Acne Scar Treatment
There are many ways to go about trying to temporarily hide or fix acne scarring, but what I have found most effective is using a research backed, scientifically proven method to remove damaged acne scarring at its root, and work with the body’s natural healing processes to fully heal skin as opposed to trying to cover up scars with lotions and makeup.
- At-Home Treatments, Products & Microneedling, you can use at home acne scar creams, acne scar serums, or acne scar microneedling devices. At home creams and serums can give skin healing nutrients it needs for the most effective healing. At home procedures such as microneedling can target deeper damage and encourage the skin to come off as well as new healthy skin to come up underneath.
- Microneedling, microneedling with a Derma Roller or Derma Pen can be done at home or in a professional setting and it works by taking off the top layer of damaged skin while encouraging new collagen and healthy skin growth underneath.
- Fillers, a filler is where a dermatologist injects your skin with collagen to lift indented skin, however the effects are only cosmetic and temporary.
- Subcision, subcision is where a trained punctures your skin with a needle to release the tether in your scarred skin for an attempt to heal it at the root.
- Lasers, including Fraxel and others, are where a professional uses a laser to remove the top layer of your scarred skin which can removed damaged scarring as well as encourage new tissue growth in the days to come.
- Chemical Peels, chemical peels work similarly to lasers in that they remove the top layer of damaged skin which also encourages new healthier skin growth underneath
Lasers, professional micro-needling, chemical peels and more can all get at the damaged skin and help remove it at the root. There are also at-home methods you can use. You can also use a combination of at-home and professional methods, such as going in to have professional micro-needling done and then using at home peptide serums and moisturizing serums to make sure your healing process goes as smoothly as possible and is as effective as possible.
All of these treatments take time, and work with your body’s natural healing process. You can apply ingredients in all cases to help the healing process and help nurture your skin for the best results possible.
When I first discovered my acne scarring, I started to pile on creams and lotions including coconut oil and MSM cream, to the point people would ask me if I had just showered or been in the rain hours after application, and the worse part is they could still see my scarring as well as my dripping oily cream covered face. I have found that it is much more satisfying and effective to treat the cause of my scarring at its root to reveal new healthy skin underneath so I don’t have to hide under layers of oil and makeup in order to feel ok going in public, and even then knowing my scarring is visible for everyone to see.
Once I realized I wanted to heal my scarring at its root and completely remove my acne scars, I started to research and went to a professional dermatologist to get a consultation. After learning about microneedling and copper peptides from the dermatologist, I kept researching and discovered scientific journals, before and after photos, and learned everything I could about the skin’s healing process and how to heal scarring so I could apply it specifically to my own situation and learn how to heal acne scarring.
My research led me to the efficacy of at home microneedling and copper peptides to get rid of old acne scars as well as learning more about the body’s natural healing process at the same time.
Acne Scar Healing Process Explained with Science-Backed Research
When I first started researching how to heal my acne-scarred skin, I wanted to know not only what would work to heal my skin, but also why and how it worked.
It wasn’t enough for me to read one line on a salesy site or see one semi-ok before and after picture.
I wanted to know the full process. I wanted process pics.
I wanted to see medical research and chemical breakdowns of how the lotions and serums interacted with your skin to produce results.
I wanted to know not only that the process I was reading about would work, but also why it worked and how it worked.
It was important to me to know the healing hadn’t been a fluke wasted on one person, or that it wasn’t some elaborate photoshop. Most importantly, I wanted to know how the treatment process worked so I could replicate it, and so I would have confidence knowing it would be able to work on me and heal my scarred skin.
My scars were deep so I knew I needed something that actually worked and healed skin on a deep level, not simply something that would “cover up” the damage.
Here is the acne scar healing treatment process I used to heal my scars. This page is exactly what I was looking and hoping for a few years ago but could not find laid out anywhere.
Here I break down how Vitamin C Serum for discolored and light scars, or a copper peptide cream for deeper scars, a micro-needling roller and exfoliation cream can work together to heal your damaged skin and the best part is it’s scientifically and medically research-backed.
How and why do acne scars form?
The science Journal Nature explains that the body doesn’t like to leave open wounds for a long time because they are susceptible to getting infected, which is why the human body sends collagen to repair wounds quickly, which leaves the appearance of bulky scar tissue, especially as you get older.
“In healthy skin, collagen fibres form a lattice. But during wound healing, fibroblasts lay down collagen fibres parallel to each other, which creates tissue that is stiff and weak.”
Essentially, your body quickly sends collagen to repair wounded skin, which makes the scar look bulky and scar-like, and the scar’s skin was built quickly to cover the wound, meaning it is not as structurally sound as the surrounding healthy skin.
Vitamin C & Acne Scar Healing
Vitamin C is also found naturally in skin, similar to copper peptides, and it assists in collagen synthesis and antioxidant protection against UV damage.
Applying Vitamin C topically to the skin is a great way to help your skin reduce light acne scarring and skin discoloration caused by acne scarring.
I found that Vitamin C worked better to heal my discolored, red and off-color skin, and help with lighter areas of indentation alongside a Derma-Pen to help near the end of my acne scar healing journey while I was able to use copper peptides and a deeper 1.5 mm microneedler on my deep acne scar indentations.
This is why I like to use copper peptide cream each night, since it is bright blue and would be very noticeable walking around outside with, and Vitamin C serum each morning since it helps protect skin from oxidants in the air as well as is clear and gives skin a nice glow while helping it repair at the same time.
You aren’t able to use Vitamin C and Copper Peptides at the same time, you can alternate days using them or use copper peptides at night and Vitamin C in the morning like I have, but when you use them together layered on top of one anotherthey cancel each other out as the copper peptides oxidize the ascorbic acid.
Anyone starting their acne scar healing journey will want to check out the acne scar treatment kit here which has the Vitamin C serum, Derma Pen, Derma Pen cleaner, and healing gel all in one kit so you have everything you need to see results and kickstart your acne scar healing in one place.
Copper Peptides & Skin-Healing
How Do Copper Peptides Heal Skin? The Science Broken-Down:
Copper Peptides are skin building blocks, and proven to assist in the skin and wound healing process. They are similar to collagen in the sense the amount your body has decreases as you get older, and incidentally they also support the body’s production of both collagen and elastin, both other essential skin repair elements.
The Pickhart Margolina study found Copper Peptides have the following healing properties:
- Tighten loose skin and reverse thinning of aged skin
- Repair protective skin barrier proteins
- Improve skin firmness, elasticity, and clarity
- Reduce fine lines, depth of wrinkles, and improve structure of aged skin
- Smooth rough skin
- Reduce photodamage, mottled hyperpigmentation, skin spots and lesions
- Improve overall skin appearance
- Stimulate wound healing
- Protect skin cells from UV radiation
- Reduce inflammation and free radical damage
- Increase hair growth and thickness, enlarge hair follicle size
Copper Peptides are able to stimulate skin reparation in a variety of cases, even helping wrinkles and aged skin structure, but more importantly in our case it can stimulate wound healing, and improve skin appearance and hair growth.
In the words of the study abstract, “The human peptide GHK (glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine) has multiple biological actions, all of which, according to our current knowledge, appear to be health positive. It stimulates blood vessel and nerve outgrowth, increases collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycan synthesis, as well as supports the function of dermal fibroblasts. GHK’s ability to improve tissue repair has been demonstrated for skin, lung connective tissue, boney tissue, liver, and stomach lining.”
The human peptide GHK AKA Copper Peptides is able to increase nerve growth, collagen growth, elastin, and has been shown to improve tissue repair. This means you can use Copper Peptides to stimulate your own skin’s repair to improve your acne scarring at the deepest level, not just throwing gobs of makeup over it and trying to pretend like everything’s ok.
The Skin Biology site talks about how Copper peptides work to promote healing:
“As skin molecules are broken down, certain peptides are liberated that constitute new signals for the surrounding skin cells. An actual regulation loop exists in connective tissue, constituted by peptides generated by ECM degradation and connective tissue cells. They propose the term of “matrikine” to designate such ECM-derived copper-binding peptides are created and these serve as signals for skin rebuilding.”
How Do Micro-Needling & Copper Peptides Work Together to Heal Your Skin?
Copper Peptides work best in combination with micro-needling and exfoliation agents as explained here:
“[Copper Peptide] creams can be used in combination with (1) exfoliating agents such as alpha hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, and retinoic acid or by (2) methods that mildly damage skin such as by laser re-surfacing or chemical peels.”
This means you can use other treatment methods that also stimulate healing and take off layers of skin including exfoliation creams, chemical peels, or microneedling in conjunction with Copper Peptides to get maximum healing and skin regeneration in the case of acne scarring.
WebMD explains how Copper Peptides promote the creation of collagen and elastin and contribute to firming your skin and can remove damaged collagen and elastin, such as those present in acne scarring, from your skin:
“Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes the production of collagen and elastin in your skin. It also acts as an antioxidant and promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (such as hyaluronic acid).
Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes help firm, smooth, and soften the skin quicker than most other anti-aging skin care products. In addition, copper peptides have been shown to remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue.”
“GHK-Cu or Copper Tripeptide-1 can be found in the human body. However, as we age the level drops from around 200ng/ml to 80 nl/ml. This protein compound is made up of 3 amino acids and can be found in various cosmetic products. Some of these include shampoos and conditioners as well as antiaging treatments. The reason copper peptides are so popular among many topical treatments, is because of the multitude of benefits it provides for the skin and hair.”
The site explains how Copper Peptides are found naturally in the human body but this level decreases with age, similar to how collagen production stops after puberty. Many anti-aging products contain Copper Peptides, and the ingredient is very effective at healing skin in acne scars as well.
“Copper peptides assist in this increase of oxygen with their ability to produce new blood vessels from previous vessels. This process is known as angiogenesis and is often associated with certain forms of exercise. Similarly to our bodies when we perform aerobic and endurance exercises, when copper peptides increase the amount of blood vessels in our hair follicles, the amount of nutrients and oxygen is also increased, ultimately leading to healthier circulation and hair growth.”
Copper Peptides increase blood vessels and circulation meaning hair and skin are able to more freely grow, all good news for anyone looking to grow healthier skin to replace their damaged acne scar skin.
“Copper peptides are also popularly known for repairing skin. Not only are copper peptides supposed to assist with hair growth and microcirculation, but they have also been shown to encourage the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are both structural proteins that can be found in connective tissue. As we age, we start to lose both of these which results in saggy skin and wrinkles. This is probably one of the main reasons why you will be able to find copper peptides on the ingredient list on many anti-aging products.”
Copper Peptides help promote collagen and elastin, both structural proteins that are found in the skin and connective tissue that help repair skin including skin affected by acne scar damage.
One of the coolest parts about Copper Peptide healing is that it promotes hair follicle and hair growth.
The scientific Nature journal explains that when a hair follicle grows in the middle of a wound, the skin around that follicle becomes normal and no longer scarred:
“Even more strangely, skin around hair follicles seemed to be normal, and a layer of fat formed beneath — something that doesn’t usually occur under scar tissue. In 2017, a team led by Cotsarelis showed in mice that new hair follicles secrete growth factors called bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) that can transform fibroblasts into fat cells4. “The really cool part,” Costarelis says, is that “once you get a hair follicle, it kind of normalizes the skin”.”
I have seen the effects of Copper Peptides promoting new hair growth in the form of tiny see-through baby hairs in the areas my skin has the damaged acne scarring, and in these areas, my skin looks healthy and new almost like the skin of a baby, and is no longer scarred.
I love seeing the new tiny clear white hair growth in small patches of my skin because I can see how the skin in those areas looks baby-smooth and brand new even when it used to have deep acne scarring.
Micro-needling & Skin-Healing
Micro-needling, as explained by the Derma Health Institute, works by needling the skin to penetrate the top layer. The needles remove the top layer of skin and allow “allowing healing, collagen production and new skin cell development to reveal healthy, glowing skin.”
The Health Institute explains the benefits of micro-needling and how your skin keeps healing and improving even weeks or months after the treatment:
“Benefits and results are seen over time as the skin heals and collagen is begins to build. Given proper sun protection and home care exfoliation, results can be seen for months. Touch up treatments are recommended every year.”
Micro-needling gives your skin micro-damages that kickstarts it into healing while stimulating your skin’s production of collagen and continuing to improve skin healing and texture for months after each treatment.
Micro-needling has been shown to stimulate skin healing in virtually everyone who uses it when done correctly, and works especially well for those looking to heal their acne scars.
The Phuong Pham Thi Minh et al study found that derma-rolling microneedling improved the atrophic acne-scarring of every single one of the 31 patients in the study, who micro-rolled every week for a three month period.
I’ve seen the benefits of at home micro-needling in my own experience and I’ve found it to be the most important part of my three part scar healing routine that includes micro-needling, Copper Peptide application, and an Exfoliation cream & spray.
I was hesitant and scared to use the micro-needling device at first when treating my scars at home because I didn’t want to use an invasive device to make everything worse than it already was. Once I was able to work up the courage to combine the Copper Peptide cream with the micro-needling treatment, I saw my damaged skin layers come off much more quickly and visible healing started happening in days as opposed to months.
When I started combining the micro-needling with the Copper Peptide treatment cream, the micro-needling took off the top layer of damaged skin much more quickly and the healing Copper Peptide ingredients were able to penetrate to a deeper level to work to heal the bottom of my skin’s scar damage so the results were much more visible and immediate.
Here is a photo that shows the process of my skin healing using the micro-needling and copper peptide process.
The scar-damaged skin is easy to see in the photos on the left.
The photos on the top are when I put the bright blue Copper Peptide cream on my face after micro-needling. The after photos show the healing that has taken place after damaged skin layers have come off and new, healthier skin has started to emerge in place of my acne scars.
Exfoliation & Healing Your Scarred Skin
Exfoliation is one way to shed off damaged layers of skin, such as skin affected by acne scarring, to reveal healthy new skin underneath.
“Hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid, are widely used as exfoliating agents and for skin peels. They remove dead skin cells and also loosen and slowly dissolve skin lesions such as acne scars, keloid scars, surgical scars, burn scars, moles, skin tags, stretch marks, age spots, and sun damage marks.”
I’ve seen the exfoliation Lac Sal cream help soften my damaged skin layers so they come off much more quickly to take off damaged skin and reveal healthier skin underneath.
The Nature Science journal explains why damaged skin has a weaker structure as compared to healthy skin:
“Scar tissue “doesn’t have the stretch and the mobility and the range of motion that normal skin does,” says Angela Gibson, a burn surgeon who studies wound healing at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.”
You can take advantage of the fact scarred and damaged skin is weaker than healthy skin by using exfoliation creams and sprays to help break down damaged skin that has a weaker structure than its healthy counterpart, healthy skin, so it can come off while the healthy skin stays intact.
This is why exfoliation creams work so well in making any type of skin look healthy and new, including skin damaged with any scars.
Conclusion: How Micro-Needling + Copper Peptides + Exfoliation Products work together over time to heal skin & acne scarring
The Skin Biology site explains how these methods can work together to reduce areas that have skin damage:
“Copper peptides, in combination with the use of exfoliating hydroxy acids, appear to be an excellent method for the reduction of scars and other skin lesions (keratoses, skin tags, some types of moles). 2% salicylic acid works well other hydroxy acids also work. Newer breakdown-resistant copper peptides and hydroxy acids may berubbed into the scar once or twice daily. A reduction in scar appearance should be evident in a month but 6 to 8 months of such applications may be necessary to reach a satisfactory appearance in very old scars (30 to 50 year old scars or stretch marks).”
In conclusion, micro-needling, Copper Peptides, and exfoliation are a great skin regeneration combination that are able to work with your skin’s natural healing processes to heal your acne scar tissue layer by layer and unearth new healthy skin. The micro-needling is able to break down the structure of damaged scar tissue and remove the top layer of damaged skin as well as give the Copper Peptides an easy way to penetrate into the skin to give the skin the healing proteins it needs to repair. The exfoliation creams help damaged skin come off so the process to unearthing new, repaired skin is able to move along.
Using the micro-needling, Copper Peptides and exfoliation together is a way to solve the acne scar issue from its root instead of trying to put creams and lotions on your skin to try to “cover up” the damage. We all want our acne scars to “look” normal, but at the core we’d rather have healthy normal skin again instead of trying to use lotions or makeup to hide what’s going on with our skin.
Micro-needling and Copper Peptides are a great way to work with your skin’s natural processes to heal. It does take patience since you have to heal on your skin’s timeline, which means a full new layer of skin is generated every 27 days and not at the snap of a finger, however it is worth the wait, and the best part is, even though fully healing your scars is a longer process, you can see the results start to take place right away.
Here is are two images that illustrate how micro-needling works together with copper peptides and exfoliation to remove damaged skin and stimulate the healing process so damaged scarring is over time replaced with new, healthy skin.
Here are some before and after pictures that illustrate my own skin’s experience healing using this process:
I have found using a combination of clinically proven, researched backed at-home micro-needling, copper peptide cream and exfoliation creams to be extremely effective in healing my skin’s deep acne scarring.
I am very grateful I found this combination of at-home treatment that has been so effective at helping my skin heal.
You can get the same micro-needling, copper Peptide and exfoliation products I have used to get my acne scar healing results here.
To see more acne scar before and after pictures, you can look here as well.