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How to get rid of acne scars

Learn more about what the causes of acne scars are, how to try and remove them, and how to prevent them in the future.

Going through acne is frustrating at the best of times, but even after a spot has finally gone, they can sometimes leave scars on your skin. As if the process of getting through a painful spot isn’t enough? They want to leave a mark of territory on your face or body to remind you of the hard times as well - lovely! But don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need to know about what causes acne scars and how we can try and get rid of them.
 

What are acne scars?

Acne scarring can depend on a few factors, such as an infection or as a result of popping a spot. But they usually develop as a complication of severe acne, and you can read more about the causes of acne in our article here.

There are normally 3 types of acne scars to look out for:

  1. Ice pick scars - these look like small, deep holes on your skin
  2. Rolling scars - these are raised, wide scars, which can make your skin look uneven, and are mainly caused by scar tissue which is formed under the skin
  3. Boxcar scars - these are the most common acne scar and are round, deep scars which are wider than ice pick scars

Treatment for these different types of scars can depend on your skin type. It’s hard to know whether you have sensitive, combination or oily skin, but you can do our quick online skincare analysis to see what skincare routine best suits your skin type. If in doubt though, always seek medical advice from a professional, such as a GP or dermatologist.

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Acne scar treatment

Scars, in general, can be a pain to get rid of, and unfortunately, getting rid of pimple scars aren’t an exception. Usually, acne scars fade over time, and they typically start to lose their colour around 3-6 months after they’re formed. But there are a few different ways in which you can try and help speed up that fading process - whether that be through medical treatment or at-home remedies.
woman moisturising face

As a general rule, chemical peels aren’t usually the best if you have very raised scars (such as rolling scars), but there are other ways to help reduce that type of scarring which we discuss later. If you’re unsure about what skin type you are, or what type of scars you have, always see your GP or Dermatologist before trying chemical peels.

at-home chemical peels

Chemical peels are one of the most popular ways to try and remove acne scars from your face. Typically, chemical peels help your face get a nice, smooth texture and lighten the darker areas so scarring may become less visible. It also unclogs your pores, which helps prevent future acne breakouts as well - win-win! How are chemical peels such miracle workers? Well, in a less appealing way of putting it, chemical peels work by removing the top layer of skin from your face, presenting you with fresh-looking, glowing new skin. 
 
There are quite a few chemical peels to choose from, so you should pick wisely to what is best suited for your skin type and type of acne scars. Here are some of the acids that work well in chemical peels:
  • Salicyclic acid - this is good if you tend to have greasy and acne-prone skin, as it helps clean your pores
  • Glycolic acid - this acid is focused on exfoliating your skin, and best for normal/oily skin types
  • Lactic acid - in general, this acid is good for all skin types and works well in fading dark scars
  • Mandelic acid - again this acid works well for all skin types, but especially those who have darker skin tones
  • Phytic acid - lastly, this acid is best for those who have sensitive skin, and suffer from hyper-pigmentation

Natural home remedies

Many people also try to get rid of acne scars through natural products. Products enriched with natural remedies which may help reduce acne scars are:

Some people also use home remedies such as baking soda or even lemon juice to try and remove acne scars, but these can often be risky and unreliable. These remedies might be effective for some, and not so well for others, and it may cause extra irritation on the skin, with the potential of making your acne even worse. We’d always advise sticking to professional products or going to see your doctor or dermatologist to try and treat your scarring.

 

natural home remedies

Medical treatment for acne scarring

Medical treatment is known to be the most effective way of trying to remove acne scars. But unfortunately, these treatments do usually come with a cost! Remember to always go to a licensed medical professional, as they will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your acne scarring. 

Here are a few of the best medical treatments for those dreaded pimple scars:

 

Professional chemical peels


If you get a chemical peel done professionally rather than an at-home peel, it usually has the best results. This is because the dermatologist will be able to assess your skin type and your acne scars and be able to recommend the peel that’s best suited for your skin.


Laser treatment

Laser treatment is similar to a chemical peel in the way that it resurfaces new skin on your face, but it does so without the use of chemicals or scrubs. So acne scarring will become less visible with new, healthy and younger skin. Laser treatment, however, isn’t for everyone’s skin types, with a risk that the treatment could cause a reaction afterwards. But don’t worry, a dermatologist will be able to assess your skin type beforehand.

Injections

Another way of trying to get rid of acne scarring is by getting injections of corticosteroids in the areas that need treating. This use of treatment typically works best for those with raised acne scars, and you’ll get a series of injections over a few weeks from a dermatologist, which will monitor the progress after each treatment.


Dermal filler

A dermatologist may recommend dermal fillers to try and reduce acne scarring, by using a collagen-based product. However, dermal fillers are usually temporary, and will typically last between 6 months to a year. There are permanent options, but this will need to be discussed with your dermatologist.

Microneedling

Microneedling can help smooth out the skin, which can ultimately reduce the appearance of acne scarring. Microneedling is when tiny needles are injected around the scarring, which helps stimulate the body to make more collagen. Although the effects of microneedling can be beneficial when helping pimple scars, it can also result in side effects such as redness, inflammation and pain afterwards for a period of time.

How to avoid acne scars

The number one rule of avoiding acne scars - is by not touching, picking or squeezing the spots. We know it’s very tempting when a spot looks like it’s about to pop and needs a bit of encouragement, but that’s how infections can arise and spots become irritated. 

Another key way to avoid acne scarring is to try and treat oily and acne-prone skin. You can read our best advice on acne treatment here.

 

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