Acne scars are at best annoying, at worst a serious blow to self-confidence. Whether it’s the odd scar or a more serious issue from teenage or adult acne.
When it comes to treating acne scars, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach. The type of acne that did the damage will usually determine the scar and the treatment. The good news is, treatment at home can be effective.
This post last updated April 2018.
Types of Acne Scars
- Type 1: Hormonal spots or scars caused by picking (tsk!) will usually leave a discoloured mark on the skin. Pale skins will see a scar that’s pink, red or purple, darker skins will see scarring that’s brown or black.
- Type 2: Pitted or jagged scarring, caused by cystic acne, usually leaves indentations in the skin. This is down to infection damaging your skin and fat cells.
- Type 3: (Rarer) Keloid scarring – these are raised lumps and are more common in darker skin or those with hormonal issues.
Ways To Treat Acne Scars
Surprisingly, the sun isn’t great for the healing process as it darkens any scarred patches of skin. Wear sunscreen at all times and stay out of the sun while you’re treating the problem. After any treatment (or damage) to the skin, blood vessels move into the area which can make it seem more red. However this is the first step to new collagen formation and recovery, so don’t be discouraged!
- Type 1: Discoloration to the skin. Left alone these scars often fade by themselves but to speed up the process choose a lightening cream or a cream containing Vitamin C. Creams containing Retinol are also beneficial as they increase cell turnover.
- Type 2: Pitted scarring. Since the skin has been damaged, the top layers need to be resurfaced to form a smoother look and the collagen underneath needs to be encouraged to reform to fill out the bumps. Combine treatments such as dermabrasion and peels (at home versions can be used) with skin care products that encourage new collagen.
- Type 3: Keloid scarring can be tricky, so consult your dermatologist. However good results have been seen with flattening serums that smooth the skin down after being applied daily.
Some of Our Favourite Home Products to Fight Acne Scars:
A’Kin Rosehip Oil With Vitamin C
Our absolute favourite ‘skin healing’ product. Rosehip Oil is wonderful for all kinds of scars and anywhere the skin needs help in recovery. This one by vegan brand A’Kin is blended with vitamin C for extra healing power. Our Beauty Editor uses this regularly for glowing, healthy skin.
Decleor Prolagene Gel
Decleor say “A true ‘wonder’ product, so potent and effective are its results at helping restructure the skin’s collagen fibres that the formulation remains unchanged since its launch over 40 years ago.”
Skin Doctors Gamma Hydroxy – Skin Resurfacing Cream 50ml
Skin resurfacing without lasers or peels – a powerful yet gentle daily-use cream that blends the best from both the alpha and beta Hydroxy acids to have a cosmetic resurfacing effect.
HealGel Intensive 30ml
A powerful repairing complex to promote dermal and epidermal regeneration. Created by a plastic surgeon for use by his patients and containing only vegan products. We used this recently and can testify to its powerful effect on the skin.
La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
FANTASTIC for healing post-picked spots or extraction marks. Soak cotton-wool in the water and place it over the skin, with a plaster to hold in place. Leave overnight if you can. We use this every time we’ve gone a bit crazy on extractions, or if we just had to pick at a spot and… (yep it’s not pretty).
Clinical Treatments For Acne Scars
Your dermatologist will advise how many treatments will see results, but before choosing a practitioner make sure they’re fully licensed and check their customer feedback. Below are some of the most common clinic treatments for acne scarring but don’t feel shy or nervous to ask for help. Consultations are often free and a combined program of treatment with home products will see best results: remember, it’s their job to provide treatment and they’ll be just as focused on getting you results as you are!
Microdermabrasion – requires regular treatment and uses tiny exfoliants to blast away damaged skin and encourage new skin formation. Not painful and no downtime.
Peels – natural peels to chemical ones are available so shop around. Treatment removes top layers of scarred skin and encourages new collagen formation.
Laser treatment – literally burns away the top layers of skin and encourages new cell formation. There is downtime with this treatment and it can be painful although effective.
IPL/Light Therapy – used to stimulate new cell renewal, whilst leaving the skin intact.
Fillers – a temporary measure but will fill up any deep or pitted scars, great if you have an event coming up.
Skin Rolling – tricks the skin into thinking damage has occurred and triggers new collagen formation. A lot of success has been seen with this treatment, with not too much downtime, so well worth investigating. At home treatment is also possible, although it will usually take longer to see results.
Have you used any products or treatments you’d like to recommend for acne scarring? Comment below or message us through any of our social channels. If you’re currently suffering from adult acne, read our dedicated blog post here.