While in most cases acne tends to clear up and disappear, sometimes acne will leave behind a scar. However, there are ways to kick these acne scars to the curb. But remember, you’re a cutie no matter what.
If you’ve tackled bouts of acne and came out on top, it may feel like the battle has been won. However, the truth is that so many blemishes leave their mark on your skin long after the breakout has gone away. Red patches of pigmentation and pitted scars can stick around for months and in some cases, years.
If you happen to be someone battling these scars, take a deep breath.There are some useful tactics you can employ to smooth your way back to dewy and bright, skin.
What Exactly are Acne Scars?
First things first, what are acne scars, anyway? Sometimes, they’re just a part of the journey.
More technically speaking, acne scars are marks left behind after the acne itself has gone away. It’s pretty common to have scarring. Some 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will get acne, and one in five of those people will develop scars.
A popping treatment can help to make them less noticeable but before you try to treat your acne scars, it’s important to know what type they are.
Types of Acne Scars
Acne can leave different types of scars on your skin depending on what kind it is and how you take care of it.
There are quite a few types of acne scars, but keep reading to peep of the most common ones
The best way to describe icepick scars are as itty-bitty depressions in your skin. That almost look like someone took a tiny needle and punctured your skin repeatedly. They can look like small oval or round holes, kinda like a chickenpox scar. Of all the acne scars, these are the most difficult to treat because they can extend super deep under the surface of the skin.
Okay so boom.If your skin has wave or rolling scars, chances are you’ve got rolling acne scars. These types of scars can look almost like tiny saucers and usually give the skin a wavy texture. Rolling scars tend to be wide and shallow (caused by damage under the surface) with soft and smooth edges.
When you struggle with inflammatory acne (red, inflamed, irritated pustules and papules), boxcar scars are a common result. It’s life.They tend to be shallow scars, but they have sharper edges, unlike the softer, rounder edges of rolling scars. Boxcar scars look almost like someone pushed the tip of their fingernail directly into your skin, forming a U-shaped depression.
Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids
Some types of acne leave behind scars that appear as enlarged, raised growths of tissue. These acne scars, which include both hypertrophic scars and keloids, are caused by too much scar tissue. These mounds form as a result of the body trying to heal itself post-inflammation, but your body accidentally produced too many cells (oops!), leaving behind a discolored and raised bump. Hypertrophic scars and keloids are essentially the same, but keloids are often much larger.
Causes of Acne Scars
Now that you understand exactly what acne scars are, you might be wondering, how the heck does acne cause scars in the first place? Well, let’s get into it.
Your skin is your largest organ and has three main layers. Starting with the outermost layer, they are: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Together, these layers protect your fragile insides from the elements, from bacteria to UV rays, and everything in between. Additionally, thanks to sunlight, they also help to produce good ol' vitamin D .
Acne scars are the result of inflammation of acne. The acne pore swells, and a breakdown occurs in the wall of the pore. Some acne bouts are really minor, and the scars that follow are often shallow and heal quickly.
However, in some cases, the contents of acne spill into the surrounding tissue, causing deeper scars. Your skin’s first response is to repair the scar by forming new collagen fibers. Sometimes it’s just like that.
Acne scars have one of two effects: either a scar develops when there is a loss of tissue, resulting in a small indentation in the surface of the skin (icepick, boxcar, rolling); or a scar develops that is raised on the surface of the skin (hypertrophic scars and keloids). This type of acne scar, in fact, is a sign that your skin is doing its job, but perhaps, too well. Ugh, right?
You see, your skin creates collagen (“repair tissue”) to help heal the wound (the acne), but if it makes too much collagen, raised scars form.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because you might have acne, that doesn’t exactly mean that you’ll develop scars, or even get them in the first place. And if you do, it’s cool. Treatments are available.
How to Treat Acne Scars
So you have acne scars and you want to kick them to the curb. We totally get it. The scars that acne leaves behind can be frustrating. Acne scars are not anything new and thanks to years of research, there are several incredible ways to reduce the appearance of them.
Let’s kick off with the “in-office procedure” approach.
Arguably one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scars, dermabrasion is effective for scars close to the surface, like shallow rolling or boxcar scars.
Okay friends, this in-office procedure works by removing the top layer of the skin. Treatment typically has a much faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments. However, you have to keep the area covered with a bandage until it’s completely, like 100%, healed. No exceptions. Laser resurfacing is not a good option for those who still deal with breakouts and it’s not as effective on darker skin tones.
This newer, yet extremely popular treatment, uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller or “pen” on the surface of scars. The needles gently puncture the numbed skin, but don’t go through it like a shot. As the skin heals, it will naturally begin to make collagen.
There is quite a bit of evidence that microneedling helps reduce the depth of acne scars but this treatment can take up to nine months to actually see any changes. Outside of the slight fear factor of, well, you know, the whole needle thing, it’s a safe treatment that works well for all skin tones.
If the in-office procedure approach is not really your thing, there are also a few amazing at-home methods you can try.
Containing a natural alpha-hydroxy acid that’s rich in vitamin C (helps rebuild collagen), lemons work miracles and reduce the appearance of scars, brightening the skin. It’s as simple as applying fresh lemon juice directly to your acne scars and leaving it to work its magic for about fifteen minutes before rinsing it off. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
At-Home Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is a strong acid that’s used to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scarring. You can go see your dermatologist about getting one of these, as they can provide a much stronger solution, but expect redness and a little bit of peeling for the next three to seven days after the procedure — ouch! With a little bit of guidance, you can create your very own chemical peel at home that is a little gentler on the skin but still effective at kicking your acne scars’ derriere.
With its skin-soothing properties, aloe vera is bursting with vitamins that can help your skin to heal itself. It’s also gentle enough to use on the severest of scars and the most sensitive skins. It also moistens, helping to keep your skin soft and ready for whatever.
Okay, what about over-the-counter treatments?
If you do a quick search on Google, you’ll find a sea of topical treatments all claiming to tackle acne scars. But the truth is, not all products are created equal.
When you’re on the hunt for a product, look for a top-notch acne scar solution that is science-backed and dermatologist-approved, like the products found right here at Topicals.
Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare. We’re the new standard: medicated botanicals.
With your skin in mind, Topicals uses only the best ingredients and herbs that work with your skin — not against it — to help combat acne scars.
Everybody wants perfect skin, but the truth is that there’s no such thing. Whether it’s laugh lines, wrinkles, or acne scars, life is fluid and messy af. That’s the fun!
Topicals believes in making the world a healthier and happier place by providing real information and top-notch products that actually work.
So, while we believe that you’re perfect just the way you are, if you want to soften those acne scars, our gel serum Faded can help!