Suffering from acne scars and don’t know how to get rid of them? You are in the right place. On this section of the website you’ll learn ways to deal effectively with acne scars and spots. We’ll look at what causes these things and some effective treatments for them. No hype or bull, just straightforward advice.
Note that this section is still work in progress. I’ll add more pages about specific treatments and remedies as I do more research on them.
Types of acne scars
We can divide acne scars into two groups:
- Physical scars: Ice pick scars, boxcar scars, rolling scars and hypertropic scars.
- Acne spots: Red marks and dark spots that a pimple sometimes leaves behind
The tips and home remedies on this page help you to get rid of acne spots. Getting rid of physical acne scars is harder and something you have to discuss with a dermatologist.
What causes acne scars
Acne spots are caused by excessive deposit of melanin. Melanin is the chemical that gives your skin color. It is produced at the skin and is normally spread evenly in your skin. Inflammatory injury (such as a pimple) can disrupt the melanin-producing cells in the injured area. As a result they go into overdrive and produce too much melanin. This then makes the injured area darker and creates acne spots. In medical terms this is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
The good news is that such scars, or spots, are rarely permanent. In most cases they fade away on their own, but this can take months or years in the worst case. Luckily there are simple and effective treatments that help to fade acne scars.
Getting rid of acne scars
Getting rid of acne scars means you need to remove the excess melanin from the spots. This illustration shows the acne scar treatment process.
For best results you should attack acne spots from two angles:
- Peel the skin to remove melanin
- Skin lightening agents
Peel the skin
Peeling the skin removes the top layer of the skin and increases the turnover of skin cells. This helps to remove excess melanin from the spots. Chemical peels are the most common skin peeling option.
Skin lightening agents
What’s the point of removing excess melanin if it comes right back? That’s why you need to prevent excess melanin from being deposited back to the area. Luckily there are simple home remedies for this.
- Tyrosinase-inhibitors – Tyrosinase is an enzyme that the body uses to make melanin. There are substances that block or inhibit tyrosinase from working; hence they are called tyrosinase-inhibitors. The end result is less melanin on the skin. Some of these substances are: green tea extracts, hydroquinone, azelaic acid and kojic acid.
- Melanin blockers – These substances block the transfer of melanin to the skin cells. In that way they help to fade away acne scars and lighten skin tone. Some common substances are: soy extracts and vitamin B3.
How long it takes?
Scar treatment is a game of patience. Unfortunately there are no quick options for clearing acne scars. Usually it takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to see significant results.
Beware of sunlight and inflammation
While exposure to sunlight in moderation can be good for your health and skin, it can be bad for acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Exposure to UV light or any other source of recurring inflammation can darken the spots and/or slow down the fading process.
Dark spots, red marks and other such acne scars are a real problem to some people. They are caused when the processes that regulate skin color are disturbed by inflammation or other injury. Therefore they are called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
They can be treated with skin peeling and skin lightening agents. A combination therapy that uses both approaches usually gets the best results. These spots fade away in time, but can be very persistent; taking months (or even years) to fade. Treatment helps to get rid of them faster.
While treating such acne scars, be gentle with your skin. Protect it from UV and other sources of inflammation, as these can make the spots darker and slow down the healing process.
More on acne scars: