No one wants scars in any part of their body specially the face. After battling with acne, your next enemy is the scars and marks that each and every one of your acne will leave on your skin or face. In fact, removing scars takes more time than healing acne. The good news is, there are a lot of things you can do or use to prevent or completely vanish scars caused by acne.
Before we discuss easy and simple ways on how to get rid of acne scars, let me remind you of some good things you can do to prevent acne scars in the future.
Basic Reminders to Prevent Acne Scars
- Keep your hands off! Never play with or touch your pimple except when you are applying medication to it. Without you knowing it, your hands carry a lot of bacteria. Frequent touching may aggravate your acne and could lead to infection. Touching, picking, or squeezing can make your acne worse leading to a deep scar after.
- Avoid sun exposure. Our body has the ability to do its own repair. Scars and pimple marks will eventually fade as your body undergoes its own healing process. However, if you are exposed to the sun most of the time, the healing and fading process of your scars becomes slow.
10 Easy Ways on How to Get Rid of Acne Scars: Home remedies
By following the two basic reminders mentioned above, you will be able to prevent acne scars in the future. As for those acne scars presently bugging and annoying you, here are some easy ways you can do at home to get rid of it.
- Lemon juice. Use lemon juice as an acne scar spot treatment. It is rich in vitamin C which can help boost and rebuild collagen. Lemon has a bleaching property that can lighten dark spots. You can apply lemon juice directly to your acne scars using your finger tips or cotton balls. For persons with sensitive skin, you can dilute lemon juice by adding honey or two teaspoon of vitamin E oil. You can use this lemon juice treatment once a day for three weeks or until the scars faded.
- Honey. Honey is also good when treating acne scars. You can apply honey directly to your acne scars and leave it overnight. You can also mix 2 tablespoon of honey with ¼ cup oatmeal, apply it as a mask for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse it with lukewarm water.
- Olive oil. You can apply olive oil directly on your face and gently massage it to areas where you have acne scars. Leave it on for 2-3 minutes then rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Olive oil contains lot of vitamins such as A, D, C, E, B1, and B2. It is also rich in iron, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties which are good for acne scars.
- Baking soda. Baking soda contains exfoliating factors that can lighten your acne scars. Its granules, when massaged gently on acne scars, can remove dead skin cells and help skin renew.
- Tea tree oil. This oil can work wonders. Tea tree oil is used as antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal. Aside from being an effective remedy for acne, tea tree oil can also help get rid of acne scars especially hypertrophic acne scars (raised and red acne scars).
- Vitamin E oil. Vitamin E is known for its great benefits to the skin. This vitamin can make your skin soft and look younger. Aside from helping the skin in preventing an acne breakout, vitamin E can also help acne scars fade away. Vitamin E can encourage your skin to regenerate fast by replacing the damaged ones.
After washing and giving your face steam to open the pores, you can apply vitamin E oil directly to your acne scars. If a vitamin E capsule is available, just use a clean needle to puncture it and squeeze out the oil. Leave it for about 15 to 20 minutes so that the skin will have enough time to absorb it. Rinse with lukewarm water. You can do this treatment once every day.
- Apple cider vinegar. It can help balance the pH level when applied topically on the skin. Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar is also effective in preventing an acne breakout. Apple cider vinegar also contains vitamins, minerals, carbolic acid, amino acids, antioxidants, acetic acid, ketones, aldehydes, and a lot more. With all these properties, apple cider vinegar can help fade scars by exfoliating the skin surface. When dead skin cells are removed, the acne scars’ dark color fades away.
- You can use apple cider vinegar with water. Mix 1 part of it to 1 part of water and apply to your acne scars. Leave it for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse with water after. You can do this once daily.
- You can also mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cup of water, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey. Apply it directly to your acne scars and leave it on for half an hour. Wash it off with lukewarm water. You can do this once daily.
Medical Treatment for Acne Scars
For severe acne scars and for people who need noticeable results fast, you can consult a dermatologist who can prescribe medical treatment. Here are some treatments on how to get rid of acne scars that your doctor might suggest.
- Chemical peels. This is done by applying high-potency acid to acne scars. It helps peel off the top layer of the skin, minimizing deep scar tissue.
- Laser resurfacing. This procedure uses laser light which is proven to improve skin texture and appearance by renewing it.
- Light therapy. This treatment uses specialized lasers and radio frequency devices to treat acne scars. This works by heating the dermis that causes new skin to form. After a number of treatments, acne scars will noticeably fade.
- Soft tissue fillers. This process works by injecting soft tissues such as collagen or fat under the indented scars to make these less noticeable. The result will just be for a short period of time. Thus, to maintain it, you will need to undergo the same process periodically. This acne scar treatment could result to temporary swelling, redness, and bruising.
- Skin surgery. This treatment works by using a minor procedure called punch excision. In this procedure, the doctor cuts out acne scars and repairs it with stiches or by doing skin grafting.
- Dermabrasion. This treatment works by sanding the outermost layer of the skin using a rotating brush. As a result, acne scars blends to its surrounding skin. This treatment is mostly recommended to people with severe acne scars.
What are the types of acne medications?
In some cases, acne can be very persistent that over-the-counter medications are just not enough to control and prevent breakouts. In this case, a dermatologist will be of great help in making sure that you receive proper acne medication. Your dermatologist may prescribe stronger treatment such as acne pills and acne therapies which can heal and control acne breakout and prevent skin damage to provide repair and make acne scars fade.
Acne medications’ main target is to reduce inflammation, control excessive oil production, speed up skin renewal, and kill acne-causing bacteria. In most cases, prescribed acne medication takes a while to take effect. It can take as long as 4 to 8 weeks before its effects become noticeable.
There are two types of acne medication that your dermatologist may prescribe. Depending on the severity of your acne, you may be advised to use topical or oral medication.
Topical acne medication
Topical medication works by directly applying it to your acne. This is mostly done 10 to 15 minutes after washing and drying your skin or face. In most cases, topical acne medication, as an effect, can cause skin irritation, redness, dryness, and peeling during the early period of use. However, these side effects in normal cases will eventually fade once your skin has fully adjusted to it. In cases when severe side effects arise, your dermatologist may suggest lessening the amount and frequency of application or may recommend a different one that is suitable to your skin’s sensitivity.
Here are the common prescribed topical acne medications.
- Retinoids. These medications are formulated from vitamins and include tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. These acne medications usually come in the form of cream, lotion, or gel. Retinoids are usually applied three times a week at the beginning of use to avoid side effects on the skin. Daily application will be recommended a few weeks after, once the skin has adjusted to it.
- Topical antibiotics. These acne medications work by targeting and killing acne-causing bacteria. Topical antibiotics can also help diminish acne redness and inflammation. These are normally combined with benzoyl peroxide for added effectiveness and also to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. Topical antibiotics also come in the form of cream, gel, or lotion.
- Dapsone. This medication is a sulfur compound that is essential in killing acne bacteria and is best combined with retinoid. Normal side effects are redness and dryness of the skin.
Oral acne medication
For moderate to severe acne, treatment can be done by taking acne pills or drugs orally. The following are the most common oral acne medications.
- Oral antibiotics. These medications work by targeting and killing acne-causing bacteria. Antibiotics also reduce acne inflammation. As a starter, your dermatologist can first recommend tetracyclines like doxycycline and minocycline. As your condition improves, your dermatologist will lessen the dosage. This is to prevent your body from getting resistant to antibiotics. When taking these antibiotics, a person may experience side effects such as dizziness and an upset stomach.
- Combined oral contraceptives. These acne medications or acne pills are normally prescribed to women and adolescent girls. Approved combined oral contraceptives has a combination of estrogen and progestin. Examples of these are Estrostep, Yaz, and Ortho Tri-cyclen.
- Anti-androgen agent. If oral antibiotics are not working, anti-androgen agents maybe prescribed to women and adolescent girls. An example of this acne pill is aldactone. Anti-androgen agents can bring side effects such as retention of potassium, breast tenderness, and painful periods.
- Oral isotretinoin. These acne medications are only prescribed to address severe cases of acne. Oral isotretinoin is known to be very effective and are prescribed to those whose acne do not respond to other milder acne treatment or acne pills. Examples of oral isotretinoin are Amnesteen, Claravis, and Sotret. People under these acne pills should be closely monitored by their dermatologists as it can bring serious side effects such as severe birth defects, ulcerative colitis, and high risk of severe depression and suicide.
Aside from acne medication or drugs, people with acne can also undergo therapies as prescribed by their dermatologists. Here are some of acne therapies that your doctor may recommend based on your acne condition.
- Whitehead and blackhead extraction. This is a simple operation where the dermatologist uses tools to remove whiteheads and blackheads and prevent them from blocking your pores. This process is slightly painful and can cause marks or scars.
- Steroid or cortisone injection. This therapy is a fast relief to inflamed lesions or cysts. Steroids or cortisone will be directly injected to your acne causing it to flatten quickly. Side effects will be thinning of skin and small blood vessels appearance on the area treated.
- Chemical peel. This therapy involves chemicals like salicylic acid which is repeatedly applied to acne-affected areas. Chemical peel is also best combined
with other acne treatment except oral retinoid. Combining chemical peel and oral retinoid can greatly aggravate the skin.
- Laser treatment or light therapy. This therapy uses specific dosage of light beams that targets acne-causing bacteria. There are several types of laser treatment and in most cases, patients who have tried this treatment have shown great improvement. There are several acne lasers used for treatment and these are:
- Pulse dye
- Potassium Titanyl Phosphate
- Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
- Pulse light and heat energy (LHE)
These laser treatments can bring a good result to a patient’s acne condition. Downside is most laser therapies are expensive and can only be done in your doctor’s clinic. Side effects of this treatment are pain and discomfort while undergoing treatment, redness, inflammation, and skin peeling, Others may experience dryness and skin crusting.
Watch video below