Acne comes with a double whammy: It’s bad enough that nasty red zits pop up when you least expect them. But when the breakouts subside, they sometimes leave acne scars that linger for months. Acne-related scarring can leave you feeling self-conscious, but there is reason to smile. With time, discipline, and the right mix of products, even stubborn acne scars can be made to fade away.
Know your acne scars
The term ‘acne scar’ refers to marks left behind by breakouts. When acne lesions begin to clear, the skin cells start the damage repair process by producing collagen. Sometimes, too little collagen is produced, leading to a concave scar. At other times, the production of too much collagen results in scars that look like slightly raised bumps. Let’s take a closer look:
Atrophic scars: Acne scars with a concave shape are called atrophic scars. These are little shallow depressions on the skin’s surface and can vary in appearance.
- Boxcar scars: Broad with well-defined edges, they often appear along the jaw and lower cheeks.
- Ice-pick scars: Commonly spotted on the cheeks, these are narrow and deep pits on the skin’s surface.
Rolling scars: These vary in depth. Their edges are sloped and less defined.
- Hypertrophic and keloid scars: These raised bumps appear where the acne once was. While hypertrophic scars are roughly the same size as the original acne, keloid scars spread over a wider area than the original spot. They appear on the chest, back, shoulders, and jawline.
Hyperpigmentation may occur as the acne heals and is common in people with darker skin tones. Acne-related inflammation fuels the skin cells to produce more melanin, which results in dark or discoloured patches. The melanin defends the skin from further trauma. Hyperpigmentation is not a scar, however, and usually goes away on its own.
Get rid of acne scars at home
There is no express fix for acne scars. If you want quick results and cost is not a factor, look into procedures like laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and surgery. But there are easier and more affordable ways to tackle your acne scars. Discover how you can minimise those marks both quickly and safely.
1. Begin by treating the acne
If you are prone to breakouts, you could be spot-treating new scars every few days. It is a vicious cycle that never ends. What you absolutely do not want is for the acne problem to get worse. If it progresses from mild to moderate and then to severe, your risk of scarring will increase. The solution? Attack the problem at the root—fight the acne first!
Fortify your skincare regimen with a soothing anti-acne formula. An over-the-counter product such as Clearica Anti-Acne Cream works against the entire acne ecosystem. Among its active ingredients is green tea, which fights redness and inflammation. Guava extract, another key ingredient, is anti-inflammatory and promotes collagen production. When used consistently, the cream reduces redness, clears acne-causing bacteria, and rejuvenates the skin.
2. Go gentle on your skin
Been scrubbing the skin hard? Bad idea! Aggressive scrubbing irritates the skin and strips it of natural oils, leaving it at risk of breaking out. So, don’t be rough while washing your face. Use a mild cleanser and work in the product gently using circular motions. Later, pat the skin dry (don’t rub!) with a soft, clean towel.
If acne scars are your pet peeve, stop squeezing and popping pimples or picking at scabs. By touching the breakouts constantly, you risk damaging the veins, glands, and tissue around the spot—and that can lead to scarring.
3. Get picky about skincare When your acne—and their scars—refuse to go away, it is tempting to pile on product after product. Something is bound to work, right? Wrong! Loading your face with too many products could aggravate the skin, making the scars look redder and more noticeable.
Be selective about what you use. Pick up only non-comedogenic products as these will not clog up the pores. Gentle chemical exfoliants and peels can be effective on both acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Look for products containing ingredients like salicylic acid and alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs). These pull away dead skin cells and debris while minimising the appearance of acne scars. If discolouration is your issue, Vitamin C serums could help fade those marks.
Even the scars from a bad bout of acne can clear up eventually. Just be patient, stick to a skincare routine that works for you, and wait for the scars to heal. In time, the scars will fade and a clear, even complexion will appear for all to see. Good things come to those who wait and are diligent about their skincare!