So, you went through a period of pesky breakouts, and just when you think it’s all over, you’re left with the aftermath of it – atrophic acne scars. Well, the good news is that while they are stubborn and relatively hard to get rid of, there are ways to improve their appearance and essentially “fill” these pitted scars for a smoother skin texture.
Did we pique your interest? Great! Let’s talk about this.
Before we share the deets on how to smoothen acne scars, let’s first get a better understanding of what they are and how they are formed in the first place.
What are atrophic acne scars and how are they formed?
Atrophic acne scarring is the unfortunate side effect of deeper, inflamed acne lesions. More severe acne may lead to inflammation and rupture of follicular wall and ultimate destroy your healthy skin tissue. As your body’s natural healing response, it produces collagen to repair and essentially “fill” the damaged tissue. During this healing process, insufficient production and degradation of collagen may lead to various types of atrophic acne scars.
Three main types of atrophic acne scars
It’s important to understand which type(s) of acne scarring you are dealing with and the depth of it to determine the best ways to treat it.
Rolling Scars are wider with rounded, sloping edges. They can have a range of different depths depending if the skin has been afflicted with long-term inflammatory acne. As your skin ages and loses its elasticity, these scars tend to become more noticeable.
Boxcar Scars are wide U-shaped scars with sharp edges that can either be deep or shallow. These scars are formed due to inflammatory breakout on the skin which destroys the collagen. The shallower the scars are, the faster it is to treat it.
Icepick Scars are seen as narrow and V-shaped. They often extend far under the skin and can look like a small circular or oval-shaped holes resembling large, empty pores.
Which skincare ingredients help with reducing the appearance of acne scars?
Here are some skincare ingredients to look out for and implement in your skincare routine to reduce the appearance of atrophic acne scars and improve skin health and texture:
Vitamin C – A very powerful antioxidant that can protect your skin from free radicals while reducing swelling, and redness and improving the appearance of acne lesions. Its healing properties assist with collagen production which is helpful in rebuilding damaged tissue associated with atrophic scars. It is also effective in reducing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from breakouts, dark spots, and even sun damage.
Salicylic Acid – A very common BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) in many anti-acne skincare products. Salicylic acid works by gently exfoliating the skin to remove dead skin cells, oil and other debris. Doing so helps to unclog your pores and reduce breakouts while smoothing your skin texture. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and redness.
AHAs – Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) work on all kinds of acne scars as it draws out toxins and dead skin cells that could be clogging your pores. It also gently exfoliates the outer layer of your skin to help even out your skin tone and texture.
Lactic Acid – A very gentle alpha hydroxy acid that is available in the form of peels, serums, lotions, exfoliants and spot treatment. It gently removes dead skin cells while improving your skin texture and smoothness.
Retinoids – Topical retinoids can help improve acne scars by blocking inflammation and accelerating cell regeneration. These powerful active ingredients also normalize melanin production and lighten post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from breakouts.
Rosehip – Not only is this ingredient used for anti-aging but it can also help reduce inflammation, redness, and the appearance of acne scars. Rosehip can also help boost your skin’s collagen and elastin production, minimizing the appearance of acne scars.
Niacinamide – Also known as vitamin B3, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, therefore minimizing redness and blotchiness. It promotes the production of ceramides and elastin which are both crucial components of the skin’s barrier, hence repairing and strengthening the skin’s natural protective shield and reducing skin sensitivity.
Azelaic Acid – This ingredient has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making it highly effective at treating both acne and acne scars. By reducing inflammation in the skin, it reduces irritation and redness and makes the scars less visible. It is also known to help expedite cellular turnover so the skin can heal better and faster, allowing scarring to be minimized.
Here at GMA, we absolutely love and recommend the Environ Acne No More Kit (which is available at our clinic and on our website). This anti-acne kit is specifically designed to help treat and prevent blemishes and promote healthier skin. With the continuous use of this kit, you can expect your skin to appear clearer, smoother and more refined.
If you would like to speak with one of our #GMASkinexperts to see how we can help you with your skincare regimen that works best for your unique skin, don’t hesitate to contact us for a complimentary consultation.