Acne is a very common skin condition, and unfortunately, acne scarring is also a common result of this condition. Most acne scarring can stay on your skin for days, weeks, months, and even years for very severe scarring. Luckily, there are several treatments for acne scars to explore at Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY. Learn about all of your treatment options before you schedule a consultation.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Several effective treatments can be used to address acne scars. The treatment that will be most appropriate for you will be determined by a dermatologist during a consultation appointment. Your skin will be analyzed, particularly any active acne you have and the specific type of acne scarring you have. The most common treatments used for acne scarring include:
Light and Laser Treatments
Both light treatments and laser treatments are ideal for acne scarring, although each of these treatments will address a different type of acne scar. For example, LED light therapy and photodynamic therapy can both address hyperpigmentation caused by inflammatory acne, whereas laser treatments typically resurface the skin to stimulate collagen and restructure the skin surface.
Chemical peels are often used to address both textural and pigmented acne scarring. Chemical peels work by gently resurfacing the skin to exfoliate old dead skin cells that may be blemished with hyperpigmentation or structural irregularities. Most people can use light or medium chemical peels to correct visible acne scarring.
As a note, chemical peels can also sometimes be used to manage acne breakouts. If you’re currently struggling with mild to moderate active acne, especially oily skin, blackheads, whiteheads, and enlarged pores, this treatment can promote healthier cellular turnover and improve the condition of your skin.
Several aesthetic facials can also be used to address acne scarring. Dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, and other resurfacing skin treatments can exfoliate affected layers of skin cells to reduce hyperpigmentation, post-inflammatory erythema, and shallow acne scarring. These facials may be an ideal option for people who are not compatible with laser treatments, light treatments, or chemical peels for any reason.
Some topical medications may also be prescribed to you by a dermatologist to address pigmented scars and mild shallow scarring. The most common medication is a topical retinoid, which can turn over new skin cells and stimulate mild collagen production, which will then improve the overall texture and pigment of the skin. Some of these topical medications can also be used to manage active acne conditions.
Acne Scars 101
People have many questions about acne scarring, including what causes scars, whether scars will go away naturally, and if there’s anything you can do to prevent scars from developing. For example, does everyone get acne scarring after a breakout? Not always.
Your likelihood of developing a scar after acne will truly depend on your skin type, skin tone, the type of acne you had, how long the acne lasted, and even your genetics. You will generally be able to assess whether acne scarring is genetic by looking at your closest blood relatives. If your mother or father has acne scarring, likely, you will also be at a higher risk of scarring.
Acne Scarring vs Post-Acne Marks
It’s important to understand the distinction between true acne scarring and post-acne marks. In general, acne scarring is a textural skin issue that creates divots or depressions on the skin. Acne scarring goes by many names, including ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars. Textural acne scarring tends to develop on areas of the skin where there are deeper layers of skin cells, fat, and collagen.
Post-acne marks, on the other hand, are a type of inflammatory hyperpigmentation response that occurs in areas where you’ve had acne breakouts. Post-acne marks either develop as dark spots from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or pink spots from post-inflammatory erythema. Post-acne marks typically only affect the upper layers of the skin and are sometimes easier to treat than true acne scarring.
Does Scarring Go Away Naturally?
Many people hope that acne scarring will go away naturally, but this is not always the case. For example, textural acne scarring tends to stick around for several months or years, and many people in their 40s and 50s continue to have textural acne scars from their youth. On the other hand, post-acne marks may gradually fade over time as new skin cells are turned over.
However, how well you can take care of your skin and avoid sun contact will determine how easily post-acne marks can fade by themselves. Overall, whether you have textural scars or post-acne marks, you will generally need to use a combination of skin care products, good skincare habits, and aesthetic treatments to get rid of scars.
Can You Do Anything to Prevent Scarring?
Ideally, the easiest way to get rid of scars from acne is to prevent acne scarring from developing altogether. Fortunately, there are many methods you can use to prevent scarring, even if you have sensitive skin or you are prone to hyperpigmentation. The best methods to prevent scarring include:
Control Your Breakouts
First and foremost, whether you want to treat acne scarring or you want to prevent acne scarring, you will need to control your acne breakouts. If you are still having active acne breakouts, you will always be at risk for developing new acne scarring.
To control your breakouts, you will need to find a skincare regimen with active acne-fighting skincare products to minimize acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin, control oil production, and turnover new skin cells. If you aren’t sure how to control your breakouts, you can always discuss your skin concerns with a dermatologist. Together, you can create a treatment plan that will address active acne and acne scarring at the same time.
Use Sun Screen
Another way to prevent acne scarring is by using sunscreen regularly, especially on days when you plan to spend a lot of time outside. Using sunscreen on skin that is sensitive to inflammation associated with acne is the best way to prevent hyperpigmentation. You will also want to use sunscreen when you are using any treatment for acne scarring, including topical products, since many of these treatment methods will cause hypersensitivity to the sun.
Don’t Pick At Your Skin
Finally, you should not pick at your skin when you have an active acne breakout. Although it’s tempting to get rid of a bit of dry skin or pop a zit, these are activities that can disrupt the collagen production in your skin, spread more bacteria, and increase inflammation, all of which can make your skin condition much worse. Using pimple patches on active acne is a good way to break the habit of picking at your skin, which can then prevent scarring in the first place.
Are Some Skincare Products Good for Reducing Scarring?
Many skincare products are ideal for reducing acne scarring. Although prescription-strength retinol is the most common topical treatment used for acne scarring, there are also over-the-counter products you may want to consider to gently turn over new skin cells, brighten the skin, and reduce inflammation. Some of these skincare products can include azelaic acid, niacinamide, witch hazel, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid.
Can You Combine Skincare With Aesthetic Treatments?
You can combine at-home skincare with aesthetic treatments. Combining everyday skincare products that contain skin nutrients with aesthetic treatments is the best way to promote a healthier, even-toned complexion. If you aren’t sure what skincare products you should be using with your aesthetic treatments, please discuss your over-the-counter options with your dermatologist.
Are You a Good Candidate for Scar Removal Treatments?
Candidates for acne scar treatments include anyone who has mild, moderate, to severe acne scarring, particularly scars that are not fading over time. Depending on the treatment being used, you may not be able to address acne scarring if you have active acne breakouts, skin infections, or if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
Get Rid of Acne Scarring Today
Acne scarring can be frustrating and embarrassing, but there are several treatment options you can explore that will improve the overall appearance of your skin. Whether you have post-acne marks or true acne scarring, a dermatologist can help you create an effective treatment plan. If you’re interested in any of these treatments, get in touch with Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to schedule your first appointment today.