Wondering how to get rid of acne scars? An unexpected pimple or five is annoying enough, but the acne scars and dark marks it leaves behind are often worse. While there isn't a magic wand that can get rid of them overnight, top dermatologists from across the country share how to handle marks and bumps, from prevention to treatment including home remedies. In order to treat acne marks and scars, it's helpful to learn how to distinguish between the two.
Inflammation in the skin often leaves behind a stain as part of the natural healing process. The inflammation revs up pigment production, creating the mark that fades on its own over several weeks to months," says Dr. Unlike scars, these are smooth to the touch AKA, not raised or indentedand signify that there is no permanent collagen damage to the skin. Acne scars, on the other hand, are formed when there is damage to the skin which leads to abnormal collagen production, and usually appear raised or bumpy.
Depressed scars may look like pits or craters, and raised scars may be firm and tender," explains Dr. Zeichner, who notes that unfortunately, these are permanent. According to dermatologist Dr.
Whitney Bowesome scars are thick, raised hypertrophic scars that stick out above the skin; others are keloid, which are scars that have over-healed, and manifest as dense rubbery skin tissue. Then, there are atrophic scars that appear as depressions in the skin — they're the most challenging to treat. The three main categories of atrophic scars are:. The spots that linger after a pimple has healed are caused by inflammation that has disrupted the skin's natural healing process.
Sometimes the broken blood vessels that remain after an acne lesion fades can result in a mark," says Dr. For a number of people who are able to refrain from picking, inflamed pimples or blemishes can still leave a dark brown or red mark — but these naturally fade over the course of a few months, notes dermatologist Heather C. Woolery-Lloyd, MD. Since it's pretty difficult to determine what causes one person to scar more than another, the best way to avoid scarring is to treat acne with a great skin care routine — and that means you need to resist picking, poking, or touching a pimple.
But, sometimes a particularly aggressive blemish is truly on a mission to leave its permanent mark. You can think of an acne lesion as a wound. When the damage caused by acne is severe, the body can respond by creating too much tissue or too little tissue.
The production of too much tissue forms a keloid or a hypertrophic scar, and too little tissue leads to that depression in the skin or atrophic scar. The deeper and more inflamed the acne lesion, or the more that it is picked or squeezed, the more likely it is to scar," says Dr.
Some acne marks and scars are completely within your control while others are pre-determined. Aside from genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can make dark marks and scars worse. Spending time in the sun is a big one, and, to reiterate one last time, every dermatologist agrees that picking or squeezing pimples creates further inflammation and can ultimately lead to more damage.
Now that we know where acne scars and dark spots come from, let's dive into how to treat them—starting with acne scars. Acne scar treatments are best handled with special attention and care from your dermatologist since they require more intense procedures than over-the-counter options.Scarring is a natural part of the healing process, but the result can be an unsightly nuisance that many people would like to cover or completely eliminate.
These scars can be left over from an injury or from skin problems such as acne and can vary in severity based on the depth of the initial wound and your skin type. There are several medical options for removing scars which can include surgery and steroid injections. If you are not willing to go under the knife to hide your scars, there are many natural products on the market, such as cocoa butter, which have benefits that will help to minimize the appearance of your unwanted scars.
According to Medicine Netthere are four main types of scars from which people tend to suffer. Keloid scars are scars that result from an overly aggressive healing process and the scar can extend beyond the lines of the initial wound. Contracture scars result in skin that has been burned, so this type of scar can go deeper into the musculature. Hypertrophic scars are red and raised scars that do not extend beyond the boundaries of the initial injury.
Acne scars are one of the most common types, and these can vary in size and shape from deep pits to larger scars. Cocoa butter is a highly regarded natural ingredient that is used in many lotions and creams to fight stretch marks and promote intense hydration and healing. Cocoa butter contains fat extracts from cocoa beans which gives it potent moisturizing properties that are often used in topical applications to fade marks, skin discolorations and scarring.
According to Vitamin Stuff, cocoa butter melts at body temperature, so it absorbs quickly into the skin and creates a protective barrier. The moisturizing benefits of cocoa butter will help you achieve overall skin health, which encourages healing. Cocoa butter can also help to even your skin tone, which will help reduce the visibility of your scars.
Scars tend to stand out against your skin because they are a darker blue to purple color or a white color, so the evening of your skin tone will help minimize the appearance of the scar.
Cocoa butter massaged into skin on a regular basis can help to break down scar tissue, especially when the scar is new. The act of massaging is crucial, but the intense moisture of the cocoa butter intensifies the results. Your scars will not be completely removed using natural treatments such as cocoa butter, but daily application over time will help you garner results.
The effectiveness and length of time that it will take to see results varies on your skin type, the classification of scar, and the depth and size of the initial wound. Consult your dermatologist if you are not seeing your desired results and you want to take more aggressive steps. There are other natural alternatives for you to explore before committing to an invasive medical procedure such as surgical removal or steroid injections.
According to Nutra Legacy, these can include the topical application of natural ingredients such as aloe vera in juice or gel formcucumber, vitamins E and C, honey, green tea and tea tree oil. A West Coast transplant currently living in Washington D.
Quick earned her bachelor's degree in political science and French from Boise State University and is currently working at a nonprofit organization. Video of the Day. References MedicineNet. About the Author. How to Lighten Up Scars. How to Get Rid of Wart Scars. How to Remove Thick Scars. How to Get Rid of Scars on the Lips.Notify me when this product is available:.
Why is my Scar Darker Than my Normal Skin?
Dark scars don't need to become a permanent blemish on your skin. A best-seller, this product not only corrects discoloration caused by existing scars, but it also prevents the onset and duration of pigmentation in new scars, such as those from acne, burns, and body trauma. Additionally, Plato's Dark Scar Corrector contains four active sunblocks, as well as skin lighteners, to keep your scars and skin safe from sun damage.
Contains four active sun screens to protect scars and skin from the sun. Appropriate for all skin types and colors, may even be used on oily skin. Best if used as part of the Scar Therapy Mini Kit. Use twice daily. Cleanse your skin and pat dry prior to use. Apply a thin coat of Dark Scar Corrector onto the skin and massage gently into the scar.
Category: ApothecaryBruise and Scar Treatmentbruise balmbruisestickplato scar creamplato's dark scar correctorplato's medicinalsplato's scar serumplato's scar therapy mini kitpost-procedure. Type: Individual. Benefits This clinically approved therapeutic system works wonders on surgical and traumatic scars on all View full product details.
Benefits Approved by plastic surgeons and dermatologists, Plato's Scar Serum works wonders on surgical and Benefits Formulated to reduce pain, swelling, and skin discoloration associated with bruising. A doctor-formulated arnica Log in Cart 0 Checkout. Add to Cart. Benefits Dark scars don't need to become a permanent blemish on your skin.
Category: ApothecaryBruise and Scar Treatmentbruise balmbruisestickplato scar creamplato's dark scar correctorplato's medicinalsplato's scar serumplato's scar therapy mini kitpost-procedure Type: Individual. Related Items. Quick Shop.The bad news: There's no secret ingredient or miracle gadget that makes scars totally disappear.
Don't get discouraged, though. A lot of what you think of as acne scarring is really just hyperpigmentation or erythema — brown or red spots — rather than an actual change in the texture of the skin. Plus, there's a bevy of gels, creams, and treatments that can bring that discoloration down. We asked top dermatologists to recommend the most effective products for lessened the marks left behind by breakouts. Here's what the experts recommend. All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors.
However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. With a blend of potent antioxidants, this serum is loved by beauty editors and dermatologists alike. Vitamin C plays a leading role: "The powerful ingredient has been shown to brighten dull skin and lighten brown spots. It may also be helpful in lightening a dark scar," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The formula also includes vitamin E. It helps seal cracks in the outer skin layer and may help repair a damaged skin barrier and improve the appearance of scars after the initial wound has healed," Zeichner says. It turns out, salicylic acid isn't just a key ingredient for clearing up breakouts; continuing to use the BHA beta-hydroxy acid is beneficial for exfoliating away the pigment buildup.
That's why Murad included it among vitamin C and cica in a formula that promises to minimize the look of scar size, depth, texture, and discoloration in eight weeks. And in the meantime, this serum's light-diffusing and blurring powders give a cosmetic kick-start to your skin, allowing it to look smoother and more even as soon as you apply it. When it comes to scarring, many doctors will tell you that prevention is key.
The benefits of retinol seem limitless — smoothing fine lines and easing the visible effects of sun damage among them — but it also helps improve the evenness of skin that's been broken out. Drunk Elephant's take on the vitamin A derivative is a vegan one-percent strength that pledges less irritation while you work toward more clarity, thanks to cohorts like peptides, vitamin F, and antioxidant-rich botanical extracts.
Best used for treating hyperpigmentation, these products — packed with glycolic acid — promote cellular turnover to remove the top layers of the skin revealing a brighter, fresh complexion, says New York City-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman. This means it can get deep into the skin. There are lots of ways to incorporate this potent, effective acid into your at-home skin regimen. Peel pads make it quick and easy, though. We like Dr. Dennis Gross's famous Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Daily Peel, which is a two-step peel pad drenched in exfoliating glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, and salicylic acids.
This in-office treatment is performed by dermatologists and combines two different technologies — microneedling and radio frequency — for big results in eliminating acne scars. First, a topical numbing gel is applied. Then the doctor uses the microneedling device to penetrate the skin and, simultaneously, radiofrequency is delivered right to the dermis.At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date.
Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data. The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns.
Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made. Any type of injury you sustain to the skin can result in scarring. Cuts, burns, incisions and acne lesions are all known to stimulate the production of scar tissue, especially when the wound penetrates into the deeper layers of your skin. During the process of healing, your body produces collagen and other connective tissue to essentially seal the injury site.
Sometimes, the scar tissue that forms is much darker than the surrounding skin. And while there's usually no medical reason to fix scarring, some people find these dark scars unsightly and want to improve the cosmetic appearance of their skin. Massage a silicone-based cream or gel into the injury site each day to help flatten and lighten scar tissue, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology.
It can take roughly six months to see an improvement in the appearance of your skin. Apply topical retinoids twice a day to the scar tissue. Normally used to treat acne, this prescription medication can help flatten raised scars and break up any melanin that is causing discoloration, which can lighten the irregular tissue to match the surrounding skin better.
Cover the scar tissue with a topical corticosteroid to decrease inflammation and minimize any redness. Topical corticosteroids are often used in combination with retinoids and even silicone-based creams to improve the efficacy of the medications. Talk to your doctor about intralesional corticosteroid injections, suggests the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2.
Injecting steroidal medications directly into the raised, red scars can help flatten and lighten the irregular tissue with the rest of your skin. Freeze the raised, red scar tissue with liquid nitrogen, dry ice or another freezing agent, advises the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. This causes the irregular tissue to die and fall off. Undergo laser therapy to diminish discoloration and flatten the scar tissue with the rest of your skin.
The laser energy breaks down the scar tissue, while destroying the melanin that's causing the hyperpigmentation. Remove the scar tissue with a surgical scar revision procedure.
A cosmetic surgeon extracts the scar tissue from the skin, suturing the surgical wound in such a way to make the new scar less noticeable than before.Advanced Treatment for Scars and Dark Spots developed by a leading plastic surgeon.
Scarring can lead to rough texture in the skin, an increase of collagen bundles, and a lack of hair follicles or sweat glands. However, it may also create discoloration within the skin, with damaged tissue taking on a darker shade. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and it ranks among the most common effects of hypertrophic, keloid, and atrophic scarring. These elements are meant to heal the scar. However, they often trigger a sudden darkening of the skin.
Read More: Hyperpigmentation. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation directly targets scars, sending an excess of melanin to the damaged tissue. This causes instant discoloration, especially around the edges, and can create a variety of shades: brown, black, gray, or even red. Spotting, freckling, or patching can also occur. It should be noted that no pain is associated with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Its effect on scars is purely cosmetic. However, those suffering from the condition may still wish to treat it. These include:. Topical scar creams prove ideal for treating most post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation cases. They offer much-needed nutrients such as Vitamin C that penetrate the skin and restore balance to the melanin production cycle.
Those experiencing extreme post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may find topical creams lacking. Chemical peels may instead be needed to address the issue.
The 11 Best Acne Scar Treatments Recommended by Dermatologists
These options remove layers of damaged skin, softening both the appearance of scars and the starkness of discoloration. Ultra-violet rays can exacerbate the effects of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Those wishing to correct the issue must therefore protect their skin. Use lotions with high SPF counts and avoid extended exposure to the sun. These methods have been proven as successful in the treatment post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
However, it is important to note that the healing process can never be guaranteed. Results will vary. A common treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is Hydroquinone. Hydroquinone has a high toxicity level. This means it can cause severe damage to the skin, including blistering, burn marks, new discoloration, and extreme tightness. While the product is legal and available without a prescription, it should be avoided. There are better, safer alternatives. Want to know more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Leave a comment!
Monitor the health of your community here
Our posts will be sent directly to your inbox.Whether the cause is cystic acnea burn or a cut, scarring is the method your body uses to heal a wound. While most scars and dark spots will fade over time, a deep cut may result in a pretty big scar. If you feel there may be something abnormal or extreme about your scarring, consult a dermatologist before you explore at-home care or other treatments. When the skin gets injured, your body works to repair the damage. The depth of the injury determines whether or not you're left with a scar or a darker-than-normal spot in the aftermath.
When a lesion goes deeper than the first layer of skin, your body will form thicker tissue, which ultimately becomes a scar, according to the AAD. The depth of the cut or pimple, in some cases also determines how high the scar rises above your skin. There's usually no medical reason to treat a scar or a dark spot, and plenty of people with scarring embrace the skin they're in.
That said, if you choose to seek treatment, there are several routes you can pursue to minimize the appearance of scars or dark spots.
A good place to start is with home skin care, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Many over-the-counter products can improve the appearance of mild scarring and darkening. If your skin concerns are more severe, however, your dermatologist can prescribe other topical options. Soft tissue fillers are another commonly used option, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This procedure involves an injection of collagen or fat under the skin in order to fill out indented scars, ultimately making them less noticeable. However, the results of this treatment don't last forever and the procedure needs to be repeated. Your dermatologist may also recommend a chemical peel, which involves applying a high-potency acid to the skin, causing the top layer to shed like a sunburn.
Typically, several peels are necessary in order for scars or dark spots to be completely eliminated. Laser resurfacing is another procedure that you may want to consider, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is another treatment that your derm may suggest and involves using a laser to improve the appearance of the skin. Whether the cause is cystic acne, a burn or a cut, scarring is the method your body uses to heal a wound. Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California.
She has worked as a writer sincewith work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy. Monitor the health of your community here. More Articles. Written by Brenda Barron.
References MayoClinic. About the Author.