Smooth Skin Journey: Strategies for Getting Rid of Stubborn Acne Scars

Acne breakouts are normal but can be very painful sometimes. Most of the time, the reddish or brownish acne markings that remain after pimples1 have healed will disappear without the need for therapy.

But getting rid of acne scars can be a very long process. When the acnes are picked or squeezed, it can increase the chances of the scarring staying for a longer time.

1. Acne

Acne is a skin disorder2 that arises when the follicles of your hair become clogged with oil and dead skin cells on the skin surface. It is the cause of whiteheads, blackheads3, cystic acne, and pimples. Acne is most frequent among adolescents, although it may afflict people of any age.

Acne treatments are effective, but acne may be stubborn. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and as one starts to fade, another appears.

2. Symptoms

Acne symptoms vary according to the severity of your condition:

Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)

Blemishes (open plugged pores)

Small red lumps that are tender (papules)

Pimples (pustules) are papules containing pus at the tips

Underneath the epidermis, there are painful, pus-filled tumors (cystic lesions)

One can commonly find acne on the forehead, chest, upper back, face, or shoulders.

3. Acne Scarring

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By Jakayla Toney/Unsplash

Acne affects around 80% of persons between the ages of 11 and 30. Acne scars are quite frequent on the face, chest, and back. One out of every five develop acne scars, resulting in darker skin, damaged skin texture, brown marks, damaged blood vessels4, and deeper scars if not taken proper measures on the surrounding skin.

Acne scar reduction necessitates using either over-the-counter medicines or one or more treatments done by a dermatologist (who provides medical advice).

Acne scars can be a very hard and expensive process, but we’ve got some easy ways to start your journey.

4. Acne Scarring is Caused By

Your skin is the biggest organ in your body. There are three primary levels to it. They are, in order of thickness, the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis5.

The layers shield your delicate inside organs from the environment, UV rays, and germs, and they also aid in the production of vitamin D as a result of sunshine. Acne may appear everywhere there are sebaceous glands, although it is most common on the face, back, and chest.

Acne scars develop as a result of the inflammation of acne lesions. Some acne lesions are tiny, with shallow acne scars that heal rapidly. Blemishes‘ contents can sometimes leak into the surrounding tissue, causing deeper acne scarring. The skin’s response is to generate new collagen strands to heal the scar.

It’s important to remember that just because you have acne doesn’t imply you’ll acquire acne scars. And if you do (one in every five acne sufferers will have acne scarring), the good news is that not all acne scars are permanent!

There are treatments available. Some therapies almost completely erase the acne scars, while others assist the skin in healing itself using its collagen.

Gently exfoliate your skin every week to prevent clogged pores and active breakouts caused by too much collagen.

4.1. Types

If you have acne scars, you are likely to have more than one kind. Rarely does someone have just boxcar scars, or only keloid scars6, and so on. Each of these can be successfully addressed to various degrees.

Acne Scarring that is atrophic scars.

4.1.1. Ice pick:

An ice pick is a tool with a broad shaft that narrows to the point. This form of acne scar is similar to the tool in that it has a large hole at the top that narrows to a point as it travels deeper into the skin.

This type of indentation is frequent, yet it is also one of the most difficult acne scars to cure. They can be seen on your brow and upper cheekbones, where your skin is thinner.

Rolling scars are more common on the lower cheekbones and jaw, where your skin’s thicker. The indents have sloping borders, giving the skin an irregular and wavy appearance.

4.1.2. Boxcar scars:

Boxcar acne scars are indents with sharper edges. Those edges penetrate the flesh deeply. These acne scars are frequently found on the lower cheeks and jaw.

4.1.3. Hypertrophic or keloid scars:

These acne scar tissue lesions protrude from the skin. They are caused by the overgrowth of fibrous structures, such as collagen, in the skin’s area. These acne scars, typically present on the chest, back, shoulders, and jawline, can be itchy, sensitive, or painful.

5. At-home Treatments For Acne Scars

The finest creams are over-the-counter. Consult your dermatologist to determine which is best for your skin type and acne scar kind. There are several effective creams available. All these creams might have side effects depending on your skin’s texture.

They include one or more of the following compounds or a mixture of them. These are also known as nonenergy-based techniques:

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

The acid lactic

Retinoids

Salicylic acid

Topical retinoids

Scars can also be concealed with facial hair or cosmetics. There are several over-the-counter cosmetic options.

5.1. Administering Chemical Peels & Microdermabrasion for Treating Acne Scars: Expert Views

Sarah Roberts, a licensed beauty and skincare consultant and the founder of the online beauty publication A Beauty Edit shares their experience administering chemical peels and microdermabrasion:

  • Chemical Peels

People favor chemical peels [as a method] for reducing acne scars; over the years, they have discovered— through personalized treatment plans— that applying various acid solutions can resurface skin: this reduces the visibility of acne scars noticeably.

Like any skin treatment7, chemical peels present a unique [set of] merits and demerits; the most pronounced advantage is an evident decrease in acne scars—yielding improved [overall] skin texture.

Conversely, some individuals might report temporary redness or experience a sensation akin to tingling.

Sun sensitivity, skin irritation, or color changes in the skin may also occur as side effects; [it is] therefore imperative to [engage in a thorough discussion] with your skincare specialist before commencing treatment.

  • Microdermabrasion

Known for its efficacy in enhancing skin texture and tone, microdermabrasion—a minimally invasive treatment—also efficiently reduces fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring, and pigmentation issues.

A few years back, I had a male client in his 30s; he struggled with persistent acne scars and a dull skin tone; consequently, we initiated a series of Microdermabrasion treatments for him.

His skin [demonstrated] an astonishing improvement in brightness and texture; furthermore, his acne scars faded impressively – the results were remarkable.

Treatment Effects: Pre and Post-Intervention – The treatment [not only] mitigates acne scars but also augments overall skin health.

Following a single session, clients frequently proclaim an instantaneous transformation; their skin appears brighter – even exuding smoothness they hadn’t experienced before.

Microdermabrasion offers significant results despite being non-invasive; however, it also presents possible drawbacks [such] as post-treatment redness and minor swelling—typically resolved within a few hours.

[In certain instances] minor bruising may ensue; moreover, the skin might exhibit dryness or a tight feeling post-procedure.

We highly recommend regular moisturization and sunscreen use following treatment–proactive measures to alleviate [any] discomfort.

Drawing from my experience and individual cases, the necessity of selecting an appropriate treatment tailored to your unique skin type and needs is inescapable.

Microdermabrasion is a potential starting point for those grappling with mild acne scarring; however, dealing with deep-seated severe scars may necessitate more aggressive treatments: chemical peels or laser resurfacing could serve as a fitting solution.

Always engage a professional: they can evaluate your skin–guiding you towards the most effective treatment.

Sarah Roberts,: Beauty Expert
Sarah Roberts

5.2. Preventing Acne Scars at Home with DIY Masks

It can be expensive with doctor visits every week. But by using these masks, you can see a significant difference in your skin in weeks, especially if you have sensitive skin.

5.2.1. Aloe Vera gel

Aloe Vera Gel
By: Sommai on Shutterstock

Aloe vera, the uncontested king of natural skincare, offers anti-bacterial and astringent qualities that aid in the natural treatment of acne scars.

The plant’s antioxidants heal damaged skin’s surface, while Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc lighten and erase acne scars in their gel.

Directions:

1. Combine a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the aloe vera gel.

2. Spread the mixture evenly over the afflicted region and leave it to settle for 10 minutes.

3. Rinse with lukewarm water and thoroughly moisturize your skin.

This light therapy should be repeated twice a week.

5.2.2. Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey

Apple Cider Vinegar
By: ThamKC on Shutterstock

Apple cider vinegar contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which aid in removing dead skin cells and the unclogging of pores on the skin. It also lightens acne scars and maintains the pH balance of your skin.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of green tea, five tablespoons of sugar, and one teaspoon of honey

Directions

1. Combine the vinegar and green tea in a mixing dish. Now, add the sugar to the bowl and thoroughly mix it in.

2. Stir in the honey until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

3. Apply this face mask to your face and let it on for 15 minutes.

4. Thoroughly rinse with lukewarm water.

This face mask recipe should be used once or twice a week.

5.3.3. Cinnamon & Honey

Cinnamon
By: Ekramar on Shutterstock

Cinnamon contains anti-bacterial qualities and aids in skin cell renewal. At the same time, honey heals and moisturizes injured skin.

Combine one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and two teaspoons of honey.

Directions:

1. Apply this face mask to a damp face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.

2. Rinse it well with lukewarm water.

Use this treatment twice a week for optimum results.

5.4.4. Almond Milk & Egg White

Almond Milk
By: Wichy on Shutterstock

Egg white has astringent qualities that aid in oil management and healing capabilities that assist in the reduction of acne scars. Almond milk, on the other hand, nourishes your skin while gently moisturizing it.

Combine two tablespoons of 100% natural almond milk, an egg white, and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients and apply evenly to your face, avoiding the region around your eyes.

2. After 15 minutes, rinse with lukewarm water.

Use this face mask twice a week for optimum results.

5.5. Acne Scars: Natural Products/Diet

You can’t go wrong by increasing your intake of fruits, veggies, and seafood to get rid of acne scars. Consuming nutrients that naturally decrease inflammation, increase collagen production, and block environmental pollutants is one of the jigsaw parts to reducing acne.

It’s a relationship between your skin and you in which diet, products, and your mental health all play a role. Food is only one point on the triangle of naturally supplying your skin with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to be strong and healthy.

Consider it a foundation for your body. There’s no better way to do it than from the inside out.

so now let’s look into the food which helps get rid of acne scars

Kale

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by Adolfo Félix/unsplash

Kale’s antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals help decrease hyperpigmentation, essential for leveling out skin tone. Vitamin C also increases collagen production, which aids in the quicker healing of acne scars by boosting the cell turnover rate.

Sweet Potatoes

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by Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is excellent for treating acne scars and acne and preventing wrinkles. There are hundreds of retinol creams and serums on the market that promise to clear up your acne, but for people under the age of 30, this powerful component may be too harsh for their skin.

So, instead, eat it! Or, at the very least, the original form.

Pumpkin

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by Olivia Spink/Unsplash

There may be a season for anything pumpkin-flavored, but there’s a lot more to this gourd than pie and lattes.

Pumpkin, which contains fruit enzymes, zinc, and alpha hydroxy acids, helps soften skin and restore pH equilibrium. That’s why you’ll find it in a lot of masks and exfoliating treatments.

But all that fiber and zinc will also benefit you inside. The regulation of the production of oil is maintained by zinc.

Lemon

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by Steve Doig/Unsplash

Because fresh lemon juice is a natural astringent, it works wonders for tightening sagging skin and erasing blemishes.

However, when the qualities of lemon are packed in a serum, squeezed into your water, sprinkled on a salad, or included in your diet, it may perform a little of skin magic – as long as the peel is included.

A 2014 research verified the anticarcinogenic and protective benefits of orange peel flavonoids.

Berries

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by Alex Block/Unsplash

Don’t be fooled by their small size: strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries! These infants are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, also present in bell peppers, kiwi, and broccoli.

Having vitamin C in your bloodstream is a potent weapon against blotchy skin, and the antioxidants in the berries work together to prevent those bothersome dark spots from developing in the first place.

Quinoa

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by Denise Johnson/Unsplash

A cup of cooked quinoa has 17 to 27 grams of fiber, which will help you avoid constipation. Pooping regularly allows your body to remove toxins, resulting in clearer skin and fewer black patches.

Salmon

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by Caroline Attwood/Unsplash

The greatest source of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon with the skin, although sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are all good alternatives.

Add these into your diet for a pimple’s clear skin, as it will help you repair your underlying tissue. Also, avoid food containing lactic acid if you want a fast result in reducing acne scars.

5.6. Procedures/Treatment Options for Resurfacing:

Here are some of the best treatments provided by dermatologists if you want an even skin tone and skin color:

5.6.1. Chemical Peels:

This procedure removes the skin’s surface with the use of specific chemicals. When the top layer is removed, the new skin that comes in is usually smoother and has fewer scars.

Chemical peels are a therapeutic, cosmetic technique that may aid in the reduction of age symptoms on your face.

A dermatologist will apply a chemical solution to your skin during chemical peels. This solution scrapes away damaged skin cells, enabling the growth of healthy skin in their stead.

5.6.2. Microdermabrasion:

Microdermabrasion treatments have numerous benefits. Microdermabrasion, like dermabrasion, removes the top layer of skin with specific equipment (tiny needles), which is helpful if you are looking to get rid of acne scars.

Employ a minimally abrasive tool to softly sand your skin, eliminating the thicker, uneven outer layer.

This skin rejuvenation procedure is used to address minor acne scarring, discoloration, UV damage, and stretch marks.

5.6.3. Laser Resurfacing/Fractional Laser Therapy:

A laser is used to burn the damaged collagen beneath the skin, which helps in reducing acne scars. The body’s wound-healing response is used to generate new, healthy collagen in this method.

With the help of the laser resurfacing technique, wrinkles can be reduced. It may also be used to cure skin discoloration and enhance your complexion if you have scars or sun damage.

After these procedures, the dermatologist’s office will provide you with medicated creams that help with post-inflammatory pigmentation, a huge part of this therapy is the healing process. So be patient.

5.6.4. Punch Excision:

Punch excision is a specialized procedure used to treat acne scars and ice-pick scars and get rid of acne scars. Acne scarring can manifest itself in various ways, each of which is classified as a subtype by dermatologists.

Subtypes to treat acne scars include rolling, boxcar, and ice pick. Ice pick scars are a type of acne scar that appears as very thin but deep holes on the face.

These sorts of acne scars are sometimes difficult to cure. They can affect any area of the face but are most commonly found on the cheeks and temples. However, such placement is a highly successful treatment for many of these scars.

6. Botox, Fillers, and Laser Treatments for Treating Acne Scars: Expert Suggestions

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, Founder and Medical Director at cosmeticlaserskinsurgery.com, shares their expertise:

  • Botox:

Longevity – 2-4 months

Effectiveness – Highly effective for wrinkles created by muscles, which include glabella or eleven lines, horizontal forehead lines, crows feet or wrinkles around the eyes, or bunny lines (around the nose).

Side effects – If placed incorrectly, it can cause droopiness of eyelids, eyebrows, or [heaviness of the forehead].

  • Fillers:
[Depending on the filler], results can last [6 months to 2 years].

Effectiveness: Highly effective for filling in hollowness, wrinkles, crevices, and indentations in the face and restoring volume in areas with aging and acne scars.

Side effects: If done improperly, it can cause lumpiness or color changes in the skin [A rare side effect] is vascular occlusion, which is from poor injection technique from injecting into an artery. Infections are rare with filler injections. Also, allergic reactions are rare.

  • Laser treatments:

Longevity: Results can last six months to 5 years.

Effectiveness: Highly effective in treating wrinkles, acne scars, sun damage, brown spots or pigmentation, red spots or broken capillaries, [as well as] skin tightening.

Side effects: If done improperly, [it] can lead to scarring and infection.

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar: Expert
Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

7. Final Thoughts 

Acne scars can be aggravating, but several treatments are available to make them less visible. Most scars are permanent. However, a healthcare practitioner can assist you in locating the appropriate therapy to help minimize the look of your scars.

People with sensitive skin have to be careful around the sun, so wear sunscreen and use vitamin C serum. Acne scars skin heals eventually as cell regeneration takes time.

Still, you can go for medical treatments such as soft tissue fillers, laser treatments, chemical solutions, and chemical peels.

But we do recommend going to a dermatologist’s office. There are different treatments for different types of scars, such as flattening raised scars or simply acne scars, so choose your preferred treatment.

Try these techniques, and if you know any better means of reducing acne scars, feel free to share them with us.

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

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  3. McDougald, L. R. “Blackhead disease (histomoniasis) in poultry: a critical review.” Avian diseases 49.4 (2005): 462-476. ↩︎
  4. Roth, Gerald J. “Platelets and blood vessels: the adhesion event.” Immunology today 13.3 (1992): 100-105. ↩︎
  5. Monfort, Asun, et al. “Production of human tissue‐engineered skin trilayer on a plasma‐based hypodermis.” Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine 7.6 (2013): 479-490. ↩︎
  6. Shih, Barbara, and Ardeshir Bayat. “Genetics of keloid scarring.” Archives of dermatological research 302 (2010): 319-339. ↩︎
  7. McCullough, Jerry L., and Kristen M. Kelly. “Prevention and treatment of skin aging.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1067.1 (2006): 323-331. ↩︎
  1. It’s been a while my girlfriend is complaining abut her acne scars. I’m gonna send her this article as I’m sure this will help her.

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