Acne scarring can be notoriously difficult to address. There are a number of factors that influence the treatment approach, from Fitzpatrick skin type, skin thickness, pigmentation, and the age of the scars, just to name a few.
There are also many different types of acne scars, some of which cannot be addressed with skincare alone due to their physical structure. Ice Pick scarring is a good example of this, as these types of scars consist of deep v-shaped channels in the skin that will generally require ablative laser, excision or surgical intervention.
However, some milder scarring can certainly benefit from natural topical approaches including skincare, which can improve their appearance, depending on the type and the severity of the scars. The right skincare can also be an excellent way to improve the quality of the skin prior to clinical treatment of scarring, which will in turn improve the results of the treatment and reduce downtime by improving the skin’s healing abilities.
Acne scarring can have significant impacts on an individual’s self confidence, but unfortunately, sometimes the clinical treatments required to remove them are not viable options for everyone, whether this be due to personal choice, budget constraints, or inability to accommodate the required downtime. If this applies to you, we’ve put together a guide with the best skincare choices you can make to improve the appearance of some acne scars.
Vitamin A is a fantastic ingredient for such a wide variety of skin conditions and concerns. It has the ability to stimulate collagen production, and improve skin tone, texture, and clarity. This ingredient may improve the appearance of scarring. If you are prone to acne scars and are still experiencing active acne, retinol is one of your best options. Vitamin A is the gold-standard ingredient of choice for acne (unless you're pregnant or breastfeeding) as it regulates over-active sebaceous glands often responsible for acne.
To reduce the severity of acne scars while they’re forming, it’s very important to keep the skin well hydrated. Using a night serum with anti-inflammatory, hydrating and soothing properties can assist in reducing scars that are still forming by improving the skin’s healing abilities and cellular functions.
Skin needling is a wonderfully effective treatment for combatting acne scarring. Dermal rollers offer a form of mild skin needling that can be carried out at home, and may be used to improve mild scars. Not only do they assist with improved absorption of your skincare products, but they trigger collagen production to boost smoothness and plumpness, in addition to helping break up scar tissue.
Avoid the temptation to scrub as your scarring - unfortunately this will not help! Some chemical exfoliant agents and natural enzymes can assist in brightening and fading very mild acne scarring and helping to achieve an overall brighter tone with better clarity. Those designed to target pigmentation are also particularly important for those preparing the skin for laser treatments, microneedling, or strong chemical peels - especially if you have slightly darker skin or are usually prone to pigmentation.
This is another excellent ingredient choice for those prone to scars with pigmentation. Pigmentation production is a natural component of our body's inflammatory cascade, and the darker your skin, the more pigment your body produces as a result of a wound. And don’t forget: acne lesions are a type of wound! A very common form of scarring unlike most others is referred to by many dermatologists as ‘post-inflammatory erythema’. You may recognise this as the small but persistent red dots that can linger for months after an acne breakout. This can be troubling on its own, but can also lead to excess pigmentation. Vitamin C has shown to be effective at addressing both the pigmentation and the redness associated with post-inflammatory erythema, as well as improving skin clarity and quality overall.
While these cannot reduce acne scars after they’ve formed, massaging tissue while it is recovering from trauma is always recommended to reduce the accumulation of scar tissue. This is why massaging is always recommended after surgery – to reduce the risk of scarring. While on a much smaller scale, incorporating a face oil and using it to massage your skin while it is recovering from acne lesions may help to reduce the risk of a scar forming in the area.
We understand that acne scarring can be troubling, and can greatly affect self-confidence. Whether you’re combatting existing scarring, or hoping to prevent more from occurring as a result of active breakouts, introducing a results-driven skincare routine will always be of benefit. While it ultimately may not resolve all of your scarring, it can certainly assist in improving your skin’s appearance, prepare it for more intense clinical treatments, and improve its health and longevity overall for the long-term.