Have you had acne scars that have lasted for months or years? Are you tired of having to use makeup to cover them up? Have you wondered whether it’s true that your acne scars are permanent?
Acne scars are very common. One out of 5 people have had acne scarring.
So if you’re dealing with constant reminders of your acne scars, know that you’re one of many who have these struggles.
I grew up with a ton of acne scars because I had oily skin (my skin changed to dry as I got older) and frequent breakouts. I was not properly taking care of my skin. My parents just bought me whatever skincare products that were popular.
I felt so insecure about my acne scars because even if I washed my face to get rid of my pimples, the scars were still there.
I learned that to prevent acne scars, you have to learn how to find products that work for your skin type. Not just buy whatever is trendy.
In this article, I share how to treat and prevent your acne scars.
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Truth #1: Understand what type of acne scars you have
To be able to treat your acne scars, you need to first understand what type of acne scars you have.
These are the most common types of acne scars:
- Atrophic Scars
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
- Post-Inflammatory Erythema
Atrophic scars have a sunken appearance. It includes ice pick, boxcar, or rolling scars. Each has a different appearance. The ice pick scars are small. Boxcar scars are round or oval and they are wider. Rolling scars are wave-like.
You can get atrophic scars by picking at your face and popping your pimples. Don’t do it! Use your skincare products to get rid of your pimples instead.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation looks like dark spots on the skin after your pimple disappears. This is quite common in darker skin tones.
Post-Inflammatory Erythema looks like red marks after your acne is gone.
Truth #2: You can treat your acne scars with the right method
After you have your acne scars diagnosed by a professional, you can see what treatment method to get for them. Not all treatment methods work for each type of acne scar.
Retinoids will help with all of these acne scars, but atrophic scars will need other things too.
These types of scars won’t significantly improve with just topical products you buy from the store. These are considered the more permanent scars. They take the longest to treat.
You can use retinoids, but you’ll have to get treatments that go beyond the surface of the skin like laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or microneedling.
It will depend on the type of atrophic scar and what your dermatologist says.
It’s best to have a professional do it and not try it on your own or you could damage your skin.
Good news! This is not a permanent acne scar! You can also treat it with skincare products that address hyperpigmentation.
Good ingredients for this would be niacinamide, vitamin c, azelaic acid, and glycolic acid. Wearing sunscreen also helps to prevent it.
You just need to brighten your skin and protect it with sunscreen.
This one is also not permanent. It can fade over time. Focus on products that reduce redness and skin irritation.
Ingredients you want to look for are: azelaic acid, niacinamide, green tea extract, licorice root extract, and vitamin c.
Truth #3: The Treatment Process can take a while
Depending on your type of acne scarring, it could take weeks to years to reduce the appearance of your acne scars.
Acne scars can turn more permanent the deeper the scar is.
It’s not going to be a process where you can use something once and be like “Oh wow my skin completely transformed!”
Even if you don’t have permanent acne scars, it can take weeks for the retinoids to take effect.
So patience is key when you’re trying to improve your skin.
Truth #4: Prevention is Key
It’s important to treat your acne early. This will significantly reduce your chances of permanent scarring.
You’ll save a lot of money and time when you prevent acne scars.
When I get a big zit, I slap a pimple patch on it. It works fast in reducing the pimple to prevent it from becoming a scar.
I recommend this if you have an obsession with popping your pimples. It does a good job hiding it.
Retinol or Retinoids
Differin Gel targets the root cause of acne which will help prevent you from developing acne scars.
This is why retinols and retinoids are often recommended for treating acne scars. It can help reduce hyperpigmentation also.
Make sure you study how to use it properly. There are certain ingredients you are not supposed to combine it with.
Truth #5: Sunscreen is a Must
To prevent acne scars, it’s important to wear sunscreen whenever you are in sunlight, even if it’s coming through your window.
It’s not something you just wear to the beach or when you’re outside for long periods of time. Wear it even if you’re quickly going to the grocery store and back.
The sunscreen that I am using currently is Black Girl Sunscreen. It’s my favorite because I like how moisturized and glowy my skin is afterward.
It is made especially for Black people with darker skin tones that are tired of sunscreens that leave a white residue.
Acne scars are very common and completely normal. It’s really hard to 100% prevent them even if you try. At times it can be hard to get rid of permanent acne scars, but you can reduce the appearance of them.
If you are looking to get rid of acne scars and are unsure of your next steps, see your dermatologist.