Whether you experienced childhood or adulthood acne, treating and eliminating the scars that came with acne is never easy. Acne scars are known to be stubborn and can make you feel self-conscious about them. While there is no single treatment for acne scars, there are multiple non-invasive procedures that you can try out.

Acne Scars

Some of these procedures include:

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel, just as the name suggests, is a procedure where chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are applied on the face and left to sit for about five to 10 minutes. Once the chemical is removed, it will cause subsequent peeling of the top layers of the skin. The old skin layers encourage the growth of new skin that is smoother and contains more collagen.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure that works to renew the overall skin tone and texture. This procedure is capable of improving the appearance of acne scarring, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and melisma among other skin-related issues.

For this process, an applicator that has an abrasive surface is gently used to scrub away the topmost skin layer. Some microdermabrasion techniques use suction to spray sodium bicarbonate or aluminum oxide to work as the abrasive surface.

Photofacial

This is a facial procedure that utilizes intense pulse light therapy to eliminate acne scars. The light therapy targets cells on your skin and creates a smooth canvas that is free from mild acne scars. A typical photofacial procedure lasts for about 45 minutes and is conducted in a dermatologist’s office or at a skin spa. Cellular turnover is expected after about four weeks, which is also the amount of wait period between photofacial sessions. While one session may not be enough for the total elimination of acne scars, you will still be able to notice some progress.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is another efficient non-invasive acne scar removal procedure. This laser treatment focuses light on the skin’s outer layers so as to disintegrate scar tissue. It encourages the growth of new skin cells to replace scar tissue. Although this treatment does not reduce acne scars completely, it reduces their appearance.

If you have a darker skin tone, active acne, or overly wrinkled skin, this procedure may not work for you. Your dermatologist will recommend other suitable treatments if this is your situation.

Over-The-Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter drugs can help improve the appearance of acne scars. Products that contain hydroquinone in their formulations may quicken the fading of these scars. Ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids are also effective as they reduce the appearance of acne scarring by stimulating new skin growth while stopping the appearance of new acne. When shopping for these products, check out for alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid.

Natural Remedies

Another non-invasive technique is the use of natural remedies. Since acne scars are caused by the changes in the quantity and arrangement of collagen and elastin fibers, natural remedies such as black seed oil (Nigella sativa), honey, rosehip seed oil, lemon juice, and aloe vera are considered to be effective. The application of aloe vera to acne wounds was found to reduce inflammation as well as scar tissue size.

Types of Acne Scars

There are different types of acne scars, including:

  • Red spots – these are flat red spots that occur on the previous acne site. Red spots usually fade without permanent scars.
  • Rolling scars – this is one of the most common acne scars. These are presented by shallow depressions with sloping edges that become more visible with age.
  • Dark spots – when acne heals, they may leave temporary dark spots identified as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  • Hypertrophic scars and keloids – these are enlarged and raised tissues that form as a result of too much scar tissue. While these two have the same appearance, keloids are more raised.
  • Ice-pick scars and boxcar scars – these are acne scars that appear like sunken pits on the skin. They are caused by tissue loss, which makes them form depressions on the skin. Ice-pick scars are usually deeper than boxcar scars.

How to Prevent Acne Scars

You can prevent acne scars by:

  • Treating acne even if it is mild – treat acne using over-the-counter creams or facial washes that contain acne-treating ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
  • Use topical retinoid – adapalene, tretinoin, or tazarotene are known to prevent and fade acne scars. They are usually included in an acne skin-care routine.
  • Avoid abrasive skincare products such as scrubs or loofahs.
  • Avoid picking on your acne
  • Remember to slather on sunscreen to reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation

Invasive Procedures to Treat Acne Scars

Although non-invasive procedures are more desirable, there are invasive procedures that could also treat acne. These include:

  • Soft tissue fillers – this procedure entails injecting collagen, fat, or any other filler material into the skin to plump the indented scars on the skin. It makes scars less noticeable.
  • Dermabrasion – this procedure is effective for severe scarring. It involves a rapidly rotating brush that removes surface scars. Dermabrasion also reaches deeper scars, making them less noticeable.
  • Steroid injection – this treatment technique targets raised scars such as keloids. It works to improve their appearance.
  • Microneedling – this procedure entails pricking the skin using tiny needles in order to stimulate collagen production. Collagen not only helps to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles but also reduces the appearance of acne scars.
  • Botox – injecting botox to raised acne scars can be effective as it relaxes the surrounding skin, helping the acne scars to relax. The results are temporary thus repeat treatments are required to maintain the flattening effect.
  • Surgery – lastly, you may consider going for surgery for acne scar removal in the name of a minor surgery known as punch excision. In this procedure, the dermatologist will cut out the individual acne scars and repair the wound using skin grafts. Needles will then be inserted under the skin to relax the fibers underneath the scars.

FAQs

What Is the Difference Between Laser Skin Resurfacing and Photofacials?

Photofacials are less invasive compared to laser treatments. As such, photofacials are considered better in skin rejuvenation. For deeper acne scars, laser treatments are more effective.

Which Is Better- Chemical Peel or Laser Resurfacing?

Laser resurfacing provides faster results than chemical peels in fading acne scars. Results are noticeable in three to five days.