Why do Acne Scars form?
Many people think getting acne is the worst thing for their skin and their self-esteem, even staying home instead of going out with friends because of pimples and fear of social judgement.
Then, their acne goes away, and many are left with acne scarring in its place. It’s then they realize that acne scarring is more permanent and can be even worse than the original acne itself.
At this point, people are usually wondering why their acne scars formed in the first place.
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery explains how acne scars form:
“Acne scars are usually the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Shallow lesions are usually minor and heal quickly. But if there is a deep break in the wall of the pore, infected material can spill out into surrounding tissue, creating deeper lesions. The skin attempts to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. These repairs usually aren’t as smooth and flawless as the original skin.”
Acne is caused by oil, dead skin cells and bacteria, which cause the skin pore enlarge with the bacteria and dead skin which appears on the skin as acne. When the acne is deep it spills out into more skin than the wall of the pore, which causes the skin to have to try to repair itself. Often the skin rushes the repair and either produces too much or too little collagen too quickly which leads to the skin not healing as smoothly as the original skin, creating an acne scar.
Acne is an open wound in the body, and the body usually rushes healing open wounds so it can help the body avoid a bacterial infection, which is what causes the imperfect textural changes that mark acne scars.
The 3 Main Types of Acne Scarring:
- Indented acne scarring: Forms when too little collagen is produced during acne healing.
- Raised acne scarring: Forms when too much collagen is produced during acne healing.
- Red or Discolored Acne Scarring: Technically not classified as a scar because and will often start to heal on its own, but often forms as discoloration on the skin after acne has healed.
What Fades Acne Scars?
Fading Acne Red Marks:
Red acne marks often form on the skin after acne has healed. You can use collagen inducing serums such as a Vitamin C serum, or products that work to help skin turnover such as Salicylic acid or Exfoliation creams to help reduce the appearance of red acne marks on the skin:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C serum Allure quotes Dr. Patricia Wexler to explain Vitamin C’s benefits in skin repair and the collagen formation process,”As far as your skin is concerned, Vitamin C is “a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals,” explains board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler. “Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.”
is an ingredient found naturally in the skin and is part of the collagen production process, accelerating skin repair and healing. This is why it is so helpful in helping skin repair and heal acne scarring, particularly discolored scarring, but can also be used in combination with micro-needling to help heal indented acne scarring.” Vitamin C is a great ingredient to include in any acne mark or scar healing routine due to its collagen and skin reparation aiding qualities.
- Exfoliation creams: Exfoliation creams such as theLacSal cream are great to wear daily on the skin as a way to loosen the dead damaged acne scar skin cells so they can come off skin to reveal healthy new skin underneath. Elle.com quotes Dr. Gross, M.D. and creator of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, as he explains how exfoliant creams help improve acne scarring, “Incorporating a gentle, daily chemical exfoliant helps improve overall texture and treat acne scars, but this two-step peel takes it a step further,” Dr. Gross explains. “The alpha and beta hydroxy acids in step one loosen the glue that binds dead skin cells to the new, radiant ones underneath and also prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores. The second step is a neutralizer that is jam packed with amazing active ingredients like retinol, which helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and green tea extract.”
work to loosen and remove the utmost top layer of damaged acne scarred skin so it can come off to reveal new non-discolored skin underneath and are great to use to assist skin turnover and see improvement over time.
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is a great product to help red acne scarring because it can help treat active acne and it helps skin turnover to aid acne red marks in going away more quickly.
- Natural oils: Using natural oils as moisturizing agents is great for skin. My favorites are argan oil and coocnut oil. These help give the skin moisture so it can facilitate its own repair processes and improve skin appearance.
Fading Deeper Acne Scars:
Acne scars that are deeper and pitted are affecting more than the top layer of skin, which means they will take more time to heal to remove all the damaged layers to get past root of the scar where healthy skin can re-appear.
To start to see deeper scars fade you can use treatments that reach more deeply into the skin including micro-needling that opens up the skin so deeper layers can receive healing ingredients as well as stimulates deeper layers of the skin’s healing processes to start repairing skin on its own:
The Derma Health Institute explains how microneedling works to help acne scarring heal,”Doctors and aestheticians use a small device that is comprised of several small needles, set to different depths to penetrate the top layer of skin. The tiny needles remove the top layer of skin, allowing healing, collagen production and new skin cell development to reveal healthy, glowing skin.” It is possible to do micro-needling at home with an at-home derma roller, and you can also go into a dermatology clinic to have it done professionally.
The reason micro-needling is so effective at healing deeper indented scarring is because it penetrates the skin to stimulate healing at a deeper level, something you can’t do by simply smearing a cream on top of your skin. It also opens your skin up to better receive healing ingredients from creams at a deeper level so is great to pair with healing serums including copper peptides.
- Copper Peptides: Super Cop 2Xis a great copper peptide cream that helps heal acne scarring. Copper peptides, also known as GHK, 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. Copper peptides are bright blue which means it is best to use them at night unless you want to walk around with bright blue cream on your face during the day.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C serum can be used in a skincare routine with copper peptides, but they can’t be used at the same exact time layered on top of each other because the copper peptides will oxidize the Vitamin C and cancel out its efficacy. Instead you can use copper peptides as part of the nighttime routine and Vitamin C as part of the morning routine to get the full benefits of both. Vitamin C helps the skin in the collagen and skin repair processes, making it a great skincare ingredient to assist the skin when repairing acne scarring.
- Exfoliation Cream: Exfoliation creams not only can help with red acne scarring, but also indented scarring, especially when used in conjunction with deeper-reaching treatments including micro-needling or other in-clinic professional dermatology treatments. The exfoliation creams help loosen damaged skin including acne scarred skin, which helps it come off more quickly so the new skin underneath can shine through.
Professional Dermatologist In-Office Treatments to Fade Indented Acne Scars:
In addition to at-home treatments you can also go to a professional dermatologist and have any of the following treatments done to help with deeper acne scarring:
- Professionally Dermatologist Microneedling: Microneedling can be done in a professional dermatologist’s office as well as at home, and they can tailor the treatment to you even using deeper needles. It works using the same principles as at-home micro-needling to remove the top layers of damaged skin and stimulate skin repair at a deeper level.
- Acne Scar FillersFillers can be injected into the face by a professional to give the acne scarring a lesser appearance, which is temporary and needs to be redone every few months.
- Subcision, Subcision can be done by a professional dermatologist in an attempt to release scarring at the root to improve its appearance.
- Lasers, Lasers such as Fraxel and other types can be done to remove damaged skin on the top layers and stiulate healing, much like micro-needling but in a different fashion. There are side effects from using lasers including very red skin to take into account.
- Chemical Peels, Chemical peels in a professional office are a more concentrated way to encourage damaged skin to come off which can help deeper acne scarring come off faster.
Acne Scar Before and After Photos
Here is a before and after picture of my progress over a year that shows how it is possible for acne scars to fade when you take care of your skin using at-home treatments to treat the scarring: