Published Sept 24, 2020
Acne is a scourge in and of itself. But it usually fades in time. Acne scars, however, are another story.
You see, it’s pretty easy to treat acne. Most of the time, it even just goes away on its own. But getting rid of acne scars can be an uphill battle. There are home remedies, yes. But in certain cases, you may have to get professional help.
If you’ve already won against acne and are now looking to get rid of your “battle scars”, you’ve come to the right place. But before we talk about acne scar treatments, let’s first dig deeper into the science of acne scars.
Why Does Acne Leave Scars?
Acne scars happen when the acne is severe enough to cause lesions on your skin. As you know, acne is caused by blocked pores that swole and got inflamed. Both the swelling and inflammation stretch out your pores which can lead to breakage along its walls. This, in turn, will create lesions. Some of which can be so deep that it causes prominent scars.
But not all acne leave scars. Mild blemishes may leave hyperpigmentation but they’re not technically scars. They’re your skin’s natural reaction to inflammation and it fades over time. Knowing the difference between hyperpigmentation and a full-blown scar can help you treat acne marks more effectively.
Types of Acne Scars
They may all look the same at first glance but acne scars can be classified into four types depending on their appearance, depth, and color.
As the name suggests, rolling scars make your skin look wavy or uneven. The depressions have sloping edges and vary in depth which gives the skin its “rolling” look.
Ice Pick Scars
These type of scars are smaller with narrow indentations that goes deep into your skin. This is usually left by pus-filled acne infections and cysts. Home remedies don’t usually work for this type of acne scar.
Wider than ice pick scars, boxcar scars are set apart by their sharp edges and deep indentations. These scars are often a result of inflammatory breakouts that destroy your skin’s collagen. With no collagen, your skin will lose its structure causing dips in your skin’s surface.
Unlike the previous three, hypertrophic scars do not cause skin depressions. Instead, they protrude out of your skin making them much more prominent. This happens when there is excess tissue build-up in the area where the lesion had once been.
Do Acne Scars Ever Go Away?
Contrary to popular belief, acne scars are not permanent and they usually go away over time.
Remember that our body is capable of healing itself. So when acne lesions destroy your skin tissues, your skin will work overtime to repair it. It produces more collagen to build back the skin’s structure and even out the dips and depressions. Depending on the extent of your scars and your skin’s collagen-producing ability, this may take a long time. This is why acne scars can feel permanent even if they aren’t.
Of course, the right treatment can speed up this process.
Getting Rid of Acne Scars
As mentioned, acne scars are harder to get rid of than the acne itself. But that doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless case. There are a number of treatments and remedies you can do to get back your flawless, acne-free skin.
You may not know it but there are several items in your home you can use to get rid of acne scars such as:
- shea butter: its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce discoloration and acne marks
- lemon and honey: the acidity of lemon paired with the antiseptic properties of honey hasten your body’s healing process.
- baking soda: like the shea butter, baking soda also has anti-inflammatory properties
- coconut oil: it helps keep your skin moist which helps prevent scarring
- turmeric powder: its anti-inflammatory properties are also potent for acne and acne marks
- aloe vera: it helps regulate the production of melanin which, in turn, prevents and reduce discoloration
- apple cider vinegar: its acidic properties scrapes off the top layer of your skin reducing the appearance of hypertrophic scars
- essential oils: they help heal wounds and reduce inflammation and redness making it effective for hypertrophic scars
For severe acne scars, DIY remedies may not work. That’s when you’ll need professional help. Some of the cosmetic procedures proven to reduce and fade away acne scars are:
- Chemical Peels: salicylic and glycolic acid are used to peel off the outer layers of your skin to reduce the appearance of scars
- Dermabrasion: like chemical peels, dermabrasion works by removing the top layer of your skin
- Microneedling: as the name suggests, microneedling involves using very tiny needles to puncture your skin. These puncture marks create collagen pockets which help reduce the depth of a scar.
- Dermal Fillers: substances like hyaluronic acid are injected into your skin to help even-out skin depressions
- Corticosteroid Injections: this is especially effective for hypertrophic scars
- Laser Therapy: this process uses laser light to stimulate collagen production and remove the topmost layer of the skin
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment: the main goal of this treatment is to hasten tissue healing by injecting platelet-rich plasma in the area where the scarring is most severe
- Punch Excision: it involves cutting a scar out and stitching the skin back together
- Punch Grafting: under this, the scarred skin is cut-out and replaced by skin from another part of your body
- Punch Elevation: it also involves removing the scar except for the sides which are then reconnected at the base to make the skin appear smoother
- Surgery: For really deep scars, dermatologists may recommend a surgical procedure to completely get rid of the scarred skin. This should only be done by licensed dermatologists.
If cosmetic surgeries aren’t really your thing, you can still treat acne scars at home with these items. But they may not be as effective nor as efficient:
- Salicylic acid: it reduces swelling and redness and is the main ingredient in most anti-acne creams.
- Retinoids: it helps improve skin texture and reduce discoloration.
- Niacinamide: like retinol, niacinamide is also effective in getting rid of discoloration and scars
- Lactic acid: it makes the scar less noticeable and improves the texture of your skin.
Before diving in on any of the above treatments, remember that acne scars widely vary. As such, there is no be-all-end-all treatment. Home remedies may work for your friend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you too. To be safe, always consult a dermatologist first.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.