Scars of any kind are difficult to deal with, but acne scars are especially persistent. For many, the challenge of acne scars can make you self-conscious about your image. Fortunately, at Metro Dermatology in New York, we know that there are many remedies to get rid of acne scars.
What Is the Best Way To Get Rid of Acne Scars?
When it’s time to get rid of acne scars, you will have several treatment options to choose from based on your skin tone, skin type, and the type of acne scar you are treating. Some of the best ways to get rid of acne scars include topical treatments, laser treatments, dermal fillers, and aesthetic facials.
Topical treatments for acne scars are prescription creams and ointments that are designed to address superficial concerns related to scarring. For example, a dermatologist may prescribe a medical-grade retinoid to turnover skin cells and enhance the overall appearance of your skin. Over time, strong retinoid treatments can reduce the appearance of shallow acne scars and pigmented scars.
Your dermatologist may also recommend topical prescriptions such as skin lightening creams or other products that can be used to promote a more even tone, calm redness in the face, or address other health concerns for your skin. A skin analysis is the best way to determine which treatment is most appropriate for you.
Lasers are an increasingly popular choice to reduce the appearance of acne scars. In fact, for many, lasers are an ideal treatment option because lasers can effectively resurface the skin to remove all types of acne scars at one time. Lasers and light therapy can be an excellent option if you have moderate to severe scarring, or you’re dealing with multiple types of acne scars.
Fillers are often considered a last resort treatment for acne scars that have not responded to tropical or laser treatments. Using a dermal filler on acne scars is most appropriate when you have a deep scar that does not produce collagen to restore the even texture of the skin. A filler can increase collagen or skin volume in a localized area for several months.
Facials may also be an option to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Specifically, chemical peels can be used to reduce pigmented scars. Facials may be a good option if you have mild to moderate scarring that does not affect the texture of your skin. Facials may also be used in conjunction with treatments such as fillers or topicals.
Types of Acne Scars
When it’s time to select the acne treatment that is most appropriate for you, the type of acne scar you have will be the biggest factor to be considered. There are four main types of acne scars that can be separated into two categories: pigmented scars and textural scars.
Pigmented Scars: PIH and PIE
For pigmented scars, the two main forms are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory erythema. PIH is most commonly associated with dark brown spots that are left after acne has healed and can discolor the skin for several weeks or months.
Post-inflammatory erythema, on the other hand, is more common than PIH and is characterized by the pink or red spots leftover in areas where acne has caused inflammation on the skin. PIE will generally last for several weeks, but only affects the superficial layer of the skin.
Textural Scars: Atrophic and Hypertrophic
For textural scars, atrophic and hypertrophic scars are more challenging to correct because they are both associated with collagen production. Atrophic scarring, such as boxcar scars, rolling scars, and ice pick scars, are caused by a lack of collagen in the skin. This scarring occurs when inflammation caused by acne breaks the follicle wall deep within the dermal layer and disrupts the production of collagen.
Hypertrophic scars, such as keloids, are raised scars that disrupt the smooth surface of the skin. Treating a hypertrophic scar requires a slightly different approach, as the goal of these scars will be to remove excess collagen that is causing raised tissue.
Do Scars Go Away Naturally?
For many people who have acne, there is always hope that some acne scars will go away by themselves. The good news is that there are some types of mild to moderate scars that may be able to fade over time. For example, post-inflammatory erythema will go away after several weeks, while post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may take several months to fade completely.
That said, atrophic scarring and hypertrophic scarring usually don’t get better with time. These scars may get worse as you age and as collagen production within your skin changes. More likely than not, you will need the help of an acne scar treatment to improve the appearance of your skin.
Why You Must Resolve Acne First
Before you can do anything to address acne scarring, you must get control of your acne breakouts. Many treatments for acne scarring are only possible if you are no longer having breakouts because of the resurfacing nature of the treatments. For example, using laser treatments on an area that has active acne can make your skin condition worse.
If you still have active acne, and you want to address acne scars, a dermatologist will need to build a treatment plan so that you can finally control your breakouts and start correcting the tone and texture of your skin.
Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid
Acids can be very helpful for addressing acne concerns. When you use acids regularly on your skin, you can regulate oil production and cellular turnover, both of which can reduce the frequency of breakouts. Salicylic acid is often added to acne cleansers and toners to exfoliate the skin. Glycolic acid may also be included in acne treatment products, specifically products that are formulated for people who have sensitive skin.
Benzoyl peroxide is the number one product that is used to address mild to moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide is most effective for acne that develops pimples above the skin surface since this ingredient kills acne-causing bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide is usually used as topical ointment at least once a day.
Many dermatologists will recommend a retinoid as a first line of defense against acne breakouts. While retinoids are commonly used to reduce acne scarring, they can also be used to improve active acne. Retinoids work by accelerating the cellular turnover cycle, which can exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells that may cause clogged pores. Retinoids can penetrate the skin deeply enough that they can also be effective for cystic-type acne.
Finally, Accutane may be recommended for those who are not responding to more conservative treatments. Accutane is an oral treatment that is taken to reduce the production of oil in the skin. By reducing oil production, the condition of your skin will gradually improve over time. Usually, Accutane is only taken for six months, and it may be combined with oral antibiotics.
What Else Do You Need To Know?
There may be a few things you will need to do before you can get rid of acne scars. In addition to stopping acne breakouts, you may also need to prepare for your acne scar treatments. Additionally, if you have taken Accutane in the last six months, you may not be able to use laser treatment or chemical peels for at least six months to a year.
It’s also important to understand that after any treatment you use to address acne scars, it’s vital to use sunscreen every day. For example, topical creams and laser treatments can both cause photosensitivity, which means it’s easier for your skin to produce melanin when it makes contact with the sun. By wearing sunscreen, you can block UV rays and ensure the tone of your skin remains even.
Are You a Good Candidate for Acne Scar Treatments?
Whether you have mild or severe scarring, you are likely a good candidate for acne scar treatments. A skin analysis will be used to assess the state of your active acne, your skin type, and the type of scars you have. From there, recommendations for your acne scar concerns will be made.
Get Rid of Acne Scars Today
Acne scars may be challenging to deal with, but with the right treatment, you can easily get rid of acne scars. The treatment that is recommended for you will be determined by consultation. Please contact Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to schedule your first appointment today.