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Maybe you had major breakouts when you were a teen. Or maybe you had a cystic acne problem as a young adult. Perhaps even pregnancy hormones wreaked havoc on your once-clear complexion.
Whatever the case, acne scars can be a major killjoy, and they can be really tough to get rid of. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with them indefinitely.
Here are the acne scar fixes that will actually work.
First: What Causes Acne Scars?
Acne scars come from cystic, inflamed acne lesions that don’t heal quite as well as the original skin. This can cause a ton of different kinds of scars, including atrophic, icepick, boxcar, and rolling scars.
The key thing to keep in mind here though, is that these surface irregularities won’t heal on their own (unlike acne-related discoloration, which generally will resolve itself with time). Instead, they usually require some kind of resurfacing and collagen to correct the structural deformities and marks in the skin.
Some products and tools that can help resolve acne scars include:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse ingredient that’s known for its ability to reduce signs of aging, repair damaged skin, accelerate collagen synthesis, and correct hyperpigmentation.
It’s also an amazing acne-fighter, meaning that it can actually pre-emptively combat the bacteria that ultimately leads to acne scars.
As part of your skincare regimen, an effective vitamin C moisturizer will help:
Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t going to completely erase deep-set acne scars. It’s not that kind of solution.
Instead, it’s simply a worthwhile addition to your skincare regimen that will help support your larger scar-reducing efforts (and help maintain healthy skin overall).
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), in general, are mild acids that can help get rid of dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. That’s why doctors may often recommend AHAs for treating acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.
Our favorite AHA is glycolic acid. It’s generally considered to be the most effective because it’s the smallest molecule of the bunch and therefore the most easily absorbed. It loosens the intracellular glue that holds your skin together and speeds along the skin shedding process that slows down with age. If you use a great AHA exfoliator regularly as part of your skincare routine, it will:
It will also provide a slew of more general skin benefits, including:
Beyond general skincare, the next step is to incorporate some gentle in-office or in-home treatments to complement your day-to-day routine.
This can include chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Both can help to diminish the appearance of mild scarring and reveal fresh, new skin.
Alternatively, you can try an at-home derma-roller. These handheld devices have a cylindrical head embedded with tiny needles that you roll over your skin. Like micro-needling, they create small wounds in the skin that boost collagen production and allow for vitamin C and glycolic acid to sink in.
If you’re looking for a more intense, ultra-effective option to treat larger acne scars, consider laser treatments.
The best two on the market for acne scar removal? Fraxel 1550 and PicoWay Resolve. Fraxel, on the one hand, creates deep wounds in the skin to stimulate the body to create more collagen and minimize the appearance of scars. It requires some significant downtime, resulting in five days of post-treatment redness, but it requires fewer treatments overall.
PicoWay, on the other hand, has minimal to no downtime but does require more sessions.
Other modalities can be used in combination with laser treatments, including:
Finally, don’t forget about good preventative behavior and a strong overall skincare routine. Don’t ever pick at existing pimples and don’t leave aggressive acne untreated. Also, make sure that your skin is properly hydrated and that you’re addressing underlying bacteria or dryness.