How to get rid of acne scars? Acne is one of the most frustrating things to happen to you but acne scars are the worst thing ever.
The good thing is acne scars can be treated.
Before starting treatments, you need to ensure your acne is gone forever, as new breakouts can lead to new acne scars.
What are acne scars?
Acne scars is inflammation caused by acne blemishes. Acne pores swell and a breakdown occurs in the wall of the pore. The majority of acne blemishes are tiny and the scars created are shallow and heal rapidly. Sometimes however the contents of blemishes spill into the surrounding tissue and cause deeper scars.
Types of acne scars
Suitable treatment options may vary, depending on the type of acne scarring that has been caused.
Here are the three main types of acne scars:
These scars appear as small depressions in the skin.
- Ice-pick scars are small scars that look like pinpricks
- Boxcar scars are bigger indentations with clear edges
- Rolling scars have unclear edges and give the skin a rolling or undulating appearance
Acne appears when the skin does not make enough fibroblasts during the healing process.
Fibroblasts are cells with the purpose of wound healing and collagen production.
These occur when the skin makes too many fibroblasts as the acne spots heal, causing raised scars.
These scars are similar to hypertrophic scars but are thicker than the original acne spot.
There is often hyperpigmentation, making them darker than the surrounding skin.
They may be red or brown, there may also be itching or pain.
Acne scars or hyperpigmentation
Acne scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can both occur after a breakout, but they are both actually very different from each other.
There are different approaches required when it comes to fading them.
Acne scars are usually formed when too much collagen forms in a particular spot while a wound is healing. The scar often develops within the dermis, where the original acne-induced inflammation formed.
When someone has cystic acne, there is a higher chance of them having rolling or boxcar acne scars, especially if they are picked at before they are ready or too aggressively.
Acne scars are caused by touching and squeezing spots. This tends to damage small veins, glands, and tissue surrounding the spots which creates scarring.
Unlike acne scarring, post-inflammatory pigmentation is simply a form of skin pigmentation (like sun damage), which occurs as a result of trauma to the skin. As it does not damage the follicles, it is not considered a true form of scarring.
Certain skin types and skin tones are more likely to experience post-acne redness. Darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation because of the higher levels of melanin in their skin. This means whenever there is any trauma, the melanin cells quickly leap into action to produce more melanin to defend and protect against the trauma.
The good thing is when it comes to getting rid of acne scars and pigmentation, there are multiple promising options available, from professional treatment options to at-home hacks.
If you are looking to get rid of rolling, boxcar, or ice-pick scarring, the solution most likely lies in a salon.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation will fade on its own over time, but there are options both in a salon or at home to help speed it up.
Atrophic acne scars or depressed scars
Atrophic acne scars are the most common on the face. Depressed scars sit below the surrounding skin. They are formed when there is limited collagen while the wound is healing.
There are three types of atrophic scars:
These are wide, U-shaped that have sharp edges. They can be shallow or deep. Shallow ones better to skin resurfacing treatments. Microdermabrasion and gentle peels are great for almost any skin type.
Laser resurfacing has to be done cautiously because of more scarring and pigmentary changes in darker skin tones, like post-inflammatory pigmentation. It is better to retreat darker skin types with a four percent hydroquinone for at least 4-6 weeks prior to starting the treatments.
Ice pick scars are narrow, V-shaped scars that can go deep into the skin. They look like small round holes, like a chickenpox scar. They are the most difficult scars to treat because they can extend far under the surface of the skin.
These are wide indentations that typically have rounded edges and an irregular, rolling appearance.
Hypertrophic scars or raised scars
These scars are the most common with chest and back acne. They are raised above the surface of the surrounding skin and are caused by over production of collagen during healing.
Discoloration left behind after a spot has cleared is not a scar. The purple, red, or brown marks will fade in time on their own.
Before you start any treatment for acne scars, it is important to see a dermatologist or a health care professional. They can help determine the best method to reduce the appearance of your scars and they will make sure the marks on your skin are actually scars and not another skin condition.
The common age for acne
Acne commonly starts during puberty between the ages of 10-13 and tends to be worse on oily skin.
Teenage acne tends to live for five to ten years, normally it will go away in the early stages of your 20s.
It occurs in both genders, although teenage boys tend to get worse cases than teenage girls.
Why do my acne scars look worse some days?
Your acne scars may look worse some days depending on the location of the scar, acne scars can appear more severe as you grow older because of the collagen depletion in the skin. Depressed acne scars or atrophic acne scarring will usually look worse as your skin loses natural volume as a part of the natural aging process.
DNA also plays a role in your scars. Your genes can determine how well your skin heals, the amount of collagen produced, and the depth of the acne lesions also controls the severity of the scars.
However, you can make the scarring worse by smoking, squeezing the acne and picking at it.
Causes of acne
Acne is a hypersensitivity of the sebaceous glands. Hormones, bacteria, and inflammation can lead to acne lesions appearing across the skin.
Causes of acne may also include:
- Certain medications, such as lithium, steroids, and anticonvulsants
- Restrictive clothing, like shoulder pads, underwired bras and headbands
- Endocrine disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Smoking, especially in older individuals
Many people use natural remedies to clear up acne scars.
However, the science behind them is not clear.
Some may cause irritation or other problems so people should use with caution.
Home remedies that have been used to treat acne scars are:
- Black seed oil, which may help even out skin pigmentation
- Rosehip oil, which helps reduce discoloration in post-surgical scars
- Honey, which might help would healing and reduce future scarring
- Aloe vera, which, combined with Manuka honey, may promote scar-free healing wounds
- Tea tree oil, which helps reduce the swelling and redness because of its anti-inflammatory properties
- CBD based oils and creams
Lifestyle changes for acne
Avoid touching pimples
It can be very tempting but touching your acne sores will irritate the skin, may make them worse and can spread them to other areas.
Choosing the right cleanser.
Many regular soaps have acidity, or pH, that is too high and can irritate the skin, making your acne worse.
Choose a mild cleanser, rinses, and washes to reduce the risk of acne flare-ups and more importantly let sores heal.
Using Oil Free Skin Care
Oil based products can block pores, increasing the risk of clogged and growing acne sores.
Look for skin care that is labelled "oil-free" or "noncomedogenic", which have ingredients that allows your pores to breathe.
Stress levels can cause levels of the hormone androgen to increase. Androgen is what stimulates hair follicles and oil glands in pores, increasing the risk of acne.
Tips for managing stress levels:
- Talk to your friends, family or other supportive people
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Practice deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness or mediation
- Use CBD based products to help manage stress naturally
How to treat acne scars
There are various over the counter treatment options to help reduce the appearance of acne scars. Products containing the following ingredients may be useful.
Remember over the counter products are unlikely to fully remove or flatten raised scars.
Salicylic acid is naturally occurring and is often found in acne skin care products. Salicylic acid peels help clear dirt from the skin cells, and other dirt that leads to acne from the pores.
Using a product that contains 30% salicylic acid and applying it three to five times a week for 3-4 weeks. It is unlikely to cause hyperpigmentation therefore it is safe for darker skin tones to use,
It also may help reduce swelling and redness in the affected areas, which may limit the appearance of the scarring.
Some retinoids products may help get rid of acne scar. It blocks inflammation, reduced acne lesions, and speed up cell regeneration.
It can also help lighten hyper-pigmented acne scars, including those with darker skin tones.
It is important to note retinoids can make skin sensitive to the sun. So anyone that uses it has to make sure they wear sun cream.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can help increase the rate that the skin renews its cells. Doctors may recommend AHAs for treating acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.
AHAs are a mild form of acid that scrapes away the outer layer of the skin to reveal flesh, new skin underneath. This process may help reduce hyperpigmentation because of scarring.
Swelling, burning and itching may occur at high concentrations. It is best to speak to a doctor before taking AHAs.
Lactic acid is a type of AHA. It can act as a delicate peel to strip away dead skin cells. It may help reduce the appearance of scars and smooth the skin.
Lactic acid has been shown to help lighten dark scar tissue, although it can cause hyperpigmentation as well. It is best to test products that have lactic acid in them on a small patch of skin before using it to treat acne scars.
Silicone dressing may help reduce the appearance and size of acne scars. They may do this by providing hydration. They also help reduce itching and pain and increase the flexibility of the skin.
Medical ways of treating acne scars
Some medical treatments may help reduce acne scars.
A dermatologist will recommend a suitable procedure or combination of procedures depending on your skin type.
Options may be:
A dermatologist may recommend a type of peel that is suitable for a person's skin type, acne severity and scarring.
A chemical peel called trichloroacetic had at least 70% improvement on people's acne scarring.
Other chemical peels may be less effective. For example 25% of those who used glycolic acid did not see any reduction in the appearance of scars.
Injections of corticosteroids may help soften and flatten raised scar tissue if a person has hypertrophic or keloid scar types.
The treatment typically involves a series of injections. A dermatologist can do these injections in the dermatologist's office once every few weeks, monitoring the results.
In some cases, dermatologists may suggest soft tissue fillers to treat atrophic acne scars. They may be particularly helpful for rolling and boxcar scars.
- Collagen-based products
- Hyaluronic acid
- Poly-L-lactic acid
Depending on the filler, a person may need multiple treatments after a few months. Hyaluronic acid lasts around 3 months, nut silicon and polyacrylamide may never need replacing.
Micro needling is carried out by inserting tiny needles into the skin surrounding the scar to stimulate the body to make more collagen. This collagen may reduce the appearance of atrophic scars by smoothing the skin.
Micro needling may cause some side effects such as redness, pain and inflammation after the treatment.
Laser treatments resurfaces the skin without the use of chemical or scrubs. It removes the top layer of the skin to reveal the new skin cells underneath, which may help reduce the appearance of scarring.
If other treatments do not help, surgery can remove raised acne scars. Surgery alone may not be enough to solve the problem, the doctor may advise further treatments.
But why not try a non-invasive routine of applying our CBD based topical Korasana Wound & Scar Cream.