What are Acne Scars?
Acne scars are the resulting damage of inflammation on the skin because of acne. The scar itself is created by the acne wound trying to heal itself. There are a few different types of acne scars. Ice pick scars, which are the most common, tend to leave an indentation in the surface of the skin. Box car scars are angular scars that are mostly found on the temple and cheeks, and are similar to chickenpox scars. Rolling scars are scars that give the skin a wavy-like appearance. And hypertrophic scars are thickened scars.
Things That Can Make Acne Scars Worse
They say that too much sun is a bad thing and that is especially true with acne scarring. Being out in the sun too long can cause them to darken and slow down the healing process. The UV rays can overstimulate your skins pigment-producing cells which could lead to more discoloration. The easiest way to avoid this is to use and SPF 15 sunscreen applied every two hours.
The acne scars are mainly made up of collagen which is a protein fiber found in the second layer of the skin, which is also the body’s way of repairing itself. Acne scars are indented into the skin because of collagen loss from intense inflammation. If you pick at the scars, it can lead to even more inflammation and discoloration. Squeezing or popping a pimple causes pus and bacteria to filter into the skin which damages the collagen.
Best Treatments for Acne Scarring
Silicone strips are an adhesive strip that can be applied to acne scarring. It is seen as one of the most effective ways to get rid of acne scarring and discoloration. The application of the silicone strip has been proven to reduce discoloration, raise sunken skin as a result of scarring, as well as flatten out thickened and raised scars. The best part of the strips is that they are an over-the –counter product which means you do not need a prescription or anything from a doctor to buy them. Although there are many brands for silicone strips, the one that seems to be the most effective is the brand, Mepiform. The only downside to this is that Mepiform is not directly sold to the public, instead being marketed towards hospitals and doctors. Although you can’t find them in your average store, you can find them online at Amazon where you won’t get ripped off by the price mark-up that go with buying them through a doctor’s office.
Medical Procedures for Acne Scarring
The most common medical procedure for getting rid of acne scarring is called excision. This is when a surgeon cuts away the scar tissue and allows the skin to heal itself. Stitches or skin grafts are placed over the surgical wound to help the healing process so that there is minimal scarring. Sometimes, the resulting scars of the excision process can turn out worse than before. Because of this, excision has started to fall out of practice even with the worse scars. In order to reduce the trauma of excision, a newer process has been instilled called subcision. Subcision promotes new scar tissue growth under the top layer of the scar by pushing the tissue close to the surface. It works especially well on depressed scars. Instead of cutting the scar tissue out, a doctor inserts a needle and detaches the internal structure of the base of the scar which allows the collagen to fill in the void.
Laser treatments work in a similar fashion to subcision and it damages the scar tissue within the scar. The lasers also cause new collagen to form in the voids and can raise pitted scars effectively to the skin’s surface level. Injections can be used beside subcision; after the tissue scar has been disconnected, doctors will inject a dermal filler into the void to raise the scar to surface level. The dermal fillers are usually made up of collagen, silicone, or in other cases, can be naturally made up of the persons own body fat. There are also a few lesser used medical treatments such as abrasion and chemical peels. Abrasion involves sanding down any extra collage that caused the scar to be raised above the skin. Chemical peels work about the same way but use acidic chemicals to peel away the top layer of the skin.
Using Creams and Gels to Get Rid of Acne Scarring
There are a few types of acne scarring gels and creams that can help with reducing minor scars but are not as effective. If you have raised or depressed scars, it is better to use the other methods. If it is just minor discoloration, then these can work just as well. There are a few specific brands that a lot of people recommend for acne scarring treatment. The first is a silicone gel called Kelo-Cate. Silicone gels uses the same type of ingredient as the strips. To use effectively, you should apply a small amount on a q-tip and rub in on the scar. If you are conservative with the use, then a single tube can last up to months. Mederma is the most popular reduction gel on the market and it contains onion extract. Revitol is a cream that uses many different natural extracts and vitamins that have been used in other ways of reducing acne scarring.
Natural Ways of Getting Rid of Acne Scarring
Lemon Juice: For facial benefits, slice a lemon in half and juice it into a cup. Use cotton balls to apply lemon juice on your scars twice a day. Be warned that if you apply lemon juice to an open wound, then the citric acid in the lemon may burn your skin.
Ice Cubes: Before using, clean your face with an acne cleanser and pat your skin till it’s dry. Take one ice cube and rub it over your scars on your face for fifteen minutes. Using this method causes them to shrink and makes them look smaller.
Aloe Vera: The best time to use the Aloe Vera treatment is when the acne wound is still fresh and it can be used to prevent scars from forming.
Honey: As with ice cubes, wash your face and pat it dry but it’s best to do this before bedtime. Dab a little bit of honey on the scar, cover it with a bandage and wear it while you sleep. In the morning, wash your face, wash the honey away and pat your skin dry. In the morning, your skin should look smoother.
Rosehip Seed Oil: Rosehip seed oil is used as a base in some cosmetics. It is a good topical oil for acne scarring. Dab a few drops of rosehip oil on a cotton ball and dab the cotton ball onto the scars. Massage the oil into the scars for about fifteen minutes and rinse the oil away.
Sandalwood and Rosewater Paste: The combination of sandalwood and rosewater paste can be used as a facial mask and can be applied directly to the scarred areas. Leave it on for more than an hour or even better, wear it overnight. This is effective because of the sandalwoods’s soothing and cooling effect on the user’s skin.
Of course, you can’t get rid of acne scarring by just putting this and that on your face, a good part of that is eating healthy foods that help skin growth. Eating a healthy and balanced diet also gives your body that extra strength that it needs to fight off certain bacteria and diseases that could complicate the healing process of your acne scars.
Natural remedies are always recommended for treating acne scars as they are less likely to get worse or become red again. If they get worse, it goes without saying that you should consult with your doctor about what to do next.
There are products on television such as Clean and Clear or Clearasil that claim to get rid of acne and acne scarring and while they may get the job done, they either a.), don’t do as good a job as they say they do or b.), cost a pretty penny to buy. There are plenty of other ways to clear up your acne scarring and blemishes that you don’t see on television, you just got to know where to look. Whether it is through surgery, natural remedies, creams and gels or just eating healthy, it can be relatively easy to get rid of your acne scars. Of course, it can be problematic sometimes, but another thing to take into consideration with acne is your biology. That’s right. Sometimes, it all depends on who you are and how your body functions. Think as if you’re a teenager again or still are, there could be plenty of products you have tried and none of them seem to work. The good thing about bad acne is that most people tend to grow out of it as they get older. So for some of us, it’s just a matter of waiting till it goes away on its own.