Probably the worst side effect of having acne are the scars that can sometimes be left behind. Scars are generally causes by picking at pimples or attempting to pop a pimple before it has been fully matured. Pimples can also be popped in a way that causes scarring to occur. Also, if you try to pop any kind of acne other than pimples infections and scarring are likely to be made worse. What can be done about acne scars? Well, sadly contrary to some of the information available there is not anything can be done for deep acne scars such as ice pick, box car, and hypertrophic scars with home remedies or topical treatments. A possible reason why home remedies or topical treatments get referred to as something that will fade acne scars is because people sometimes mistake acne scars as being post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) aka dark spots, red marks, age marks, and acne marks. PIH can appear to be acne scars, but in reality they are leftover bumps from inflamed acne such as pimples, nodules, and cysts.
Are there any home remedies for acne scars?
The following scenario is just one example of many of the reasons why a home remedy or topical treatment may be referred to as an acne scar treatment. A person with PIH may end up using a home remedy or topical treatment that is referred to as having an effect on acne scars. Weeks or months go by and the PIH begin to fade. So the person then may end up assuming that the fading of their PIH were acne scars that faded instead. If the person sees their PIH as acne scars then they attribute the home remedy or topical treatment as being something that can be used to fade acne scars when instead it faded the persons PIH not their acne scars. Some examples of the remedies that are sometimes referred to as home remedies for acne scars are lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, egg whites, vitamin e oil, honey, tea tree oil, aspirin, olive oil, aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, and the list goes on.
Are there any home treatments for acne scars?
Some ingredients found in topical treatments that are sometimes referred to as home acne scar treatment include tretinoin, hydroquinone, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid (such as glycolic acid), mederma, and the list goes on. A brand name version of tretinoin is Retin-A. Jessner’s peel and LED light therapy are other treatments sometimes referred to as home acne scar treatments. Salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acid peels are also sometimes refereed to as home acne scar treatments, but even salicylic acid face wash and alpha hydroxy acid moisturizers are sometimes referred to as home acne scar treatments. Professional microdermabrasion is an acne scar treatment, but the hand-held microdermabrasion exfoliator that you get at the store is not an acne scar treatment.
The only home treatment for acne scars.
All of the home remedies and topical treatments previously mentioned thus far may help to fade dark spots and many of them also treat acne, but they will not do anything for acne scars (except for microdermabrasion). The only thing you can do at home for scars is needling. Needling uses a tiny roller that has tiny spaced out needles on the roller. Basically you roll the needling device on your skin, the tiny needles puncture the skin creating a controlled injury prompting the skin to create more collagen in the injured area. The increased collagen in the area plumps up the skin which in turn makes scars appear less noticeable. Results with needling may vary with sometimes little to no change in the appearance of scars. The needles supposedly do not harm the epidermis, the device may draw blood, and a topical antiseptic may need to be applied prior to needling. Use a high quality needling device otherwise some of the needles may come off a lower quality device and get stuck into the skin. Have a professional preform the needling procedure on your skin or at least seek professional advice before attempting a needling procedure on yourself otherwise you may make acne scars worse or create more scars. Needling has not be found to have an effect on boxcar, ice pick, or hypertrophic scars, needling will only have an effect on rolling acne scars.
Talk to a dermatologist before attempting needling or any type of scar treatment. Do not take any scar treatment lightly. A lot of thought and consideration should go into deciding whether or not to attempt or have any kind of scar treatment done. We recommend that you have any type of scar treatment done by a skincare professional that has plenty of experience with the procedure. Seeing a dermatologist will also allow you to verify whether or not your acne is under control enough before having an acne scar treatment procedure done. Until your face is clear of acne there is no point in having any type of acne scar treatment done. Some of the chemical peels previously mentioned such as the Jessner’s, glycolic, and salicylic acid may have an effect on deep ice pick scars, but they should only be applied by a doctor or esthetician.
Other types of professional treatments that have been found to have some efficacy on acne scars include TCA cross, subcision, punch excision followed by dermal grafting, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing. No scar treatment will completely get rid of acne scars. So, keep in mind that when attempting an acne scar treatment the goal should not be to make the scars disappear but to appear less noticeable.
Tips to prevent acne scars.
To prevent acne scars avoid picking at scabs from acne that have been popped. Scars are usually a result of picking at popped pimples. Another way to prevent acne scars is to let your acne treatment do its work when it comes to pimples instead of popping them in the first place. We know that is not always an option so if you have to pop a pimple wait until a pimple has fully matured to pop it to cause the least amount of scarring. We have outlined steps to pop a pimple by causing the least amount of scarring on a separate post. Click here to learn how to pop a pimple. The best way to prevent acne scars is to not have acne in the first place. Getting rid of acne usually requires following a daily acne routine. We recommend following the routine we have outlined on a separate page that gives you the information you need to get clear applying benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil in a certain way. Click here to go to the acne routine.