Nobody wants to live with acne scars on their face. It can feel embarrassing and exposing. In many cases, it might even make you feel self-conscious and unwilling to be social in new settings. But what if you could do something about it?
What Are Acne Scars?
In order to treat acne scars, you have to understand what they are. And in order to understand acne scars, you have to get familiar with your skin.
Your skin, which is the largest organ in the body, has three main layers. There’s the epidermis (outermost layer), dermis (middle layer), and hypodermis (innermost layer). Each layer protects the skin from outside elements like UV rays and bacteria. And any area that has sebaceous glands is prone to acne.
“Acne scars are the result of inflammation of acne blemishes. The acne pore swells and a breakdown occurs in the wall of the pore,” Cleveland Clinic explains. “Some acne blemishes are small and the scars created are shallow and heal quickly. Sometimes the contents of blemishes spill into the surrounding tissue and cause deeper scars. The skin’s response is to repair the scar by forming new collagen fibers.”
There are two main types of acne scars:
- A scar develops where there’s a loss of tissue. This results in an indentation in the skin’s surface. These are typically referred to as “pitted” or “ice pick” scars.
- A scar develops on top of the surface and results in a raised bump. This happens when your skin creates collagen (repair tissue) but makes too much of it.
Acne scars aren’t necessarily common, but they aren’t rare either. Cleveland Clinic estimates that one in five people with acne will have some scarring. But even if you’re one of these people, there’s good news: not all acne scarring is permanent.
6 Acne Scar Treatment Options
When it comes to treating acne scars, you have plenty of options. And while we’re going to outline several of the most common solutions, please note that some of these procedures require a certain amount of skill. Be sure to consult with an experienced dermatologist specializing in acne treatment.
With that being said, here are several treatment options:
1. Soft Tissue Fillers
If you have indented scars or ice pick scars, soft tissue fillers can help plump the skin over this area. It works by injecting collagen, fat, or some other substance into the area.
Effective treatments will make the scars less noticeable. Unfortunately, the results are fairly temporary and repeat treatments are needed for continued results.
2. Laser Resurfacing
Laser treatments resurface the skin without the need for scrubs or chemicals. They work by removing the top layer of skin, revealing the younger skin cells underneath.
This reduces the appearance of scarring and encourages healing. (While this is a very effective option, it’s not ideal for those with sensitive skin.)
This is an option for those with severe scarring. With this treatment, the doctor removes the top layer of the skin using a rotating brush or device. This can totally eliminate surface scars and/or make deeper scars appear less noticeable.
4. Chemical Peels
With this method, your dermatologist applies a specific chemical solution to the scar tissue. This solution removes the top layer of the skin and minimizes the appearance of scars over time.
While you can only ever perform one deep peel, mild and medium peels can be done with some frequency to provide improving and sustained results.
5. Skin Needling
With this procedure, your doctor uses a needle roller on the scarred tissue. The device is repeatedly rolled over the scar to stimulate collagen formation.
This is a very safe and simple technique that produces compounding results over time. You can even purchase your own at-home needling device for periodic treatments.
6. Natural Remedies
If you’re looking for natural remedies to help clear surface acne scars, there are several ingredients that have traditionally worked well. This includes shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, raw honey, lemon juice, and baking soda.
Learn to Love Your Skin
At the end of the day, some acne scarring is treatable and other scarring is very difficult to heal. We definitely recommend being proactive and pursuing every treatment option available. However, you also must learn to love your skin.