7 Ways To Fade & Heal Acne Scars, According To Dermatologists
Whether you got them from your teen years or through adult acne, having scars to deal with is so frustrating. You finally got rid of your zits and — bam —you have a permanent reminder of your previous struggles. But there are ways to fade acne scars, though it might take just as much work as the OG pimple fight to begin with.
You can end up with scarring over a plethora of things — maybe you had terrible acne while in school, and some of the worst inflammations left their mark. Maybe you have some chicken pox marks decorating your cheeks or chin (I have one right underneath my eye), or maybe you just have a scar from some minor accident or scratch. But just because you have them doesn't mean you have to live with them if you don't want to — or take time in the morning to blur them out beneath carefully applied makeup. Instead, you can wipe them out completely!
But before you tackle how to bring them to their doom, you first have to asses what kind of scar it is. Is it pink, brown, white? Is it raised and bumpy, or sunken in? Those all will require different treatments — read ahead to see how to get rid of acne scarring!
1. For Pink Scarring
If you have a pink scar, then you've got yourself a best-case scenario. Those particular marks disappear on their own with enough time. "Scars that are pink can be managed usually with 'tincture of time' — their natural history is that they will fade." Dr. Robin Evans, a dermatologist in Stamford, shares in an interview with Bustle. "But to speed up the process, products that can be used would include tea tree oil and niacinamide — they can help to lighten the redness." Both will help diminish your scars faster.
A great option for that is the Skin Daily Clearing Serum or SkinMedica Redness Relief Cream. SkinMedica is typically sold in doctors' offices, but you can buy it online without a visit.
2. For Brown Scarring
If you have brown scarring, then your mark might need some help in the fading process, and there are a lot of options that will help you in that mission.
"Scars that are brown can be faded using prescription strength Hydroquinone — but you must use sparingly and in a localized way as there are some safety concerns with Hydroquinone (it's chemically linked to benzene, which is a known carcinogen,)" Dr. Evans explains. This ingredient is your best bet to help fade a brown scar, and you can get it at a 4% prescription strength from your dermatologist.
If you want to use a product that doesn't require a doctor's visit, you still have options. "Other ingredients that can help include niacinamide, retinol, algae and other plant extracts, as well as glycolic acid." A great product for that is Neutrogena Melanex Cream or Porcelana.
Chemical peels can also be helpful, and you can find home peel pads with glycolic acid that will help your mark fade.
3. If The Scarring Is White
If the scarring is white, then your options narrow and you're more concerned with damage control. While you can try to use scar cremes, the majority of your focus should be on keeping the sun away from it.
"If the scar is white there really is nothing to do to bring the color back, but keep the rest of your skin from getting tan so you don't make the contrast with the white scars greater," Dr. Evans advises.
4. If The Scar Is Raised
If you have a bumpy, raised scar, then silicon is the ingredient for you.
"If the scar is raised, silicon gels or sheetings can be very effective," Dr. Evans shares. "Over the counter Mederma has the silicone gel in it at a low concentration and can offer some help. Otherwise ask your dermatologist for a medical grade silicone gel." If those don't work after a period of time, you can ask your dermatologist for laser help or cortisone injections.
5. For Sunken Scars
For sunken scars, getting professional help is the way to go. "For scars that are sunken in, microdermabrasion treatments at a medical grade can help; microneedling treatments can be very beneficial usually done as a series; and lasers can be helpful as well," Dr. Evans explains.
For deeper pitted scars, fillers can be injected to raise the skin, but she warns they must be repeated on a regular basis.
6. For Crater Scars
If you have bad, crater scars, unfortunately you can't fix them at home with a few miracle creams. You're going to have to get professional help. "When you have the more common shallow 'Crater Scars,' which are much wider than they are deep and have gently sloping borders, they can be treated in several different ways. Fillers can be injected under the skin to lift up the bottom of the scar to make it flat," Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist and creator of BeautyRx, shares in an interview with Bustle. Those fillers can be permanent or temporary, depending on what you and your doctor decide to use. If you want a more permanent fix, you'll have to go underneath a laser.
"We usually use laser procedures that ablate or remove the upper layers of skin. It causes about five to 10 days of down time during which time the skin has to heal and reform," he explains. It will look like you have a really bad sunburn during that period, but afterwards your face will be smooth!
7. Keep Out Of Strong Sun
This is where sunscreen comes in! Make it part of your morning routine, where you either put on a face cream with SPF, or you slather it on directly. Sun will make the scar more apparent, so it's important to protect it from UV rays. "Sun protection is important for all types of acne scars, so avoidance and regular use of sunscreens is highly recommended," Dr. Evans urges. "Color changes of scars tend to improve over time on their own, but sunken scars actually look worse with aging."
Apply daily (even when it's cloudy or raining) and re-apply throughout the day. If you follow these tips you'll see a difference in your acne scars, and hopefully over time, they will disappear completely!
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