- Can I Prevent Acne?
- How To Remove Acne Scars From Face?
- 13 Skin-Care Products to Help (Finally) Fade Your Acne Scars
- Acne Scar Treatments, Scar Creams, Masks & Exfoliators
- learn more
- An Overview of Treating Scars
- How to Get Rid of Acne Scars and Dark Spots
- Acne Scars: Treatment, Removal, Best, and More
- Ice pick
- Alpha hydroxy acids
- Lactic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Chemical peels
- Laser resurfacing
Can I Prevent Acne?
Contrary to what you may have heard, acne is not caused by dirty skin. Acne is caused by overactive oil glands in the skin and a build-up of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, which leads to inflammation in pores.
Oil glands become stimulated when hormones become active during puberty, which is why people are ly to get acne in their teens. Because the tendency to develop acne is partly genetic, if other people in your family had (or have) acne, you may be more ly to develop it too.
There's no sure way to prevent acne. But these tips might help reduce the number and severity of your breakouts:
- Washing your skin is essential (it helps remove excess surface oils and dead skin cells that can clog your pores), but washing too much can actually cause damage by overdrying your skin or irritating existing acne.
- Remember to wash after exercising because sweat can clog your pores and make your acne worse. If you work around greasy food or oil, or if you've been sweating from heat or because you've been working hard, wash your face and other acne-prone areas as soon as possible.
- If you use skin products, such as lotions or makeup, look for ones that are noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic, which means that they don't clog pores.
- If you can't live without your hair spray or styling gel, be sure to keep them away from your face as much as possible. Many hair products contain oils that can make acne worse. Try to use water-based products.
- If you get acne on areas such as your chest or back, avoid wearing tight clothes, which can rub and cause irritation.
For some people, over-the-counter (OTC) products work to help clear up acne. It may take some time to find one that works best for you — some may not do the trick and others may cause irritation. OTC acne products come in different strengths. The most popular and effective OTC acne-fighting ingredient is benzoyl peroxide. Another ingredient, salicylic acid, can help to dry up pimples.
If you find OTC products aren't working for you, it's best to seek a doctor's advice. A doctor can prescribe special gels or creams, pills, or a combination of both. It may feel a bit awkward or embarrassing to talk about your acne with someone, but your doctor is trained to help get your skin looking its best.
What about pimples you already have? It's tempting, but popping or squeezing a pimple usually won't get rid of the problem. Squeezing can actually push infected material and pus deeper into the skin, which can lead to more swelling and redness (not what you want before a big date!), and even scarring, which can be permanent.
If you're taking a prescription acne medication, finish your entire prescription even if your skin clears up, unless your dermatologist says you can stop. If you stop too early, there's a chance your skin could break out all over again.
Eating nutritious foods can help keep you healthy, of course, and your skin will benefit from getting enough vitamins and minerals.
But the bottom line is that you don't need to be obsessive about what you eat or how often you wash your face to control acne.
If you don't find an OTC product that works for you, talk to your doctor or a dermatologist for some advice on living through the acne years.
How To Remove Acne Scars From Face?
Acne in itself is quite emotionally draining! But the prominent scars they left behind is causing you more stress? The good news is, these scars can be treated.It is important to know your skin before you begin any treatments.
We have put together information that will make it easier for you to understand more about acne marks and how you can treat them.
You must keep in mind that the scars should be addressed after treating the acne.
Acne scars are the result of breakouts caused by blocked skin pores. Blocking leads to swelling of the pores, which may cause breakage in the follicle wall. This can create deep or shallow lesions that prominently appear on the skin.
Acne scars are the result of inflamed lesions. These lesions penetrate through your skin, damaging the tissues beneath it. This may leave a mark or pit behind.
Acne scars can be atrophic (caused by a loss of tissue) or hypertrophic (caused by excess tissue). These are further segregated into ice pick scars, boxcar scars and rolling scars.
Ice pick scars are the result of a severe acne lesion. They usually develop after an infection from cysts that work their way deep into the skin.
These scars are narrower than boxcar and rolling scars. However, they are deeper and more noticeable to the naked eye. Home remedies may not work for these scars.
Boxcar scars are wider than ice pick scars. They look round craters with sharp edges, giving the skin a pitted, uneven appearance. They can be narrow or deep.
They occur due to inflammatory breakouts that destroy the collagen. This leads to loss of tissue, which creates depressions in the skin.
As the name suggests, rolling scars are wide with rounded edges. They make the skin look uneven and irregular.
They are caused by fibrous bands of tissues that develop between the skin and subcutaneous tissue below. The bands pull the epidermis, giving the skin a rolling appearance.
These scars appear raised. They are the result of excess tissue in the area where the lesion had developed.
There are several home treatments and in-office methods that people use to get rid of acne scars. (1)
Before starting any treatment for scars, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist to understand your skin.
Salicylic acid is a popular ingredient in most anti-acne skincare products. It helps to reduce swelling and redness, clears dirt from your pores and reduces scarring. (2)
This magic ingredient can be used to treat any type of acne scars. However, for people with sensitive skin, it is recommended to conduct a patch test before applying it on the entire face.
Not just are they used to treat acne, alpha hydroxy acids also contribute to the reduction of scars.
These acids help exfoliate the rough surface of the skin to improve texture and reduce the appearance of scars. (3)
This is found in the form of various creams and lotions, available at your nearest drugstore. Lactic Acid improves texture of the skin and reduces the prominence of scars. (4) However, lactic acid may cause hyperpigmentation in certain cases. It is advised to conduct a patch test before using it.
Diluted apple cider vinegar can be used in place of a drugstore product due to its natural lactic acid components.
Topical retinoids come in the form of creams and lotions. Dermatologists recommend these to reduce discoloration and improve skin texture. (5) Topical retinoids are a good option to treat fresh acne scars.
Using retinoids during the early stages of acne can help prevent and reduce scarring.
Topical retinoids may cause sun-sensitivity. Wearing sunscreen before you step out is a must.
Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps treat acne and scars left behind by it.
Azelaic acid reduces the amount of acne-causing bacteria and allows your pores to breathe. It is used to treat mild or moderate acne. Azelaic acid is available in the form of creams, gels and foams.
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat acne and reduce scarring. (6)
Sunscreen plays an important role in skin health maintenance. Regardless of whether you have a skin condition, a good sunscreen is a must. It helps protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays and also reduces the appearance of scars. Direct exposure to the sun may darken acne scars.
Always buy a sunscreen that suits your unique skin type.
Studies indicate that coconut oil keeps your skin moist. It prevents the skin from producing excess serum that reduces the risk of acne scars. (7)
People with extremely oily skin should avoid applying coconut oil directly. It may clog pores and worsen the situation.
Shea butter contains anti-inflammatory properties that help fight bacteria-causing acne. It also helps reduce discoloration and acne marks.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help fight acne and prevent scarring. (e)
Lemon and honey together can work wonders for your skin. Lemon is acidic in nature and contains antibacterial qualities. This may relieve your skin of excess oil and fight bacteria.
Lemon may not suit everybody’s skin due to its acidic qualities. Conduct a patch test before you apply it on your face. (f)
Honey is a good antiseptic for your skin and body. It contributes to your body’s healing process and helps reduce scars faster. It is also a great way to naturally moisturize your skin and prevent it from producing too much sebum.
Baking soda, with its anti-inflammatory properties, can help fight acne and scars. However, skincare professionals do not recommend baking soda. It is said to soak up essential oils that may cause the skin to overproduce sebum.
Aloe vera helps regulate the production of melanin. This helps reduce pigmentation and discoloration.
Essential oils have wound-healing properties. They help prevent the development of scar tissues. They also reduce inflammation, redness and smoothen the texture of your skin.
The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar helps remove the top layer of the skin. This reduces the appearance of scars.
your skin type and the depth of your scars, a number of lab treatments are available to reduce scarring caused by acne.
If you have shallow scars, this may be a good option for you.
Chemical peels reduce discoloration and scarring. They prevent breakouts and smoothen the skin. These peels work by removing the top layer of the skin and are a great way to rejuvenate the skin.
Chemical peels usually don’t work well for those with deep scars. You may have to try out a couple of peels before determining which one works better for you.
Microneedling is highly beneficial to reduce scars, wrinkles, stretch marks and discoloration. It also contributes to skin rejuvenation and improvement in texture. (8)
The medical process involves inserting micro-needles around scars. This stimulates the body to produce more collagen.
Rolling is also an affordable option to address acne scars.
Microneedling or rolling can cause temporary side effects redness, pain and inflammation. (h)
Hypertrophic scars or keloids can be treated with corticosteroid injections. The process is conducted once in every few weeks. Your dermatologist may combine these with other treatments.
Dermal fillers are often confused with Botox. However, the former type smoothes out the skin by filling scars or wrinkles, as opposed to “freezing” muscles. Dermal fillers are usually temporary, lasting between 6-18 months after treatment.
These fillers work best for atrophic scars. Other commercial fillers polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), hyaluronic acid (HA) and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) can also be used. (9)
This is a popular and one of the most preferred methods used to remove acne scars by dermatologists. Laser treatment helps reduce scars by removing the uppermost layer of the skin. This process uses focused light therapy and doesn’t involve any chemicals. It may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin.
What to keep in mind before getting a laser treatment done
- Requires a board-certified dermatologist to conduct the treatment.
- Side effects include redness, itching, swelling and temporary oozing.
- At times sedation is required, depending on the depth of your scars.
Dermabrasion is the process of using a rapidly rotating device to sand the outer layers of the skin. It is used to treat acne scars, wrinkles, patchy skin and dark areas. The skin that grows back is younger looking and smooth. (10)
This process can be conducted alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures. It can cause temporary redness, lasting upto weeks.
Dermatologists may advise a patient to undergo surgery in case of deep scars. Get this done by a board-certified dermatologist only.
This technique draws inspiration from the belief that the body can heal on its own. Platelet-rich plasma technique (PRP) involves a large amount of platelets. These are concentrated into a small volume of plasma to stimulate growth factors in the body. This fixes broken tissues. PRP has recently been introduced to the world of dermatology.
According to a study, rolling scars responded better to PRP as compared to ice pick and boxcar scars. (11)
Punch techniques are used to treat ice pick and boxcar scars. They come in three forms:
In this technique, the scar is surgically removed and the skin is sealed to achieve a smooth texture.
The procedure involves surgical removal of the scar, leaving the sides. The base is then reattached to the sides to give a smooth appearance.
In this process, the wound is plugged with a sample of skin taken from another part of the body, usually the back or the ear.
Prevention is better than cure. So understanding your skin and taking the right precautions is crucial. Here are some skincare tips for you to avoid acne and scarring.
Being adventurous is fun, but not at the cost of your health. Too much sun exposure can dehydrate your body.
This may cause it to over-produce oil, sometimes leading to blocked pores. If you have to stay out in the sun often, make it a point to stay hydrated.
Popping pimples may increase inflammation. This may not only leave a scar behind but can cause an acne breakout.
Avoid touching your face as your hands carry bacteria and dirt that may lead to clogged pores.
Maintain a skin-care regimen. Remember to wash your face and remove your make up before hitting the pillow. Cleanse, tone and moisturize on a regular basis. Stay hydrated.
Don’t exfoliate your face on a daily basis. This may cause skin inflammation, redness and itching, which may lead to breakouts.
Water plays a major role in preventing acne and scarring. In order to refrain your body from over-producing oil (that may sometimes lead to clogged pores), stay hydrated. As it is rightly said, “Water is the cure for everything.”
People are often confused between acne scars and marks. Brown or red patches (discoloration) left behind by acne on a person’s face are marks that fade away with time. However, pits and craters are scars that stay.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is acne marks that look a flat, discolored surface. As the skin heals, it produces excess melanin. This causes the darkening of the patch. PIH however, does not damage the follicle and fades away over time, usually in about 24 months.
Scars may slightly fade over time but are permanent. However, there are several home and medical remedies with which you can get rid of them.
Acne marks (discoloration) usually fade away within 3-6 months. There are many ways to speed up the process. However, scars remain and can be removed medically or by using home remedies.
People with a darker complexion may experience PIH (marks that appear brown). People with a lighter complexion usually develop post-inflammatory erythema (purple/red marks). (12)
These fade away with time. However, there are faster ways of getting rid of acne marks.
Acne scars are deep indentations. They are usually caused by picking at a blemish and take much longer to heal. Although they may slightly fade over time, acne scars are usually permanent.
It usually takes medical treatment to reduce scarring completely. Atrophic scars appear as indentations in the skin.
In today’s technologically advanced world, treating acne scars has become an easy task. Always follow a skincare regimen and maintain skin hygiene to avoid future outbreaks.
Begin By Knowing Your Skin
- skin care tips
- skin type
13 Skin-Care Products to Help (Finally) Fade Your Acne Scars
In a totally unscientific, uncontrolled poll on my Instagram Story the other day, I used that handy “Question” feature to ask my female followers why they really wear makeup.
The IRL filter effect? Self-expression? Creative fulfillment? The most popular answer — by far — was, somewhat surprisingly, “because I'm self-conscious about my acne scars” (or some variation thereof). From this, I inferred two things.
One: It's totally normal to deal with discoloration. Two: The people need some skin-care advice.
Anyone similarly struggling with acne scars should know that concealer is not the only path to clear, spot-free skin; these days, there's a seemingly unlimited number of skin-care products proven to help with hyperpigmentation.
“Two key categories of skin-care ingredients can improve the appearance of acne scars,” says Dr. Tanuj Nakra, the co-founder of Avya Skincare.
“The first are ingredients that improve skin pigment irregularity, such as vitamin C, niacinamide and turmeric.”
In addition to fading scars after the fact, these substances actually “prevent the post-inflammatory pigmentation changes” if used on active acne, essentially keeping scars from forming in the first place. Bonus: Dr.
Nakra's skin-brightening faves are safe for all skin types — maybe that's why all three are seeing a surge in popularity right now; as evidenced by Tatcha Violet-C Serum, Avya Power Serum (with vitamin C and turmeric) and InstaNatural Niacinamide Serum.
“The second category of ingredients that improve acne scars are biologic exfoliators, such as salicylic acid and retinoids,” Dr. Nakra continues.
Salicylic acid is a great option for acne-prone skin; since the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is commonly found in spot treatments, it can give pimples and scars the one-two punch in a single shot.
“Salicylic acid is particularly helpful for oily skin, due to its exfoliating properties,” the dermatologist says, noting that BHAs are better at penetrating high levels of sebum than AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids).
Those with dry or sensitive skin, on the other hand, can turn to mandelic acid, an AHA that's equal parts effective and easy on the skin.
“It's the gentlest form of AHA and, as such, penetrates the least,” Nicolas Travis, the founder of Allies of Skin (which just released a Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum), tells Fashionista.
“However, it is extremely effective when used regularly.”
If your scars are stubborn, though, you may need something a bit stronger. “Retinoids are the best option in this setting,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, the medical director of Mudgil Dermatology. “They help maintain healthy collagen, which is important to minimize scarring in acne patients.”
Retinoids also increase cellular turnover — in other words, they'll help your skin cycle through hyperpigmentation at hyper-speed. You can get a prescription for a high-strength retinoid from your dermatologist, or opt for an over-the-counter retinol ( Mara Algae Retinol Oil or Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream).
But what about all the natural skin-care buffs dedicated to that #cleanbeauty life? “Generally speaking, I find that organic rosehip oil can work beautifully to nourish depletions in the skin that make it harder to recover from scars,” says Hayley Wood, a holistic aesthetician in Los Angeles. “Papaya is also great for its gentle enzymatic properties to gently resurface and brighten skin,” she adds. Both are readily available in luxe-feeling formulations Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil and Odacité Papaya Geranium Serum Concentrate.
Ahead, 13 can't-miss products for acne scars that will render your concealer all but obsolete.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.
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Acne Scar Treatments, Scar Creams, Masks & Exfoliators
DERMA E Scar Gel works wonders on acne scars. With the key ingredient of Panthenol, which is pro-Vitamin B5, this acne scar treatment will transform the look of your scars, improving their color, texture and general appearance.
As the surface of your skin becomes softer and smoother from using the Scar Gel, maintain this look with the Microdermabrasion Scrub. Used regularly, this scrub will polish the surface of the skin to minimize the appearance of scars, as well as fine lines and rough patches.
Your skin will feel supple and revitalized.
Of course, one of the best ways to treat acne scars is to prevent acne in the first place. DERMA E’s Very Clear® collection uses the highest-quality ingredients to reduce blemishes without irritating the skin.
The first step is an acne face wash that gently but thoroughly cleans dirt from the skin to keep pores from becoming clogged, such as the Very Clear® Acne Deep Pore Cleansing Wash. For exfoliating, pair it with the Very Clear® Deep Pore Acne Scrub to keep impurities your pores—and blemishes away from your skin.
Once your face is clean, you’re ready for the Very Clear® Acne Rebalancing Cream that nourishes skin for a more even and balanced complexion. If you have particular areas of concern, calm those hot spots with the Very Clear® Acne Spot Treatment to reduce the look of redness.
All acne skin care treatments in the Very Clear® collection contain the powerful, all-natural blemish-fighting ingredients of willow bark, rosewood, lavender, chamomile and tea tree.
Tea Tree is also the signature ingredient in DERMA E’s Tea Tree and E Oil. Tea Tree has been reported to have amazing antibacterial and antiseptic properties that are ideal for keeping skin free of blemishes, while Vitamin E adds a wonderfully moisturizing component. Using these products regularly can help your skin look pure, clean and healthy.
Use the Scar Gel accordingly whether you have old or new scars—apply two to three times daily for eight weeks to new scars, and twice a day for three to six months for older scars. Simply massage a small amount of gel gently into your skin with your fingertips.
As you are working on daily scar reduction, use the Microdermabrasion Scrub to retexture the surface of your skin to smooth out the bumps and indentations. The scrub should be used twice a week on wet skin, massaging in gently circular motions for one minute before rinsing. Your skin will look brighter and smoother, and you will see the scars appear to fade away.
If you use the Very Clear® collection, you will get the most effective results from daily use of the cleanser and moisturizer; use the scrub once or twice a week and the spot treatment on inflamed areas and blemishes as needed.
Taking care of your skin with DERMA E’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free natural products ensures your skin looks wonderful without the harsh, drying effects that can occur with other treatments. Your skin will glow with good, clean health.
An Overview of Treating Scars
Skin is a seamless organ, a fine cloth protecting valuable assets. Imagine a piece of silk. Just one small tear can make a big difference in how it looks. And it's the same with skin. Any burn, injury, or other trauma, such as surgery, can cause a scar.
Now a scar isn't bad if it's small or in a location that's easy to conceal. But when it's not, you may wonder if there's a way to treat it, other than hiding it under your clothes, that will make it go away or at least change how it looks.
The truth is the scar will never completely go away. But there are some methods that can help reduce its size and change its appearance.
Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after an injury. Its appearance and its treatment depend on multiple factors.
The depth and size of the wound or cut and the location of the injury matter. So do your age, genes, sex, and ethnicity.
These are several different types of scars including:
- Keloid scars. These scars are the result of an overly aggressive healing process. They extend beyond the original injury. Over time, a keloid scar may hamper movement. Treatments include surgery to remove the scar, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). You can also prevent keloid formation by using pressure treatment or gel pads with silicone when you are injured. Keloid scars are most common among people with dark skin.
- Contracture scars. If your skin has been burned, you may have a contracture scar. These scars tighten skin, which can impair your ability to move. Contracture scars may also go deeper, affecting muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic scars. These are raised, red scars that are similar to keloids but do not go beyond the boundary of the injury. Treatments include injections of steroids to reduce inflammation or silicone sheets, which flatten the scar.
- Acne scars. If you've had severe acne, you probably have the scars to prove it. There are many types of acne scars, ranging from deep pits to scars that are angular or wave in appearance. Treatment options depend on the types of acne scars you have.
Scar treatments may include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments, or gels. These products can be used to treat scars that are caused by cuts or other injuries or wounds. If you are under the care of a plastic surgeon and your scarring is from cosmetic or plastic surgery, ask your surgeon if over-the-counter treatment is an option. If not, there are prescriptions that may help. Often, treatments can include steroids or certain oral antihistamines for scars that cause itching and are very sensitive. wise, if you have scarring from severe acne, ask your dermatologist for advice. Your doctor can also recommend or use pressure treatment or silicone gel sheeting to help treat scars or as preventive care.
- Surgical removal or treatment. There are many options to treat deeper scars depending on your particular case. These include skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion, or laser surgery. In a skin graft, the surgeon uses skin from another area of your body. This is often used with people who've had burns. If you've got scarring that impairs function, surgery can help address the functional problems. If you've recently had surgery that has caused scars, it is best to wait at least one year before making a decision about scar treatment. Many scars fade and become less noticeable over time.
- Injections. You may get steroid injections to treat scars that stick out, such as keloids or hypertrophic scars. Your doctor may use this on its own or with other treatments.Other types of injections, such as collagen or other “fillers,” may be useful for some types of pitted scarring, although these are not usually permanent solutions.
If your scar physically impairs you in any way, you may be able to get coverage from your health insurer. Ask your doctor to write a letter detailing your particular case. Your doctor can also take photos to support your case.
If you are undergoing scar treatment for cosmetic purposes, you will most ly have to pay for it all yourself. If you have scars from cosmetic surgery, make sure you know what your insurer will cover. Health insurers usually don't pay for any cosmetic surgery that isn't medically necessary.
American Academy of Dermatology.
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars and Dark Spots
Sometimes the signs of acne remain long after the zit is gone. Acne scars can change the texture of your skin and, unfortunately, there’s no overnight treatment to make them magically disappear. So, what can you do to get rid of them and stop them from happening in the first place?
Acne scar vs. hyperpigmentation
First, let’s determine if you have an acne scar or hyperpigmentation. Both appear after the acne has cleared but each must be treated differently.
Hyperpigmentation appears as dark marks that are flat and can look stains. When acne spots inflame the skin, your body overproduces pigment as part of the skin’s healing process. The resulting dark marks will eventually heal and disappear, a process that can be sped up with treatment.
Acne scars are nearly the opposite. These form when acne breakouts deeply penetrate and damage the skin causing it to reshape or take on a different texture.
After inflamed acne has cleared, the body tries to heal itself by producing collagen. The type, function and amount of collagen can cause the skin to reshape or take on a different texture creating a scar.
Your risk of developing acne scars when your acne clears increases if you:
- Have inflammatory acne. This type of acne goes deep into your skin and often includes cysts and nodules
- Delay treatment.
- Let the acne go untreated.
- Pick, squeeze or pop your zits.
- Have a family member who developed acne scars
Types of acne scars
There are two types of acne scars. The type of scar depends on how much collagen your body makes and determines what type of treatment(s) you should consider.
Depressed Acne Scars happen when the body produces too little collagen. These look pits or craters in the skin. Your dermatologist may call these atrophic scars.
This type of acne scar can be broken down into three subtypes.
- Boxcar scars often look a large pore and have sharply defined edges.
- Icepick scars are deep, narrow pitted scars.
- Rolling scars are shallow and give the skin a wavy appearance. They aren’t always the same size as the acne lesion that caused them.
Raised Acne Scars form when the body produces too much collagen and can look small ridges on the skin. These acne scars are more common on the back and chest. Your dermatologist might refer to these as “hypertrophic” scars.
Treating Acne Scars
The first step to treating acne scars is a visit to the experts. Your dermatologist will create a treatment plan your skin’s needs and your goals.
A heads up—some treatments can be expensive and medical insurance does not cover the cost. Before starting treatment, ask yourself, “How much can I afford to spend?” and, “How do I want to look after treatment?”
Treating Dark Spots (Hyperpigmentation)
Treating dark spots is a little easier than treating most acne scars as hyperpigmentation can heal on its own and fade over time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your skin will usually fade naturally within six to twelve months, depending on your amount of sun exposure and your hormones. If the color lies deep in your skin fading can take years.
There are a few things you can do to speed up this process.
Eliminate what is causing the discoloration. This is the first step toward getting rid of dark spots. In this case, the cause is acne. If you have mild to moderate acne, over-the-counter treatments such as PanOxyl can help clear, treat and prevent breakouts. For severe acne, your dermatologist may recommend a prescription treatment.
Over-the-counter skin-lightening products can help speed up the fading process. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends products that contain one of the following ingredients:
- Azelaic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Kojic acid
- Retinoid (includes retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel or tazarotene)
- Vitamin C
Wear sunscreen. It’s essential! Sunscreen can help prevent further darkening when used daily. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that is broad-spectrum (protects from both UVA and UVB rays) and contains Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.
Blue Lizard is one sunscreen that checks off all of these boxes. Their mineral Sensitive Face sunscreen also contains Hyaluronic Acid which can help hydrate skin.
Prevention is Key
You may have heard it before, but the best treatment is prevention. Untreated acne creates the potential for scarring that can ultimately be difficult and expensive to treat.
If you have mild to moderate acne, daily use of PanOxyl’s benzoyl peroxide washes can help break the acne cycle and clear your skin. Learn more about our products here.
Acne Scars: Treatment, Removal, Best, and More
Active breakouts are frustrating enough, but the scars acne can leave behind can feel downright diabolical. The good news is that acne scars can be treated.
However, before treatment can start you first have to get rid of any acne once and for all since new breakouts can lead to new acne scars.
Some of the scar treatments below can’t be done alongside typical acne medications, and the inflammation that’s caused by breakouts can also reduce treatment effectiveness.
Scars are formed when a breakout penetrates the skin deeply and damages the tissues beneath it.
Before you try to treat your scars, it’s important to know what type they are. Each type responds to treatment differently, and some treatments are better for particular types than others.
Atrophic scars are most common on the face. A depressed scar sits below the surrounding skin. They’re formed when not enough collagen is made while the wound is healing. There are three types of atrophic scars:
These are wide, U-shaped scars that have sharp edges. They can be shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatments.
Ice pick scars are narrow, V-shaped scars that can go deep into the skin. They can look small round or oval holes, a chickenpox scar. These are the most difficult scars to treat because they can extend far under the surface of the skin.
These are wide depressions that typically have rounded edges and an irregular, rolling appearance.
These scars are most common with chest and back acne. They stand above the surface of the surrounding skin and are caused by too much collagen during healing.
Discoloration left behind after a zit has cleared isn’t a scar. The purple, red, or brown marks will fade over a few months on their own.
Before you start any treatment for acne scars, it’s important to be seen by a dermatologist. They can help you determine the best method to reduce the appearance of your scars and also make sure that the marks on your skin are actually scars and not another condition.
Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are often found in products made to treat acne since they help to remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores. Even better, AHAs can also help make acne scars appear less noticeable.
The mild acid exfoliates the outer layer of the skin to help remove discoloration and rough skin.
Best for: All types of acne scars.
Shop for: Products containing alpha hydroxy acids.
Don’t worry, this one has nothing to with the gym. A small 2010 study found that dermatologist-performed lactic acid peels done once every two weeks for three months improved the texture, appearance, and pigmentation of the skin and lightened acne scars.
There are countless peels, serums, and ointments with lactic acid, but you can also use diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner or spot treatment thanks to its natural lactic acid.
Best for: All types of acne scars.
Shop for: Products containing lactic acid.
Topical retinoids are another acne treatment with scar-smoothing benefits. In addition to speeding up your cell regeneration and improving your skin’s texture, retinoids can also help reduce discoloration and make scars less noticeable according to a recent review.
However, they can also make your skin especially sensitive to the sun. Always wear sunscreen daily when using anything that contains retinoids.
You can find creams and serums with retinoids over the counter, but your healthcare provider can also prescribe you higher concentrations. Look for products that list retinol as one of the active ingredients.
Best for: Atrophic or depressed scars.
Shop for: Products containing retinol.
Chances are high that you’ve already used salicylic acid to treat your acne in the past. From pads to spot treatments and lotions to face cleansers, it’s in just about every kind of acne treatment these days.
Salicylic acid clears pores, reduces swelling and redness, and exfoliates the skin when applied topically. It’s considered to be one of the best treatments for acne scars.
You can add products with salicylic acid into your daily routine or your skin care specialist may use it for less frequent chemical peels.
It might take a few weeks to see a difference when using salicylic acid. It can also cause dryness or irritation. You may need to use the product less often or try spot treating if you have sensitive skin.
Best for: All acne scars.
Shop for: Products containing salicylic acid.
Yes, really. It’s vital to wear sunscreen every day over scars. Sun exposure can darken scars or make them more noticeable.
Best for: All acne scars.
Shop for: Sunscreen to protect your skin.
If at-home treatments don’t seem to be making a difference, a skin care specialist or your healthcare provider can help with your treatments.
Dermabrasion is one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scars. While it uses the same general principle as the microdermabrasion kits you can do at home, healthcare providers use a wire brush or a wheel to more deeply exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
Best for: Scars close to the surface shallow boxcar or rolling scars. However, deeper scars may also become less noticeable.
These aren’t the kind of face masks you binge watch your favorite guilty pleasure with. A chemical peel is a strong acid that’s used to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scars.
Some chemical peels are mild enough to be used at home, but your healthcare provider can provide a stronger solution with more dramatic results.
There are many different types of chemical peels, so it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about which one is right for you.
Best for: All types of acne scars, often used for deeper scars.
Much a chemical peel and dermabrasion, laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin. This treatment typically has a faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments.
However, you have to keep the area covered with a bandage until it’s completely healed. This treatment is also not a good option for anyone who’s still getting breakouts, and it’s not as effective on darker skin tones.
Best for: All acne scars and lighter skin tones.
Healthcare providers use fillers to fill in acne scars and help even out the skin. The fillers can be made with collagen, your own fat, or a commercial filler. They’re injected under the surface of the skin to help plump up and smooth out depressed scars.
Most fillers last between 6 and 18 months before they need to be redone, but some are permanent.
Best for: Someone with a small number of boxcar or rolling scars.
This newer treatment uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller or hand held “pen” on the surface of the scars. The needles puncture the numbed skin — but don’t go through it a shot! As the skin heals, it makes collagen.
There’s evidence to suggest that microneedling helps reduce the depth of acne scars, but this treatment can take up to 9 months to see changes according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Outside of the slight fear factor, it’s a safe treatment that works for all skin tones.
Best for: Depressed acne scars.
There are a few different medications that can be injected into raised scars to help soften and flatten them including corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs fluorouracil (5-FU) and interferons. The injections are usually performed as a series with one every few weeks.
Best for: Raised scars.
At first brush, it might seem crazy to remove a scar and potentially replace it with a new one, but dermatologists or plastic surgeons can remove a very noticeable scar and leave behind a small scar that will fade with time.
A healthcare provider can also lift the scar by loosening the fibers beneath it to help bring it closer to the surface so it’s less noticeable. This procedure is called subcision.
Best for: Deep depressed scars and raised scars.
Acne scars can be frustrating, but there are many treatments that can make them less noticeable. Most scars are permanent, but a healthcare provider can help you find the right treatment to help reduce the appearance of your scars.
The best way to treat an acne scar is to prevent it in the first place.
You’re less ly to develop acne scars if you break out less. Avoid picking, popping, or squeezing any breakout, no matter how tempting, to prevent irritating the skin and damaging the underlying tissue, which can lead to scars.