Acne itself is bad enough, but when you're left with stubborn scars, it's less than ideal. After finally getting rid of pimples and zits, you don’t need the scars reminding of what once was! So, we’ve come up with a little guide to help you banish those pesky pockmarks for good. Here goes…
How to know if you have acne scars?
First up, you need to know what you’re dealing with. If it's a flat, dark patch left behind after a pimple, then it's not an acne scar. Instead, that’s called post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH), which will eventually fade on its own. These are a normal response to any sort of skin trauma, mainly caused by picking at the zit, and they’re nothing to worry about. Usually AHAs or salicylic acid work well to make tone down the color difference and make them less visible.
Acne scars are texture irregularities, not just a difference in pigmentation. The most common are scars where there’s a small indentation in the skin, but they can also appear as raised and bumpy, too.
But, why does it happen?
Scars are usually caused by under the skin breakouts, more like cysts, than just white or black heads. It’s because no amount of squeezing will make one pop. A lot of them will scar if you pick at them, but this can also be down to the type of skin you have, too. People with slightly darker or more olive toned people will be more likely to scar than those with a fairer complexion. Another reason why you scar is to do with the depth of the pimple - the deeper it is the more likely it is to scar.
I already have scars, what do I do?
It won’t get rid of your scars, but to fade any redness or discoloration it’s good to use chemical exfoliants, such as AHAs and salicylic acids. But often it’s best to be gentle on your skin, as exfoliating with abrasive products will only cause more damage. Look for products with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moisturized and minimize the appearance of scars.
For something a little harsher, you can try laser treatment. It works by piercing tiny hole in your scar tissue, which is generally tougher than the rest of your skin. So by piercing the scar tissues, you’re encouraging your skin to become looser and as soft as the rest of your skin. As your skin heals, your body produces more collagen which eases the depression of the acne scar.
And lasers work in a similar way to microneedling, another alternative to treating your acne scars. Microneedling makes tiny injuries in the skin, promoting healing, and therefore a high production of collagen. You can either get a professional, or you can also do it at home.
The most important thing to do...
Your skin is more likely to scar if it's dry and under-nourished. Whether you have active acne, or deep-set scarring, people tend to think that moisturizing your skin will make it too oily, encouraging more acne. But the most important thing you can do is stick to a balanced, natural skincare routine. One of the most effective skin care ingredients you should use are plant stem cells, which will encourage your skin to produce newer, undamaged tissue. If you are prone to oily skin, moisturizing is still just as important. If you don't provide your skin with any moisture, it will make up for it by over-producing sebum, making your skin more oily than before.
So to help prevent acne, or to help encourage healing, using a Sheet Mask once a week can help restore than lost moisture and make sure your skin is in the best condition for healing.
The bottom line
For particularly deep scars (often called an ice pick scar) your dermatologists can perform a punch excision in-office. This means that the scar is cut out and sewn up, making less visible.
You can also fill the scar with hyaluronic injectables, which is called dermal fillers. This will also build up the scars so that they appear less depressed and visible. But ultimately, there’s no one way to get rid of your acne scars but avoid the temptation to scrub too hard and this can damage your skin further. Take a trip to the dermatologist and ask about dermal fillers, microneedling or laser treatment to see which one suits you better.