Suffering from acne can be really hard. You can become insecure about the way you look, and spend hundreds on different products, treatments and creams to make it go away.
What is even worse is that once it has gone away, you can be left with acne scars on your skin.
Acne is not just a few pimples, and there is a difference between having acne and just having a few spots. Acne is a condition that affects the oil glands, pores and the hair follicles in the skin.
Underneath the surface, the pores are connected to sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum.
This substance can clump together, and mix with dead skin cells, dirt and debris on the face, which results in bacteria, inflammation, and therefore acne. An overactive sebaceous gland is thus what results in acne for many people.
Whilst acne can go away after a while, or after medication, you can be left with scars where the condition once was.
Depending on how bad the acne was to begin with, these scars can be severe, or slight discolorations on the skin. Either way, it is enough to make you want to banish them forever! The good news is that there are lots of products and treatments that you can use to remedy acne scars.
How can I recover my acne scars?
Before you start treating your acne scars for yourself, it is essential that you see a doctor, or a dermatologist first. They can determine what type of acne scarring you have, offer you the correct treatments, or even possibly diagnose it as a different skin condition.
Once you know which scars you have, you can find the best products that work for you. You can improve the overall appearance of your skin, by using alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. These types of products are proven to treat acne scar as they work to remove dead skin, prevent clogged pores and make acne scarring less noticeable, by exfoliating the outer layer of skin.
One of the most popular wonder products for those who suffer with acne, or have some scarring is the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting AHA Gel Exfoliant . This is made with AHAs, chamomile and green tea, and packed with glycolic acid for healthier looking skin.
On the other hand, you could try the Murad AHA exfoliating cleanser as it has lactic acid and glycolic acid- both proven to smoothen skin and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
You can also try using lactic acid peels, as long as they are performed by a licensed dermatologist. These can be done once every two weeks over a period of three months to improve the appearance of the scars, making the texture of your skin better, and solving any pigmentation issues that you may have.
You should also be using a salicylic acid cleanser or exfoliator to ensure that your skin is fresh, cleansed, and free of any dead skin cells and debris. We recommend using either the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Salicylic Acid Exfoliant or the CeraVe SA Cleanser with niacinamide and salicylic acid.
Another important factor that you need to take into account is the sun. Sun damage can really harm your skin, but also make the scars look darker and therefore more noticeable. Make sure that you are wearing sunscreen every day to protect your skin.
We recommend wearing a facial sunscreen like the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizer. This one is also non comedogenic, and so it will not clog up the pores!
Can pitted acne scars heal naturally?
Over time, some acne scarring can heal naturally, but you may want to speed up the process. Pitted scars or depressed scars may also need a little help to heal with some creams, oils or topical treatments.
The best way to heal scars is with a topical retinoid treatment. Retinoids and Retinol works to smoothen out the skin and help it regenerate. Retinol speeds up the cell regeneration process, making the skin look smoother, fresher, brighter, and reduces discoloration. This is perfect for healing acne scars!
Keep in mind that you have to use retinol at night, as the new, fresh skin can leave you more prone to sun damage and so you have to use sunscreen afterwards. Retinol can be found in a range of products, with different percentages and strengths. For instance, The Ordinary offers various types of Retinol oils, from 0.5% strength: to 1% strength and a 2% retinoid.
You can apply retinol at night, after you have washed and dried your face. Make sure your skin is completely dry, and take a small, pea sized amount of retinol and apply with the fingertips in upwards and outwards motions until it is all rubbed in. Then, finish with a moisturizer for the best results. Do not forget to use sunscreen the next morning as your skin will be very sensitive to sunlight!
What do acne scars look like?
Acne scars are formed when there is an influx, or not enough collagen in the spot where the acne is healing. The scar will therefore develop where the original acne was, and where the inflammation occurred.
If the scar is raised once healed, then there was too much collagen in the area, whereas a depressed scar (not raised) occurs because of too little collagen during the healing process.
Acne scars can look different on people. There are various types of acne scars, and all have unique characteristics. You can have ice-pick scars, which are deep, narrow, pitted scars, or you can have thick, lumpy scars called keloid scars.
On the other hand, some people may have rolling scars, which are broad depressions in the skin, whereas others have what is called boxcar scars which are broad depressions in the skin with sharp edges.
One of the more common types of acne scars are atrophic scars. These types of acne scars are flat, thin, depressed scars that look like acne spots, except they are not raised, bumpy or inflamed.
Depending on the type of acne scarring you have, you will need to treat it differently. For instance, atrophic scars such as boxcar scars, ice pick scars or depressed scars can be lessened over time.
The boxcar type responds best to skin resurfacing treatments, whereas the ice pick scars are the most difficult to get rid of.
Which cream is best for acne scars?
Everyone’s acne scars are different, so it is hard to give a conclusive answer as to which acne cream is best, or which has the best results. However, many people swear by the Mederma Scar Gel which is proven to work on stretch marks, scars and acne scars. That being said, the best way to treat acne scars is over time, with a good cleansing and skincare routine.
Will my acne scars ever go away?
Acne scars may not ever go away, but you can improve their appearance with AHAs and BHAs. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid truly are wonder products that you really need in your skincare collection, as they can visibly reduce the signs of aging, acne scarring and pigmentation.
From nails to skin and hair to makeup and even waxing and eye care, Steph loves it all. A firm believer in personal expression and style she’s rarely ready on time herself but loves helping others look their best.