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Acne Scarring: Finding the Best Remedies

Fighting acne can feel like an uphill battle. To make matters worse, some blemishes leave behind scars long after they’re gone. Acne scars often look like indentations or pigmented dots on the skin, and usually result from large, stubborn pimples, especially if you attempt to pop them early in their formation. Of course, those with severe acne may end up with scars even if they never touch their blemishes.

While acne scars are solely a cosmetic concern, having them can negatively affect one’s mental and emotional health. So, whether you have just a few acne scars or several, you might want to remove them or at least reduce their appearance. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce and get rid of acne scars. Some involve in-patient medical treatments and therapies, but others can be achieved at home, with the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and natural remedies.

Let’s discuss some of the most effective and accessible remedies for acne scarring.

Over the Counter Medications

While OTC medications are typically less potent than prescription-strength options, they are often cheaper and, in some cases, all that’s necessary to treat a given ailment. In terms of acne scar removal and reduction, several OTC medications have proven effective, especially for mild to moderate scarring.

These include:

Retinoids/Retinol Creams

Retinoids are chemical compounds closely related to Vitamin A. They promote cell turnover, helping to replace dead, scarred skin cells with new, healthy ones. Both oral and topical retinoids can be used to treat various cosmetic skin conditions and symptoms, such as wrinkles, inflammation, and, of course, acne. Topical retinoids such as Differin Adapalene Gel and Retin-C Retinol Scar Treatment Oil are most commonly used to reduce acne scars and other types of scarring.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

While retinoids help speed up new cell growth, AHAs reduce scarring by getting rid of dead skin cells, thus making way for healthier skin. These acids, like glycolic and lactic acids, exfoliate and brighten the skin, correct discoloration from scarring, and may even improve blood flow to one’s skin.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is present in many skincare products, especially those aimed at treating acne and acne scars. This type of acid prevents pores from getting clogged. Additionally, salicylic acid can reduce inflammation and redness on the skin, reducing the prominence of scars. That said, products containing salicylic acid can irritate your skin if you have sensitive skin or aren’t acclimated to the acid yet. Dermatologists recommend testing products on limited areas of your skin beforehand and incorporating the right salicylic acid product into your regular skincare routine if you suffer from acne.

Natural Remedies

If OTC medications aren’t working for you, or you want to try out a more natural acne scar treatment with products you may already have at home, here are some good options:

  • Essential oils
  • Aloe vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter
  • Raw honey
  • Baking soda
  • Turmeric powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Apple cider vinegar

Each of these natural remedies has distinct properties and multiple uses. Some of them, like aloe vera, shea butter, and raw honey, are natural moisturizers, while lemon juice contains AHAs and baking soda is a useful exfoliant. If you plan on utilizing any of these natural remedies to treat your acne scars, just make sure you only apply them after doing thorough research and/or speaking with your dermatologist. Your doctor can help you create a safe and effective regimen involving these remedies.

Other Treatment Options for Removing Acne Scars

While the remedies outlined above can help you reduce and prevent acne scarring, sometimes they alone can’t deliver the results you desire. The good news is that additional treatment options for acne scarring are out there. These include medical and cosmetic treatments like dermabrasion, microneedling, and chemical peeling, as well as phototherapies like ablative, non-ablative, and fractionated laser resurfacing treatments.

If you want to say goodbye to your acne scars, Southeast Dermatology Specialists can help you determine which treatments and remedies are best for you. Contact us to ask us questions and learn more about our services and providers.

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