Active breakouts are frustrating enough, but the scars acne can leave behind can feel downright diabolical. The good news is that acne scars can be treated.
However, before treatment can start you first have to get rid of any acne once and for all since new breakouts can lead to new acne scars.
Some of the scar treatments below can’t be done alongside typical acne medications, and the inflammation that’s caused by breakouts can also reduce treatment effectiveness.
Scars are formed when a breakout penetrates the skin deeply and damages the tissues beneath it.
Before you try to treat your scars, it’s important to know what type they are. Each type responds to treatment differently, and some treatments are better for particular types than others.
Atrophic or depressed scars
Atrophic scars are most common on the face. A depressed scar sits below the surrounding skin. They’re formed when not enough collagen is made while the wound is healing. There are three types of atrophic scars:
These are wide, U-shaped scars that have sharp edges. They can be shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatments.
Ice pick scars are narrow, V-shaped scars that can go deep into the skin. They can look like small round or oval holes, like a chickenpox scar. These are the most difficult scars to treat because they can extend far under the surface of the skin.
These are wide depressions that typically have rounded edges and an irregular, rolling appearance.
Hypertrophic or raised scars
These scars are most common with chest and back acne. They stand above the surface of the surrounding skin and are caused by too much collagen during healing.
Discoloration left behind after a zit has cleared isn’t a scar. The purple, red, or brown marks will fade over a few months on their own.
Dermabrasion is one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scars. While it uses the same general principle as the microdermabrasion kits you can do at home, healthcare providers use a wire brush or a wheel to more deeply exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
Best for: Scars close to the surface like shallow boxcar or rolling scars. However, deeper scars may also become less noticeable.
These aren’t the kind of face masks you binge watch your favorite guilty pleasure with. A chemical peel is a strong acid that’s used to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scars.
Some chemical peels are mild enough to be used at home, but your healthcare provider can provide a stronger solution with more dramatic results.
There are many different types of chemical peels, so it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about which one is right for you.
Best for: All types of acne scars, often used for deeper scars.
Much like a chemical peel and dermabrasion, laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin. This treatment typically has a faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments.
However, you have to keep the area covered with a bandage until it’s completely healed. This treatment is also not a good option for anyone who’s still getting breakouts, and it’s not as effective on darker skin tones.
Best for: All acne scars and lighter skin tones.
Healthcare providers use fillers to fill in acne scars and help even out the skin. The fillers can be made with collagen, your own fat, or a commercial filler. They’re injected under the surface of the skin to help plump up and smooth out depressed scars.
Most fillers last between 6 and 18 months before they need to be redone, but some are permanent.
Best for: Someone with a small number of boxcar or rolling scars.
This newer treatment uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller or hand held “pen” on the surface of the scars. The needles puncture the numbed skin — but don’t go through it like a shot! As the skin heals, it makes collagen.
There’s evidence to suggest that microneedling helps reduce the depth of acne scars, but this treatment can take up to 9 months to see changes according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Outside of the slight fear factor, it’s a safe treatment that works for all skin tones.
Best for: Depressed acne scars.
There are a few different medications that can be injected into raised scars to help soften and flatten them including corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs fluorouracil (5-FU) and interferons. The injections are usually performed as a series with one every few weeks.
Best for: Raised scars.
Minor in-office surgery
At first brush, it might seem crazy to remove a scar and potentially replace it with a new one, but dermatologists or plastic surgeons can remove a very noticeable scar and leave behind a small scar that will fade with time.
A healthcare provider can also lift the scar by loosening the fibers beneath it to help bring it closer to the surface so it’s less noticeable. This procedure is called subcision.
Best for: Deep depressed scars and raised scars.
Acne scars can be frustrating, but there are many treatments that can make them less noticeable. Most scars are permanent, but a healthcare provider can help you find the right treatment to help reduce the appearance of your scars.
The best way to treat an acne scar is to prevent it in the first place.
You’re less likely to develop acne scars if you break out less. Avoid picking, popping, or squeezing any breakout, no matter how tempting, to prevent irritating the skin and damaging the underlying tissue, which can lead to scars.
Not sure which treatment suits your skin ? Our doctor can help with your treatments. You can book an appointment with our doctor in your area calling or Whatsapp us at 012-9686443.