5 Things to Know About Acne Scars

Acne scars form as a result of inflammation of blemishes. While common, acne scars can make you feel just as insecure as acne. This is especially true if your scars are raised and appear darker than the rest of your skin. Thankfully, many acne scars will go away on their own. But that can take time, and you may not want to wait. The good news is, you don’t have to. From finding the right acne treatment to trying a chemical peel, here are a few ways you can fade acne scars: 

1. Know What Type You’re Dealing With

There’s a common misconception that all acne scars are the same. It turns out, like with acne, there are different kinds of acne scars that form for various reasons. The most common types of acne scars include: atrophic, boxcar, ice pick, rolling, hypertrophic, and keloid. 

Atrophic scars are flat and shallow, typically a result of severe cystic acne. Boxcar scars have defined edges and are often caused by widespread acne or some serious rashes, like chickenpox. Ice pick scars are small and mostly appear on the cheeks. These types of scars are sometimes difficult to treat. Rolling scars are kind of what they sound like, they’re wavy, uneven, and can have sloping edges. Hypertrophic and keloid scars are raised lumps of scar tissue that ​usually form where the acne once was. 

There’s also the chance you don’t have acne scars at all, but post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This discoloration might look like a scar but is a result of your acne healing. Over time, this hyperpigmentation will eventually go away. Knowing the type of acne scar you have can help you find the right treatment for them. Now, let’s talk about how you can get rid of acne scars: 

2. Prevent Them by Treating Your Acne

One of the best ways to avoid acne scars is to combat acne. After all, these scars are the result of acne (whether it’s healed or not). Unfortunately, treating acne isn’t always easy. Chances are, you’ve tried several over-the-counter products to no avail. That may be a sign you need a stronger, prescription acne treatment. Some examples include birth control, retinoids, or antibiotics. All three are considered effective treatments, depending on the type of acne you have and the severity. 

In addition to getting prescribed acne treatment, pay attention to your diet. Certain foods can raise your blood sugar and increase acne-causing hormones in your body. Some foods that trigger this spike are sweets with added sugar, white bread, and pasta. 

If you experience poor gut health, that can also wreak havoc on your skin. To improve gut health you want to support the good bacteria in your gut. To do that, avoid consuming processed foods and increase your intake of prebiotic and probiotic foods, like whole grains and yogurt. 

3. Try A Chemical Peel 

A chemical peel is a popular procedure often offered by a dermatologist or esthetician. A chemical solution is applied to the skin’s top layer to improve the skin’s texture. Those top layers are eventually shed, and the skin that grows back is smoother. 

You can receive a chemical peel in three depths: light, medium, and deep. A light chemical peel is typically used for acne and fine lines. A medium chemical peel is ideal for acne scars, as it removes skin cells from the outer and the upper layer of your skin. A deep chemical peel can help remove growths, deep scars, and wrinkles. 

Chemical peels are a great way to treat atrophic, ice pick, and boxcars acne scars. It’s important to note that chemical peels aren’t a one-and-done treatment. You’ll typically need a few procedures before you achieve the desired results. There are also excellent options for at-home peels that can offer the same benefits. 

4. Consider Microneedling Treatments

Microneedling is a type of collagen induction therapy. It’s minimally invasive and involves a professional puncturing your skin with tiny, sterile needles to create micro-punctures in the skin. This process speeds up cellular renewal, increasing the amount of collagen and elastin your skin produces. Because of this, microneedling can help get rid of acne scars. 

Microneedling can also minimize stretch marks and other skin concerns. Unlike other facial rejuvenation procedures, microneedling doesn’t carry the risk of skin discoloration. This makes it an ideal procedure for those with darker skin tones. Similar to chemical peels, you’ll most likely need several treatments to achieve optimal results. Luckily, microneedling treatments aren’t time-consuming, taking anywhere between 15-30 minutes to complete. 

It’s important to note that microneedling is most effective on new acne scars. Older acne scars can be more difficult to treat, so opt for treatment sooner rather than later. 

5. Use Vitamin C Products

As mentioned in the beginning, some people mistake acne scars for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. While this discoloration can look like a scar, it happens when your skin makes extra melanin after it’s been irritated. If you see this discoloration, it’s most likely because you popped a pimple before it could heal. Thankfully, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation goes away on its own — but it can take time. To speed up the process, consider using vitamin C products. 

There are several benefits to regularly using vitamin C. For one, it inhibits the production of melanin, which helps even out skin tone and manage hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning it helps neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can harm the skin and lead to premature aging. 

Vitamin C can be found in many products. From serums to moisturizers, it shouldn’t be too difficult to integrate this into your skincare regimen. With that said, vitamin C has been known to increase photosensitivity, which can actually cause sun damage. To keep your skin safe, apply sunscreen after using vitamin C, or simply apply it at night before you go to bed. 

Acne scars are incredibly common but can cause insecurities. Thankfully, there are things you can do to get rid of acne scars. The tips above can help you fade scars and achieve clear skin.