Depending on the size, site, skin type, and other variations of the scar, it may fade but they don’t entirely disappear. However, there are many ways to fade a scar and although permanent, it takes about 2 years to fade. After that, it is highly unlikely to fade any further.
Admit It! We fly to the ninth cloud every time someone compliments our skin! Physical appearance is one of the biggest confidence boosters and contributors of one’s personality and their mental wellbeing. Those who suffer from skin related issues, not only suffer mentaly, It affects their life on a daily basis, preventing them from reaching their full potential in their personal and professional life.
Scars, if explained in lay man’s term, it is a way the body replaces damaged skin. This is the most distressing consequence of acne if not treated properly. I have personally dealt with patients who were traumatized by acne scars!
If the presence of acne can cause so much distress, imagine living with a permanent mark that acne may leave behind! Scars can be due to inflammatory conditions such as acne. It can also be due to surgery, infection, or injuries. It may appear flat, lumpy, sunken, or colored. It may be painful, painless, or itchy.
The destiny of a scar depends on:
- Skin type
- Location of the scar
- The direction of the wound
- Type of Injury
- General & Nutritional condition of the patient.
Table of Content
Types of Acne Scars
- Atrophic scars are shallow and flat and they heal below the top layer of the skin. They are commonly caused by cystic acne.
- Boxcar scars are box-shaped depression with sharp edges. It can result from widespread acne or chickenpox. It often forms in areas which are thick for example the lower cheeks.
- Ice prick scars are narrow, smaller indentations that usually appear on the cheeks, post acne. They are tough to treat and require aggressive treatment.
- Rolling scars appear wavy and uneven.
- Keloid Scar is a thick round and irregular type of scar tissue which may be larger than the wound itself. It is made of collagen that the body makes after the wound has healed. It may appear darker or red compared to the normal surrounding skin. Keloid can appear up to one year post skin injury! It is mainly seen on chest, back and shin and is common in darker people.
- Hypertrophic scars are often thick and raised but are not as big as a keloid scar. They are seen after a few weeks of the injury and respond better to treatment or even get better on their own. Treatment modalities are similar to that of a keloid.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is the discoloration that is seen over the area of the skin that was affected by acne. It is seen among patients who picks or squeezes acne. They usually leave on its own with the help of proper sunblock and do not require aggressive treatment like scars.
There is not a singular treatment for keloid and it may reappear after treatment.
- Injecting steroid (triamcinolone) directly helps reduce the size, redness and itching of the scar, makes it softer. In my personal experience of dermatology practice, most keloid that I have treated using steroids, have disappeared but left an uneven skin tone causing hypo or hyperpigmentation which can also be faded.
- Cryotherapy freezes the scar and should be repeated every 14 days but is a slow process.
- Pressure therapy is when pressure is applied by wearing a cloth-like apparatus over the keloid till it becomes soft for 4-6 months but in practical experience, it is not feasible.
- Silicon dioxide gel can help soften and reduce redness of the keloid
- Surgery and skin grafting may be done if other modalities don’t work and it is the last resort. The reappearance of keloid may happen and it may be larger than the incision which makes it not worth it!
- Laser therapy is usually done in conjunction with other modalities such as steroid injections. It can be used to flatten a scar or remove the discoloration post steroid treatment. Pulsed dye laser therapy is best suited for keloid.
- Radiation can be used for scars that don’t respond to other treatments.
Homemade Remedies For Scar
- Aloe Vera Gel has antioxidants that help in reducing redness and swelling. It also has soothing and moisturizing properties. It removes excess oil and sunburn naturally. If applied from the plant, it’s even better.
- Coconut oil or any oil rich in omega fatty acids help reduce the appearance of the scar. Getting access to organic coconut oil is a challenge. Be careful as too much oil can cause breakouts.
- Baking Soda balances the natural PH of the skin and exfoliates dead cells. Using two parts water and 1 part baking soda and making a paste out of it and leaving it for a minute can do wonders!
- Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with honey and put over the scar. It should be applied for 10 minutes. For best results, apply it 3 times a day.
- Onion Extracts are best known for anti-scarring properties. It might sting a little but the Bioflavonoids it has can show it affects within a few weeks!
- Honey helps in tissue regeneration. The ‘darker the honey, the more medicinal properties it has.
- Lemon has natural alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) which help to fade scars and also lighten skin. It aids in cell regeneration and returns the skin’s elasticity. Lemon can make the skin sensitive to sunlight so don’t forget your SPF! (SPF 15 or more is recommended for daily use).
- Essential Oil -Mixing apricot oil with lavender and rose oils is also a great way to fade scars.
- Unfiltered raw shea butter helps stretch marks in women so why not scars? It is highly moisturizing and it is better to avoid refined or store bought shea butter as the nutrients are not the same as the raw one.
- Turmeric works magically for acne scars. It has compound curcumin which is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. It reduces the pigment melanin and hence reduces scar marks.
Treatment For Scars:
- Chemical Peeling– Alpha hyroxy acid (AHA) is usually used for acne scars. It exfoliates the top layer of the skin removing dead cells and debris and helps make acne scar lighter. It is suitable for all types of acne. Recently a lot of people perform this process at home which may not work, as a dermatologist or aesthetician’s supervision as they will be able to diagnose the patient accurately and will be aware about the type and concentration of peel. There are salicylic acid and glycolic acid peels available as well.
- Retinoid are best for atrophic or depressed scars. They help by skin cell regeneration and improve the skin texture as well as reduce discoloration helping the scars fade.
- Salicylic acids are just the ‘go-to’ kind of treatment for any type of acne, available as skin pads to the solution. It clears pores, reduces swelling, redness and exfoliates skin making scars less noticeable.
- Sunscreens are a must to wear over scars on a daily basis to prevent it from darkening.
Scars Treatment Procedures
Dermabrasion is suitable for scars which are closer to the surface such as the box or rolling scars. However, it may help fade deeper scars as well. It is safe for people with fair skin as on darker skin it may cause pigmentation.
Microdermabrasion is safer as it is suitable for all skin types and color. The swelling and redness heals completely within 24 hours, in case of microdermabrasion
In dermabrasion, anesthesia is used after which a high-speed instrument with an abrasive wheel removes the outer layer of the skin and makes it smoother. Generally after microdermabrasion the patient is advised to avoid make up for 2 weeks (till the redness persists post-procedure) and must use a good sunscreen (SPF 30) when heading out.
Tip: Patients are asked not to smoke, drink alcohol, or consume aspirin-containing medication up to 48 hours post-procedure.
Microdermabrasion is a less aggressive procedure where tiny crystals are used to exfoliate the skin. It does not require anesthesia and is a quicker process.
Just like peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin. It has a faster healing time compared to the rest of the procedures.
Note – Not advised on patients with active acne breakouts and darker tone of the skin.
They are injected under the surface of the skin and are used in case of the box, rolling, or depressed scars to ‘even-out’ and plump up the scars which help it to fade. The filler can be made out of collagen, fat or the commercial ones may be used.
It is best for depressed scars where small, handheld, pen-like, needle studded roller is used over the scar and as it pricks the skin, collagen is made and depth of scar is reduced. According to the American Association of Dermatology, it is a slow process and may take up to 9 months.
Personally, during my dermatology practice, I have witnessed it to work on patients who regularly follow up. With the help of a needle, the fibrous tissue is loosened, which helps the deep scars come up close to the surface making it less noticeable.
Best Acne Scar Removal Products: – Products Used to Treat Acne:
1. Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
- Clinically shown to reduce superficial and deep scars
- Used once a day daily makes consumers comply easily
- Works for acne, post-surgical, burn scars
2. Cystic Acne Treatment and Acne Scar Remover
- It has bentonite clay, organic Arnica, tea tree oil, and aloe vera to treat cystic acne – fight the zits with the power of nature!
- Prevents acne breakouts
3. Keeva Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment Cream
- Creamy & Light
- Natural components such as tea tree oil which unclogs pores prevent breakouts,
- Antibacterial & Antifungal
- Kills bacteria within pores
- Significant fading of the scar has been noted
4. TruSkin vitamin C serum
- Nutrient for collagen production
- Serum with a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E & hyaluronic acid – designed to correct anti-aging signs such as fine lines, wrinkles and fades scars
- Free of synthetic color additives and is a plant-based formulation
- Certified Cruelty Free
- 90- day money back return policy if it fails to work
Where to Buy? Check it out on Amazon
5. Cerave Retinol Serum
- Reduces post-acne scars
- Vitamin A in the serum makes the skin look smoother, even-toned and brighter
The Real Verdict
Most of us want to look and feel flawless and we have the right to do so! In the case of post-acne scars, as time passes by, collagen breaks down and blood supply to the scar reduces.
Scars hinder our ultimate desire to acquire a porcelain skin but the good news is, even if they do not disappear there are natural methods, in-office procedures and laser treatment modalities which help us minimize its appearance and make it as light as possible. The only way to not have post-acne scars is to not have acne at all! Diet, Hygiene, sleeping patterns, and stress management are essential for healthy skin as well.
Prevention is better than cure which is why I have emphasized on explaining acne in the very beginning. Being involved in the field of Dermatology, if I have tried to deliver a singular message to everyone that is we should always love the skin that we are in, as we will be wearing it for the rest of our lives!
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