How to Get Rid of Acne Scars
Have you ever felt depressed about the scars left behind by old acne? If yes, you are not alone. Many people have this problem. Not only does it make your skin look bad, but it can also affect your self-esteem and confidence.
This article will help you understand how to get rid of acne scars and also take care of your general skin health. Here are some tips to get started:
Consider using products with kojic acid
If you have darker skin, consider using products with kojic acid, a natural ingredient derived from mushrooms that helps to lighten the skin. Kojic acid may prevent melanin production and has been found to be effective for treating hyperpigmentation. However, more research is needed on its efficacy for acne scars specifically.
A chemical face peel can make a difference.
Chemical face peels (also known as chemical peels or derma-peel) are another popular option for treating acne scars. Chemical face peels can remove the top layer of skin and this allows new skin to grow in its place.
A non-irritating chemical peel can be bought at most drug stores and mass retail outlets. When applying this type of treatment, make sure that you follow the directions on the bottle carefully, paying close attention to the exact chemicals used in each formula. Note that using a chemical peel may cause a rash so it is important to take any precautions outlined by the manufacturer during use.
Look for products that contain glycolic acid
Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may help remove impurities and bacteria that cause acne. It also exfoliates the skin, promoting a smoother complexion. If you are not in the market for a commercial glycolic acid cleanser, you can make your own on the cheap with ingredients like honey, milk, lemon juice, or strawberries.
If you have more severe scarring, laser resurfacing might be something to consider.
Laser resurfacing is another option to help get rid of the scars. This procedure uses a laser beam to remove the top layer of skin. There are two types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers use heat energy that destroys the top layer of skin, while non-ablative lasers only cause superficial damage to your skin.
There are side effects and risks with both types of laser treatments, but ablative lasers are more effective than non-ablative ones because they actually destroy your scar tissue and make way for new skin growth. However, ablative treatments can cause significant inflammation in the first few days after treatment and lead to permanent changes in pigmentation — so be careful!
Look for exfoliating products containing lactic acid
As you browse skincare products, look for any that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Lactic acid is one type of AHA, and it's often found in face washes, moisturizers, and serums. AHAs help to remove dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Removing them may reduce the appearance of scars.
When using a product that contains an AHA, like lactic acid, keep in mind that AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Some products containing AHAs include:
- Lactic Acid 5 Percent Hydrating Gel by The Ordinary
- Alpha Skin Care Essential Renewal Lotion 12% Glycolic Aha
- SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator
In some cases, micro-needling can help stimulate collagen growth and create new skin cells to replace scarred or discolored areas.
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure in which a dermaroller, or "skin needling" device, is used to roll over the skin and create tiny punctures. This process stimulates collagen growth and creates new skin cells to replace scarred or discolored areas.
The dermaroller is covered with teeny, tiny needles that are about .5mm in diameter (about one-tenth of an inch). It's usually passed over the skin multiple times to ensure it reaches deep enough into the skin to stimulate natural collagen production. The whole process should take no more than 30 minutes depending on what area of your body you're treating.
The most common side effect of micro-needling is redness, which typically lasts no more than 24 hours and can be reduced by applying ice afterward. Though it's generally safe for use on all skin types, people with active acne or open wounds should avoid using micro-needling until those issues are resolved.
Other options include topical retinoid creams like Retin-A or Renova. These prescription treatments are made with vitamin A — also known as retinol — and can unclog pores by increasing cell turnover and encouraging new cell growth.
Retinoids are great for reducing brown spots caused by sun damage, redness from acne, and improving skin texture. Talk to your dermatologist about a prescription treatment that might be best suited to you, or try an over-the-counter product that contains retinol, which is the gentler form of retinoic acid (the ingredient in Retin-A). Keep in mind that both lead to some dryness, peeling, and increased sensitivity to the sun.
There are many treatments available for acne scars, but it's important to find the one that's best for your skin type.
Acne scar creams work best on dry skin and acne scar serums work best on oily skin.
The only way to really get rid of scars is through surgery, where a dermatologist cuts the scar out of your face. This is an expensive and painful process, so think carefully before you commit. You will have a small cut on your face afterward and you may end up with a thin white line across your cheek or chin.
Scars can also be made less visible by laser treatment, which is similar to surgery but uses light instead of knives to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment can take several months if you go once per week because lasers need time to heal after each session. Laser treatments cost around $200 per session and are usually not covered by insurance companies unless they're medically necessary (for example when cancerous cells need to be removed).