Acne scars: Treatment
Safe and effective treatment for acne scars begins with a consultation. During the consultation, a dermatologist will examine your skin, playing close attention to your scars. A dermatologist will also ask you some essential questions.
To get the most from your consultation, many people find it helpful to answer the following questions BEFORE meeting with a dermatologist:
Why do I want to treat my acne scars?
Treatment is not for everyone. Some people feel that the scars are not so bad. Others feel that the scars affect their everyday life. Dermatologists often recommend treatment when someone answers “yes” to one or more of the following questions:
- Do I often wish that I could get rid of my acne scars?
- Do I feel that my scars limit my opportunities to date, get a job, advance my career, or perform well in school?
- Am I less social now than before I had acne scars?
How do I want to look after treatment?
- Some people want less noticeable scars. Others wish to eliminate wavy skin texture.
What can I afford to spend on treatment?
- Medical insurance does not cover the cost.
How much downtime can I afford?
- Some treatments require downtime.
How much time will I devote to getting treatment and caring for my skin?
- Your answer will help determine which treatments will be best for you.
How do dermatologists treat acne scars?
- If you and your dermatologist believe that treatment is right for you, your dermatologist will create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In creating this plan, your dermatologist will consider many things, including scar types and where the scars appear on your body.
Simple Guide Treating Acne Scars and Skin Damage
If you see signs that your acne is leaving a scar on your skin, you don’t have to grin and bear it. There are lots of ways to heal your scars and keep new ones from forming.
Cortisone and Fade Creams
If your scar is red or swollen, use a cortisone cream to calm your skin, says Tina Alster, MD, a Georgetown University professor of dermatology. The cortisone is absorbed by skin cells and reduces inflammation. You can buy skin creams with cortisone without a prescription. Next, you’ll want to concentrate on lightening any dark areas left from the acne scar. “Hydroquinone, a popular skin lightener, has recently fallen out of favor and is now being omitted from many fading creams due to irritation and carcinogenic concern,” Alster says. But there are other ingredients in skin creams sold without a prescription that can help lighten your dark spots. Kojic acid (a natural skin lightener derived from mushroom extract), arbutin (also called bearberry extract), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are great alternative ingredients to look for in lightening creams.
Laser and Filler Treatments
If your acne scars don’t fade away on their own, it may be time to consider booking an appointment with your dermatologist. In one to three sessions, laser skin resurfacing using fractionated laser technology can even out the skin surface and increase the formation of new collagen. Collagen is a protein that’s a building block of the skin. The new collagen can help fill in acne scars. Ablative lasers vaporize your scar, allowing smoother skin to take its place. Non-ablative lasers help activate the production of collagen without damaging the surface of your skin. Filler injections can help fill in the indentations left behind from deep acne scars, says Ron Moy, MD, a former president of the American Academy of Dermatology. But the downside to fillers is that they need to be repeated every 4 to 6 months, as the product reabsorbs into the skin over time.