Scars are nothing short of maddening. Come onnnnn, skin… We GET that there used to be a pimple there. But instead of moving on (because we sure have!), our skin decides to leave a mark that lasts weeks or months. Or dare we say, sometimes years… *cue the tears*
There may come a point when we want to do something about these ghosts of pimples past. Aside from the proactive approach of attempting to prevent scarring in the first place, there are some things you can do should an unwelcome reminder of a former breakout appear on your face.
But before we begin, we do have some hard news. Technically speaking, you can’t “get rid” of any scar (from acne or otherwise). As our Chief Dermatologist, Dr. Schaffran explains, “Scars are by definition a permanent mark.” But don’t fret (or click away) just yet. There are many ways to improve the look of scars.
It’s true what they say: Time heals (almost) all wounds.
First, and most importantly, many scars from acne improve significantly on their own over time — even if you yourself do nothing. “I often encourage people to first give their skin some time to heal before jumping into treatment,” says Dr. Schaffran. So a little patience and some hardworking skincare can make a meaningful difference in the appearance of scars.
Make sure your acne is under control FIRST.
“You want to make sure acne is under control before embarking on any treatments for acne scars,” Dr. Schaffran asserts. “This is because you don’t want to go through all the steps to treat scars and then experience another breakout, which essentially means you have to start all over again.”
In other words, pursue treatment for scarring only once. Don’t waste time and resources on an issue that is on the brink of resurfacing.
Pssst! The ClearBalm 3-Step System is an incredibly effective and affordable choice to beat breakouts for good. (Adult OR teen!)
Topicals can prove effective.
In terms of what can be done to improve the appearance of scars, there are many topicals available that work. If you’re looking for over-the-counter solutions, pay close attention to active ingredients. Natural alpha-hydroxy acids (see ClearBalm Power Elixir) are brightening agents that have been proven to even out skin tone, which can alleviate the look of hyperpigmentation. Another superstar ingredient is squalane (see ClearBalm Serum Hydrator), which works to fill in the gaps in your skin, thus repairing surface damage.
Products with tretinoin (AKA retinoid) can also help brighten the skin and build collagen, making scars look better over time.
The Heavy Hitters: Chemical peels and laser treatments.
There are procedures that can be done in addition to using topical skincare: chemical peels and lasers. Peels are where a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the outer layer of old skin. In terms of laser therapy, the choice of laser depends on your type of scarring. If you mostly have redness or thick hypertrophic scars, a pulsed-dye laser (Vbeam) is helpful. If you have depressed or indented scars, then fractionated resurfacing lasers are best.
Speak to your dermatologist to design the best treatment plan for you.