keloids as they are tricky to treat.
Acne scars can leave a serious impact on one’s self-confidence. It’s hard to look beyond the discoloration and uneven texture after having acne scars, but no worries, there are several methods for getting rid of acne scars.
Acne Marks Versus Acne Scars
What's the difference between acne marks and acne scars? Acne marks refer to the discoloration or dark spots from post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can fade on their own although it can take several months and years, even. Whereas acne scars are a result of texture change that can be raised or indented that are permanent without treatment.
Top ways to get rid of acne scars
Type of scar: rolling scars, boxcar, ice pick scars, and hyperpigmentation.
Microneedling is an acne scar treatment that uses very fine needles to prick the skin. Its purpose is to break down the scar tissue and promote the generation of new collagen, which is the foundation of skin to push the old damaged skin out and fill in acne scars over time. Don't microneedle over active pimples. The great thing about microneedling is that it less invasive compared to laser acne scars treatments and the results are permanent!
Microneedling can get rid of acne scars fast and is great for indented or pitted acne scars. Microneedling is also recommended to improving wrinkles and hyperpigmentation too. Microneedling promotes the absorption of topical products so be careful of what products you apply onto the skin after microneedlingle.
For an at-home treatment, you use smaller needle sizes like the Banisher 2.0 that can be done once a week or once every other week and they provide a natural Vitamin C Serum designed to be used with it for acne scars. Consult your dermatologist for guidance or go in for an in-office treatment if you have very deep ice pick scars that may need more aggressive treatment.
Type of scars: hyperpigmentation
Retinol or Vitamin A products have been considered a go-to ingredient for both acne scars and acne. Retinols promote cell turnover or shedding of dead skin cells and encourage the development of collagen. Take note that retinoids are not as strong as prescription-strength retinol so retinoids are what you find in drugstore skincare products.
You may apply retinol once or up to twice daily for several weeks for you to improve acne scarring. A word of warning is that retinols and it's derivatives can cause purging for the first couple of weeks and they can cause irritation to the skin so best to start off slow.
AHA or Glycolic Acid
Type of scars: hyperpigmentation, discoloration
Glycolic acid is an AHA which stands for alpha hydroxy acid. This AHA is one of the most effective AHAs and a very popular ingredient for fading acne scars. Glycolic Acid can also get rid of hyperpigmentation, acne, and discoloration.
Glycolic acid is a naturally occurring substance that offers many benefits to the skin such as rejuvenation and exfoliation. Glycolic acid can be found in chemical peels and it is an ingredient in consumer skincare products without causing too much irritation with the right PH, concentration, and frequency of use. This ingredient is also included in the BANISH Pumpkin Enzyme Masque.
There are other types of acids too like Mandelic acid, and lactic acids. There acids are also are safe options for treating acne scarring on sensitive skin types. You can use mandelic acid in a leave-on product.
Type of scars: hyperpigmentation and dark spots, rolling and boxcar scars.
As we say, Vitamin C is one good source when it comes to getting rid of acne scars for its wound healing, collagen production, and brightening properties. We all need Vitamin C as a component of healthy skin. Vitamin C is great for treating acne scars as it is responsible for our skin’s health, elasticity, collagen synthesis, and it prevents excess melanin production.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to prevent acne scars, and Vitamin C applied topically in the form of L-Ascorbic acid has been shown to reduce dark marks as well as stimulate collagen production to heal acne scars. Apply a Vitamin C Serum daily and try not to apply it at the same time as a retinoid product for optimal effectiveness.
Type of scars: Ice pick, boxcar
Your dermatologist may recommend chemical peels that contain acids with higher concentrations. These peels work in the same way as the kinds you use at home to dissolve the uppermost layers of skin, only that they work on a deeper level.
Deeper peels such as TCA peels should be done by a professional and can improve moderate to severe acne scars with the proper aftercare and with the supervision of a professional. Be careful not to try these deep peels by yourself, as not all skin types are suitable for this acne scar treatment and it can run the risk of causing more scarring.
You can use skincare products that are made with more gentle acids or lower concentration acids. Look for ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid.
Type of scars: Dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B-3 which is an essential nutrient when it comes to treating acne scars. Niacinamide works by lightening dark marks, reducing inflammation, and improving tissue regeneration.
Niacinamide has several benefits on our skin – it builds keratin which keeps our skin firm and healthy, acts as a lipid barrier, reduces inflammation that may help ease the redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory conditions, keeps our skin moisturized, and regulates oil production. While niacinamide may help with dark marks, it may not help with textured or deep acne scars.
Niacinimide is commonly found in many skincare products, even if the products are directly targeted for acne scarring.
Type of scars: dark spots and hyperpigmentation
Vitamin E has some mixed results that show it can help helps heal hyperpigmentation by strengthening the skin's protective barrier and improving the overall formation of healthy skin cells and tissues. It also works to combat any free radicals which can possibly damage your skin and speeds up wound healing. Studies show that Vitamin E works best with combined together with Vitamin C
In Office Treatments
Type of scars: ice pick, boxcar, rolling, dark spots
Laser treatments work by sending pulses of light that will damage the top layer of skin. These lasers can help remove and break up the scars, so that new tissue can form in its place.
Laser tends to have a long recovery since the top layer of skin needs to heal and it is usually expensive costing thousand of dollars for one session. It requires a consultation with a dermatologist before you can undergo laser resurfacing and a few sessions may be needed to see desired results.
There are different formats of laser therapies for acne scars so the pricing, recovery, and results may differ depending on the type of laser treatments that may best fit your case of acne scars.
Lasering areas with acne may not be recommended.
In-office Microneedling or PRP Microneedling
PRP microneedling is a procedure in the office with a device that injects your own plasma into your skin for the healing properties and collagen production to heal acne scars. PRP microneedling shouldn't be done if you are still having acne or pimples.
In-office treatments are handled by a professional that can use longer needle lengths to treat scars more aggressively. The longer needles can reach the deeper layers of skin without causing trauma or infection when handled by a professional. In office microneedling works the same, by creating In office microneedling treatments may include both a dermaroller device or powered and battery operated microneedling devices.
Natural Remedies For Acne Scars
If you want to stick with home remedies for your own reasons, natural home remedies to get rid of acne scars could give mixed results and aren't able to show results for deep and pitted acne scars.
If your acne scars are limited to mild hyperpigmentation or discoloration, these home remedies could work for you.
Aloe is one of the best household products anyone can use to treat their hyperpiemgntation as it helps them to heal faster by strengthening collagen structure. It can also speed up the healing process and reduce acne scar formation. This is one possible way of getting rid of your discoloration acne scars. Aloe Vera has been a popular plant remedy or solution for many skin problems such as acne.
To Use: Purchase Aloe vera gel and apply onto skin daily.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
This fermented vinegar has a lot of useful functions, including fading your acne scars, naturally exfoliating and shedding away dead skin cells. It contains Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, and E along with the natural lactic and malic acids which are responsible for gently exfoliating the skin for an even-toned complexion. Dilute it with water so it doesn't cause too much stinging and to help lower the acidity.
It takes a lot of patience and consistency to see positive results, no matter what products or options you choose in treating acne. Don’t be afraid to try different options should the first one fail. Keep the healing with some emotional treatment as well. Acne does not only leave with deep physical scarring but emotional scarring too.
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