As if suffering through pimples wasn’t bad enough, those pimples leave behind noticeable scars, in some cases. Acne scars come in several forms: The most common are crateriform scars, which leave an indentation in the skin after the tissue is destroyed by acne. Keloids and hypertrophic scars are raised above the skin and can grow if not treated effectively. You should talk to your dermatologist before embarking on treatment for acne scars, as she will be able to determine the best treatment, depending on severity of the damage and scarring.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser every day and use any acne products your dermatologist recommends. You need to treat and clear up your acne before you can treat any scars, according to Kids Health.
Get a chemical peel or undergo microdermabrasion at your dermatologist’s office if the damage and scarring is not too pervasive. Although you can get chemical peels over the counter, you should trust a professional to do the job to get the best care and results. During a chemical peel, an acid applied to the skin eats away the top layer of tissue, removing scars that are not very deep. During microdermabrasion, your doctor will lightly sand away the top layer of skin.
Undergo a laser treatment. Laser resurfacing helps repair crateriform scars, while pulsed light therapy effectively flattens some types of raised scars. The laser removes the top layer of skin during resurfacing while pulsed light heats the under layer of skin, the dermis, which causes new cells to form, eventually making scars less noticeable. Depending on the type of treatment, you may need several weeks to heal.
Apply a gel or cream that contains a corticosteroid to a keloid or hypertrophic scar. The corticosteroid may reduce any pain the scar causes. You may also want to apply a tretinoin cream to help reduce the size of the scars. You will need a prescription from your doctor for these creams.
Inject collagen or corticosteroids into the scars. You’ll have to see your doctor for this treatment, as well. Injections can treat both depressed and raised acne scars. Collagen helps fill in depressed scars, while corticosteroids help flatten raised ones. Most collagen injections are temporary and need to be repeated every few months. If you get corticosteroid injections and don’t see improvement after four injections, you may need a different treatment.
Undergo surgery if no other methods effectively repair your skin. During a punch excision, the doctor removes the depressed scar and sews the remaining skin together to repair it. In some cases, you may need a skin graft to cover the area. If you have raised scars surgically removed, you may also need corticosteroid injections to lessen the chance of them returning.