Have you finally overcome a persistent bout of breakouts and severe acne but now find…
Achieving clear skin after a struggle with acne is a huge success. However, for many people, it’s only half of the battle. Unfortunately, some people are left with discoloration and texture that lasts for years after their breakouts heal. So, what’s the best treatment for acne scars? That’s what we’re talking about this month.
Scars leave both textural and pigmentation changes, so you’ll likely need more than one type of treatment to address both issues. Keep in mind that there is no overnight cure for acne scars. It’s difficult for most people to completely heal their acne scars, but the right combination of treatments can make huge improvements in your skin texture.
What causes acne scars?
Before we talk about treatments, let’s talk about what causes acne scars in the first place.
When you pick at a blemish, especially with your fingers, there’s a good chance that you’ll accidentally rupture the follicle (pore) wall. If the damage is minimal, it will heal quickly. However, bacteria can leak into the wound if the damage is severe, making it much worse. As the skin heals, it creates new collagen. Unfortunately, sometimes the new collagen doesn’t lay smoothly, which creates unevenness and scarring.
The best treatments for acne scars
The ideal treatment for each person depends on the depth and shape of the scars, how severe or widespread the scarring is, and to some extent, their skin tone. Some treatment options for acne scars are:
Retin-A (or its generic tretinoin) is a common topical medication used to clear acne and reduce wrinkles. It works by speeding up cellular turnover, making it harder for dead cells to build up in the pores. Since Retin-A stimulates new cell growth, it can also help achieve smoother skin texture over time to make superficial scars less obvious. Unfortunately, deep scars won’t benefit much from Retin-A.
The topical medicine really shines when it comes to reducing the discoloration left behind after a blemish heals. The quick cell turnover from Retin-A helps get rid of excess melanin for a more even skin tone.
A chemical peel is a topical treatment that exfoliates the skin to remove dead cells and oil that clog the pores. During a chemical peel, a dermatologist applies a thin layer of an acid solution to the skin, lets it sit for a while, and then removes it. In the days following the procedure, the outer layer of skin peels and is replaced by fresh, new skin.
Most people need multiple treatments to achieve their desired result, but over time chemical peels can soften shallow acne scars. As an added benefit, peels help keep the skin clear to avoid future scarring.
Microneedling is a treatment in which a dermatologist uses a specialized instrument with adjustable, fine needles to create microdamage to the skin. You can’t see the tiny punctures with your eyes, but in response to a microneedling procedure, the skin produces new collagen to heal. The result is smoother skin with scars that are not as deep. Like chemical peels, most patients need more than one treatment to reach their desired result.
A dermal filler is a substance that’s injected under the skin to add volume. There are many ways to use filler, but it’s especially well-suited to add volume to smooth deep scars that don’t respond to other treatments. Unlike the other acne scar treatments on this list, dermal fillers are only a temporary treatment. As the dermal filler metabolizes, the effect wears off. However, it may be the best way for some people to address their deep scars.
Say Goodbye to Acne Scars
Each person’s journey to heal their acne and minimize their scars is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all acne scar treatment plan. The best way to improve your skin texture is to see a board-certified dermatologist who understands how to treat different types of scars and discoloration. Come see the smooth skin experts at the Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington to create an individualized plan to heal your scars today.