How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars
Acne scars are incredibly common, and if they are something that bothers you, there are treatments available to help.
Acne scars are caused by active acne and often worsen with age as we lose collagen in our skin. You are not alone! There are different types of acne scarring which means there are also different types of treatments based on the type of scarring you have.
I hate to say it, but if you’re thinking about getting treatment for your acne scars, it’s important to clear your active breakouts. Treatments for acne scars can get expensive depending on how aggressive you plan to be, so it’s worth knowing you have a good handle on your skin’s current breakouts before investing.
RELATED: Mario Badescu Skincare For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
If you are unsure where to begin in your skin journey, it’s best to see a Dermatologist! They will always know better over someone selling skincare products or a blogger (aka me). Although I do thorough research in each topic I speak on, a Doctor’s opinion matters most!
Why Do Acne Scars Happen?
A lot of our skin issues can be linked to genetics (thanks, mom). If your relatives have acne scarring, you’re more likely to suffer from acne scarring as well.
Additionally, as we touched on earlier, you are more likely to scar as your skin loses collagen with age. Collagen feels like such a skincare ~buzzword~, but it really is important. Collagen is SO important, in fact, that it’s also found in your tendons, ligaments, and bones. We gettin’ SCIENCEY in here gurlllll!
Collagen is a protein and also a building block of skin that makes up 75% of skin structure. If you’re still confused on why collagen is so important, Everyday Health has great resources to help further explain.
Collagen is produced to help repair active breakouts. However, because it’s an imperfect process that is determined by genetics and other things, it sometimes produces too much or too little: resulting in a scar.
Different Types Of Acne Scarring
There are different types of acne scarring that can occur.
- Rolling scars (these are also the most common type of scarring)
- Red spots
- Dark spots
- Boxcar scars
- Icepick scars
- Hypertrophic scars
Can You Prevent Acne Scarring?
Three things you can do to start getting your acne scars under control is investing in a skincare regimen, eating a healthy diet, and deciding on what treatment path is right for you.
RELATED: The Ordinary Skincare Routine Guide
RELATED: Mario Badescu Skincare For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
RELATED: Glossier Skincare Routine Guide For Oily Skin
Check out my skincare guides above if you need somewhere to start in building your skincare routine! If you don’t find what you’re looking for in those posts, please feel free to leave me a comment or question!
The Ordinary would be the most aggressive approach and you may experience a small skin reaction when beginning. Slight peeling, redness, and irritation can be normal when using certain acids and retinoids. Always start slow and build your way up to the recommended usage.
When it comes to trying to prevent scarring, we have to get one main thing under control: stop picking at and popping your acne. I know how difficult of a habit that can be to stop, but your skin will thank you in the long run!
If you have a blemish that truly needs to be popped (yuck, this is getting gross, I swear I’m almost done!!!! Stay with me!!!!), then consider taking two q-tips to apply pressure rather than your fingers. This eliminates scarring caused by fingernails as well as unnecessary bacteria from your fingertips.
Treatments Available For Acne Scars
Now it’s time to get into the whole reason you’re here!!!!! Wooooohoooooo!
Microneedling is one of the most popular treatments for acne scars. It is less expensive than some of the other treatments listed and is effective. If you have not explored any other treatment options yet, microneedling is a great place to start!
SkinPen (1) is an FDA approved microneedling device that visibly reduces and effectively treats acne scars.
Recommended use for microneedling treatments includes at least 3 sessions spaced 30 days apart in order to achieve the best results (1). Typically, your clinic may offer a reduced price for buying a package of three at once instead of each treatment individually.
Microneedling works by creating small injuries to the skin that stimulate your body’s natural healing process to remodel the scar tissue. As we discussed before, a lot of acne scarring is caused by either too little or too much scar tissue produced, making microneedling an incredibly great option for treating acne scars!
Some clinics may offer microneedling with PRP, or plasma rich platelets. This means they will draw blood from you and separate the red blood cells from plasma and platelets. They then use the plasma and platelets during the microneedling procedure. The idea behind this method is added growth factor from your plasma and platelets promotes better wound healing.
Microneedling with RF
Consider microneedling with radiofrequency (rf) to be microneedling on steroids. This is typically a better option for those really looking to target fine lines and wrinkles, but it is still effective on acne scars. The radiofrequency triggers your skin to produce more collagen to visible improve your skin.
There is minimal damage done to the skin during this (remember, damage induces healing which is okay if being done at a clinical level) meaning there is practically no recovery time and makeup can be worn 24 hrs after treatment.
Microdermabrasion works by removing the topmost layer of skin. While doing this, it also stimulates elastic tissue underneath the skin resulting in a healthier and firmer appearance.
This treatment is slightly less intense than microneedling but there is no downtime according to the AAD (2). Most patients see the best results with 5 to 16 treatments, but results tend to be temporary (2). Using a proper skincare regimen and regular SPF will help results last longer.
Aerolase (3) is an effective laser treatment for active acne among many other skin conditions. The powerful yet gentle laser light superheats the p. acnes bacteria in the sebaceous gland and surrounding skin to effectively destroy the bacteria, reduce sebum output, and to help reduce swelling and inflammation (3).
Additionally, this is one of the rare treatments that work on active acne! If you are still needing to treat active acne before attacking acne scarring issues, Aerolase is a great option for you. Many patients see drastically clearer skin in just one or two treatments (3).
Aerolase is also safe to use on all skin shades. Some lasers work to target specific pigmentations making them unusable on darker complexions. This is an important thing to keep in mind when scheduling an appointment for the first time!
Intense pulsed light (IPL) is another laser treatment available for various skin conditions. While being proven to help treat the appearance of scars, IPL is great for treating sun spots, melasma, and redness. I know for my own skin, redness plays a big role in the complexion of my skin, and this laser helps to fix that!
IPL can not be used on active acne in the way that Aerolase can, so this treatment is only recommended once getting active breakouts under control (4).
Chemical peels are a less aggressive option than many of the others discussed in this post. It works by applying a chemical solution to the skin that helps peel away the outer layer to reveal a smoother and more even-toned complexion.
Dermal fillers can be injected to add fullness to areas of the face that are lacking. Some people find that filler injected under acne scarring helps lift the appearance of scars.
RELATED: Filler 101: Your Guide To Facial Fillers
Filler treatments would be needed between every 6-9 months and is probably only a good option if the scarring is located to one single spot.
Now that you know your options, reach out to different clinics that staff Aestheticians. Ask if they offer complimentary consultations to have your skin evaluated in person to determine the best treatment path for you!
How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars
Hi, ! Great post ❤️. I have some rolling scars on one of my cheeks, and one near my mouth. I’ve been using Tretinoin .025. I still buffer, but I’ve built up to nightly use. I believe the Tretinoin has helped to smooth out the scars. I see old pictures and my scars looked a lot more noticeable. So happy 😊 I googled ‘Ret247get’ and got tretinoin. I also have a very hydrating routine, which I think helps plump up the skin so that scars are less noticeable. I have a certain elevator I take once a week for work. It has the most stressful, disturbing lighting in the world. It makes skin texture look 10,000 times worse. I remember seeing myself in a selfie in that lighting back when I started Tret. Well, recently, just to torture myself, I took out the selfie cam again in that same elevator and noticed a much smoother texture than before. I sound toxic and obsessive. Sigh. But they’ve gotten better! I will probably wait until I run out of this Tret tube and then up to .05.