Acne scars are not just unsightly, they can also hurt self-esteem. Fortunately, there are many acne scar treatments available to reduce or eliminate the appearance of these marks. While some of these treatments can be used at home, many are performed in a dermatologist’s office. As the number of people affected by acne continues to rise, this type of treatment is becoming a common offering for many dermatology practices.
Acne Scar Treatment
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the face, neck, chest and shoulders. It occurs when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Inflammation from a clogged pore causes the surrounding tissue to break open and create a pimple. Depending on the severity of the acne, it can leave permanent scars. Some of these scars appear as indentations in the skin; others are raised or wavy.
Unlike some types of scars that develop due to injury or surgery, acne scarring is caused by the skin’s natural process of trying to heal the wound left by a pimple. As a result, the skin often produces too much collagen, resulting in these scars. Acne scars can be mild, moderate or severe.
The type of acne scars you have will determine the acne scar treatment your dermatologist recommends. In general, the following treatments may help:
Chemical peels: In this in-office procedure, your dermatologist applies a solution to remove the top layer of skin. The new skin that grows back is generally less damaged by scars.
Microneedling: This treatment involves creating small injures in the skin, which triggers your body to produce more collagen. This can smooth scars and help improve texture.
Laser resurfacing: Your dermatologist uses a laser to heat up the scarred skin and encourage it to replace the old scar tissue. This can help smooth indentations and redistribute the pigmentation of dark marks.
Steroid injections: Injections of steroids into a raised scar can soften it and flatten it. Sometimes a chemotherapy medicine called fluorouracil (5-FU) or interferon, which is used to treat cancer, is added to the injections.
Minor surgery: In some cases, a dermatologist may use minor surgery to remove the scar or lift it up. These procedures are performed in the doctor’s office while you are awake, but the skin is numbed so you don’t feel any pain.
Home remedies for reducing the appearance of scars include applying a diluted amount of apple cider vinegar. This can help soften the appearance of the mark and stimulate cell renewal, but you should always dilute the vinegar as it can be irritating.
Another option is to apply a cream with retinoids or silicone. These creams can be bought over-the-counter and are a good addition to your skincare routine. If you have severe acne scars, a dermatologist can recommend more invasive treatments. It’s important to discuss your options with a qualified dermatologist so you can make the right choice for your skin and lifestyle. The right treatment will help you look and feel your best.