Millions of people are searching for the best product for acne scars or acne marks. As if living with acne breakouts isn’t stressful enough, they can leave behind equally-annoying parting gifts long after they’ve gone: acne scars or acne marks. So, just when you think you’ve conquered the blemishes and can move on, it may seem like their memories will haunt you forever. Worse yet, acne can leave behind psychological scars as well as physical ones, affecting your confidence and social life. Struggling with any type of scar may make you feel embarrassed, self-conscious, isolated and even angry. Helpful information about the emotional side effects of scars can be found on this helpful site by Smith & Nephew who makes Cica-Care for scars. In this post will cover the physical aspects of acne scars and some of the scar treatments available today.
When acne scars are keeping you from living your best life, it’s tempting to try anything and everything you can to make them disappear. Given the constant flow of new acne scar treatments and products to fade acne marks and dark spots, you might be confused whether what you see are acne scars or acne marks, and even more confused about the best product for acne scars. So, before you spend time and money on acne treatments and skincare products, you must know if what you see in the mirror are pink, red, or brown acne marks (also known as temporary post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) or permanent, often indented, true acne scars. Here, we’ll cut through the confusion to explain the difference between acne scars and acne marks so you can identify them, treat them so they’ll go away faster, and cover them while you wait.
As always, to treat acne scars or acne marks, be sure to follow the advice of a dermatologist or other medical professional who can evaluate your specific condition and recommend the treatment that’s best for you.
Best Product for Acne Scars or Acne Marks – What’s the Difference?
The simplest answer is that if the spot left after a breakout is a different texture than the rest of your skin, such as a pockmark or pitted scar, then it’s an actual acne scar. If it’s a dark spot (pink, red, or brown) without a change in texture, then this is a post-acne mark.
The good news is that if you have acne marks, these are temporary and will fade over time. This discoloration –called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation – is often the aftermath of inflammatory acne as an outward sign of the inflammatory response going on below your skin. The length of time for it to fade depends on how deep the inflammation goes beneath your skin, how dark it is, and the depth of your natural skin tone. Most acne marks fade on their own within about six months, but some do take years to completely lighten. Skincare products containing retinol and those made for deep exfoliation, brightening or lightening may be effective in speeding up this fading process, and more intense in-office peels are also available and are discussed below. No matter what acne mark treatment you try, you must use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or more to promote the healing process and prevent further darkening of the spot.
On the other hand, acne scars are permanent texture changes caused by inflammation and the damage of collagen affecting your skin’s support structure. Acne scars may be raised, but they are more commonly indented or recessed scars that appear as ice pick scars, boxcar scars, or rolling scars. They don’t disappear with lightening or brightening skincare products or those with retinol and require either fillers or more intense treatment. They do, however, still need SPF to protect scars from UV rays and prevent further discoloration. A sunscreen specially made for the sensitive skin of scars, like ScarScreen by Dermaflage, should be used every day, even when it’s cloudy. Find more details on the importance of a sunscreen that won’t risk further breakouts at https://dermaflage.com/shop/scar-sunscreen/
Treatments for Acne Marks and Acne Scars
Once you’ve identified whether you have acne scars or acne marks, the next step is to find the treatment that’s right for you.
How to Fade Acne Marks:
Though most acne marks will naturally fade over time, there are options for speeding up the process:
- Skin Lightening or Brightening Products – these are effective for fading dark spots and brown acne marks, but are not useful for red or pink acne marks, which do not involve melanin. Some contain hydroquinone, which is the strongest non-prescription skin lightener. There are also natural alternatives like licorice and kojic acid.
- Products Containing High-Strength Vitamin C – skincare with potent amounts of vitamin C (25%) are effective for fading all types of acne marks, from pink and red to dark brown.
- At-Home Exfoliating Peels – these contain powerful resurfacing ingredients such as retinol, glycolic acid and salicylic acid. They are found in rinse-off versions or in pre-soaked pads that can be applied like a toner. These peels speed up the fading process by exfoliating the top layer of your skin to reveal the pigment-free skin underneath the acne mark.
- In-Office Chemical Peels – dermatologists perform chemical peels either on their own or in combination with other treatment methods to fade acne marks. They offer a more intensive renewal of the surface skin to uncover the normal skin hiding below acne marks.
Treatments for Acne Scars:
Acne scars require more intensive treatments and more professional expertise than acne marks, and patience is key. There’s not one “best” treatment that applies to everyone, and only a dermatologist can help you decide on the best fit for you. You’ll also need to make sure you’re ready to make the time commitment and cost commitment, as these methods often require a series of treatments, and a number of visits to the dermatologist’s office, before you see the results. Acne scar treatments range from tried-and-true to new, cutting-edge methods including:
- Dermal Fillers – these literally “fill in” and add volume to the depressed area of an acne scar to smooth them out to match the level of the surrounding skin. Because fillers naturally degrade over time, they are not a permanent solution, and the results typically last about a year. However, a new long-lasting filler called Bellafill has caused quite a buzz for those battling acne scars.
- Bellafill for acne scars (in their words):
- Bellafill is the first FDA-approved dermal filler for correcting moderate to severely indented rolling acne scars. It uses collagen and innovative ingredients that promote self-healing of the skin and don’t break down like typical fillers. Whether used on a new or old rolling scar, the results are immediate, giving a visible “lift” to the indented or pitted acne scar and reported to be long-lasting – in fact, many patients have impressive results even five years after a series of three to four treatments.
- Dermal Punch – also called Punch Excision, this treatment for icepick acne scars actually “punches out” the indented skin with a special device designed to fit these super-narrow scars. Afterwards, the skin is stitched back together without signs of the acne scars.
- Lasers – this method uses light energy to treat scars. There are many different types of lasers available, depending on the type of acne scar. A recent innovation in laser technology is called Halo, which has been shown as an effective treatment for acne scars.
- Halo for acne scars (in their words):
- The primary difference between Halo and other lasers is that it uses two types of wavelengths that allow dermatologists to customize treatments for each individual and their needs.
- For even very deep acne scars, a series of multiple treatments with Halo can be just as effective as more aggressive laser resurfacing treatments, but without the usual downtime.
- LED Light Therapy – utilizes red or blue LED lights to clear up acne breakouts, reduce future blemishes, and heal acne scars without any downtime or side effects. Both red and blue LED lights are effective for inflammatory acne, but not for cystic acne. This method requires several treatments to be effective. Though they are often used in combination, here’s the difference between the two:
- Red LED light can help repair acne scars by accelerating healing, reducing inflammation and promoting collagen production. It’s often used in combination with blue LED to treat acne scars.
- Blue LED is the most popular type of light therapy for clearing active acne and reducing future acne breakout because it can penetrate deep levels of the skin to destroy acne bacteria without damaging your skin.
- Micro-needling – a technique that has grown in popularity in recent years, a micro-needle roller penetrates the skin to stimulate the body’s own natural healing powers to smooth acne scars through production of new collagen and elastin. Although it causes minimal tissue damage, it can break down scar tissue to improve an acne scar’s texture and tone to make it less noticeable.
Cover Acne Scars While You Heal
How Dermaflage Can Help. Results of acne scar treatments take time, but Dermaflage is a quick-fix acne scar concealer that you can rely on between treatments to hide your scar while you wait it out. It’s also a great alternative to professional treatments if you’re short on time, money, or patience and want an instant confidence boost. Apply Dermaflage to temporarily cover up indented acne scars with this unique topical filler that looks like real skin. You truly have to see it to believe it! Born out of Hollywood’s leading special effects makeup pros, it’s super-simple to use and gives waterproof, sweat-proof, smudge-proof scar coverage that’s effective yet undetectable. Click here to check out the Dermaflage Starter Kit or the transformations in the video to see why Dermaflage is the best product for acne scars when it comes to instant concealment.
We may not have a magic wand that can instantly clear up acne or make those telltale acne scars and acne marks disappear in seconds (Hurry up, scientists!), but the good news is that you now have a guide to the best products for acne scars. Results take time and patience, so if you’re curious about how to camouflage acne scars while you’re healing them, explore Dermaflage for all kinds of before-and-after pics; acne scar filler application tips and tricks; and video testimonials from some of our customers.
No matter what treatments you try, we’re here to keep reminding you – and cheerleading you — to stop hiding behind your scars and get back to living life to the fullest.
Have you tried any treatments for acne scars or acne marks? Leave us a comment below to share your experience!