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It can be difficult to look in the mirror when you have acne scars. Whether you have pitted scars, red splotches, or craters, they can be all you see when you look at yourself.
I vividly remember a time when I only looked at myself in the mirror if I was at home, hunched over my makeup mirror, with an acne treatment in hand. I would visually scour every inch of my skin, memorizing the landscape. Any other time I came near a mirror I would focus my eyes on something else, such as the color of my shirt, or my hands as I washed them. I couldn’t bear to look at my face, which was a mix of active acne and dark red scars.
While some acne scars are permanent, they can almost always be improved. The appropriate treatment depends on the type of scars. Here’s what has worked for me:
Thanks to my mother, I found the ClearZit Masque from Tamahra’s Secret, a skincare boutique in Orlando, Florida. It is the number one treatment I recommend for people with red scarring! It lightens scars fast. Like, really fast. Manuka and tea tree oils give it antibacterial and antiseptic powers, and zinc oxide lightens pigmentation and heals active acne. It is pricey, but worth every cent if you can work it into your budget. You don’t need to use much to see results; you can lather your entire face or spot treat, depending on your preference.
Lavender oil is a great companion for this masque. It soothes skin, reduces redness, and mixes easily with the masque. You can also make it more moisturizing by adding a few drops of jojoba oil or mixing it with Shea butter.
Pitted and Cratered Scars
Pitted and cratered scars are caused by inflammatory acne that doesn’t heal properly. The skin contains enzymes that regulate collagen production, and collagen helps acne wounds heal. If the skin doesn’t produce enough collagen as it heals, it results in a dip in the skin, creating a pitted or cratered scar.
Chemical exfoliation using alpha-hydroxy acids is effective in smoothing indentations in the skin and promoting collagen production after the fact. Collagen stimulates tissue growth, which can fill in the indentations in the skin. It is unlikely they will be filled in completely, but the indentations will become less noticeable with regular treatment. These 15% Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads are my favorite treatment. Not only do they stimulate collagen, but they kill acne bacteria. (Use them sparingly-they burn like fire until your skin gets used to the treatment.)
Regular exfoliation encourages cell turnover, which can also help minimize the appearance of scars, but it should not be used in combination with chemical exfoliation. For best results, alternate between regular and chemical exfoliation every couple of days, and use plenty of moisturizers.
Just as skin can heal with too little collagen production, it can also heal with too much collagen production, resulting in a raised scar. Dermabrasion, a skin resurfacing procedure, is a great way to deal with raised scars, but it should only be performed by a medical professional.
Dermabrasion uses a diamond wheel or a wire brush to abrase the outer and middle layers of the skin. Skin usually grows back smoother, which minimizes scars or texture issues.
Your skin will feel tender after the procedure, and you might have a mild breakout (this is just congestion deeper in the skin surfacing). Be sure to use a rich moisturizer afterward, and your skin will glow.
That’s it for now! Leave a comment if you found this post helpful!