Acne scars are often a lifelong reminder of previous acne embarrassment and difficulty. Fortunately, the expert dermatologists at Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY know there are several key treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Learn how to get rid of acne scars with acne scar treatments before you schedule your initial consultation.
What Can a Professional Do to Help Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Dermatologists have access to dozens of treatments that can be used to address different types of acne scars and post-accounting marks. Between aesthetic treatments and prescription-strength at-home skincare products, a dermatologist can significantly improve your skin condition, usually with long-lasting results.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Aesthetic Treatments
To get rid of acne scars with aesthetic treatments, you will first need to attend a consultation with a dermatologist, who will examine the condition of your skin. Some aesthetic treatments for acne scarring are only appropriate for those who have certain skin types or skin tones, with laser treatments being the most selective for potential patients. The most common aesthetic treatments include:
A CO2 laser can help resurface the skin to get rid of moderate to severe acne scarring. A CO2 laser is moderately ablative, which means that it will stimulate the skin’s natural production of collagen, fibrin, and elastin to restore the smooth surface of the skin. CO2 lasers are typically most appropriate for acne scarring that has not responded to more conservative treatments.
LED light therapy is a skin-friendly, non-invasive aesthetic treatment that can significantly improve certain types of pigmented scarring. The anti-inflammatory properties of red LED light can fade the appearance of dark spots. Furthermore, the low red wavelength light may also improve textural scars and other concerns, such as wrinkles.
For mild to moderate acne scarring, microneedling is often a go-to treatment. Microneedling works by creating micro-injuries that stimulate your body’s rejuvenation response, specifically with the production of collagen. By inducing more collagen in the deeper dermal layers of the skin, acne scar divots and pits can be corrected over time. Furthermore, microneedling treatments are also easy to maintain for long-term treatment plans.
Chemical peels can also be used to treat both pigmented and mild textural acne scars. In particular, rolling scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation respond very well to chemical peels. This resurfacing treatment can be used frequently to manage active acne and also promote mild collagen production to correct visible scarring.
Finally, a dermatologist may recommend dermal fillers as an aesthetic treatment to reduce acne scarring. Typically, dermal fillers are only recommended for scars that do not respond to collagen induction treatments, such as microneedling and laser treatments. Dermal fillers create artificial volume in the skin to smooth the skin surface.
Which of These Treatments Are Ideal for Your Acne Scarring?
Selecting the aesthetic treatment that is ideal for your scarring concerns will depend on the severity of your scarring. Generally, dermatologists recommend the gentlest and most conservative aesthetic treatments initially to address acne scars. However, if your skin does not respond to a gentler treatment, a more advanced treatment, such as laser therapy, will be recommended. Some people may also need to combine different aesthetic treatments to treat different types of acne scars.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Skincare Products
There may be some skincare products you can use every day to improve the look of acne scars. However, to be clear, the at-home products used for acne scarring are generally only effective for post-acne marks, such as post-inflammatory erythema (pink spots) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots). A dermatologist may recommend the following active ingredients to target pigmented acne scarring:
Most dermatologists view retinol as a first-line defense for treating acne and acne scarring. Retinol is well known for its ability to turn over new skin cells, which can drastically improve the appearance of mild textural scarring and most types of hyperpigmentation. Prescription-strength retinol is strong enough to smooth the appearance of some box car and rolling scars as well.
Vitamin C and Vitamin K
A dermatologist may recommend a high concentration of vitamin C or vitamin K serums as part of your skincare routine to address pigmented acne scars. Both of these vitamins are known for skin brightening, which makes them an ideal option to address post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
A dermatologist may also prescribe a prescription-strength azelaic acid to reduce visible scarring. This acid is very effective for post-acne marks because the azelaic acid turns over new skin cells to reduce inflammation and hyperpigmentation. This acid also works to prevent melanin synthesis, which means that it disrupts your skin’s ability to produce darker skin pigments and can prevent visible scarring in the future for people who still have active acne.
When your skin is exposed to UV rays, sunlight can trigger melanin production on inflamed skin, which can make dark spots develop. Not protecting your skin with sunscreen when you have post-acne marks can also make these dark spots last longer.
Should These Products Be Part of Your At-Home Skincare Routine?
When you are visiting the dermatologist to address your visible acne scarring, your at-home skincare routine will be a huge part of the conversation. After all, the skincare products you use every day can maintain your desired results after using aesthetic treatments such as lasers, micro-needling, and chemical peels. Incorporating some of these skincare ingredients will enhance the results of your aesthetic treatments as well.
How Quickly Do Acne Scar Treatments Work?
Treatments for acne scars don’t work overnight, which usually means it will take several weeks or months to see any significant improvements in the texture or tone of your skin. In general, treating post-acne marks is slightly easier than treating textural acne scarring since turning over new skin cells is a much simpler process than stimulating new collagen production. With consistent treatments, you may be able to achieve optimal results in around six months for the most severe acne scarring.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
The number of treatments required for your treatment plan will ultimately depend on the specific acne scar treatment being used. For laser treatments, it’s common to need at least three to six appointments to achieve optimal results, while a treatment such as microneedling may take as many as 10 treatments to address severe acne scars.
Some treatments you may want to use on an ongoing basis, such as chemical peels, especially if you continue to have mild to moderate acne breakouts or pigmentation concerns. It may also be necessary to maintain your results with annual appointments to ensure collagen production remains steady.
Can You Use These Treatments With Active Acne?
One of the delays people encounter with treating acne scarring is the continuance of active acne breakouts. If you still have breakouts and inflammation, you may not be able to use advanced aesthetic techniques to reduce acne scars, such as laser treatments.
Your dermatologist can work with you to create a treatment plan for at-home skincare products to control oil production and reduce acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Products such as prescription-strength retinol and azelaic acid can both be used to address acne scarring and active acne at the same time.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Whether you have mild or severe acne scarring, you are likely a good candidate as long as you have your active acne under control. Your eligibility for individual acne scar treatments will depend on your unique health history, the medications you are taking, the severity of your acne, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The best candidates for acne scar treatments are those who are committed to preventing acne scars in the future.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars? Talk to a Dermatologist
If you want to learn how to get rid of acne scars, then you will need to have a one-on-one discussion with a dermatologist who can help you build an effective treatment plan. Whether you want to rely solely on aesthetic treatments to address acne scars or you want to incorporate skincare products into your routine, there is a treatment for acne scars that is ideal for your skin type. Contact Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to schedule a consultation.