How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Fast
Acne is one common and dreaded skin condition that nobody likes or wants. Characterized by pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and cysts, it affects not just the face but can also include the upper back and chest region. Acne comes and goes at will but never leaves the face and the body exactly the same because of the scars it leaves behind- an ugly reminder of what used to be. More often than not, this is a great source of anxiety and self-esteem issues among teenagers and even young adults. How to get rid of acne scars fast is not an issue at all, it’s a possibility that requires a combination of faith and of course time (which heals all scars).
Scarring is actually part of the body’s natural healing process. It only becomes problematic when it’s not minimal or when the wounds affect deeper layers of the skin. Acne scars which can sometimes be more annoying than acne itself are the aftermath of treated (or untreated) acne can be temporary or permanent and in most cases this is dependent on the individual involved and the choice of treatment. They often occur as a result of the skin’s inflammation as a result of acne. Acne scars can be linked to individual unique inflammation response. This explains why some people will scar easily and others will not, even with severe acne. Mild acne is common and results in mild scars that fade over time while inflamed and severe acne results in severe scars and is best treated early to prevent permanent scarring. Acne scars come in two major forms;
- Atrophic Acne Scars: These scars include icepick scars, boxcar scars and rolling scars. Their names say it all. These scars occur as a result of the loss of collagen at the acne site during the healing process are the most common type of acne scars
- Hypertrophic Acne Scars: These, unlike atrophic scars are less common and occur as a result of increased collagen content at the acne site during the healing process. Hypertrophic scars stay within the original wound area and are firm but slightly raised above the skin
Other forms of scars are
- Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): This is not really a scar per se, but a discolored red/dark mark that is left after the healing process of nodular acne lesions. It’s common in darker people but can be avoided if the acne is not aggravated. PIH fades with time if treated well but can last for much longer if the lesions are deeper than the surface layer of the skin.
- Keloid Scars: Keloid scars as a result of acne occur more on the chest and back rather than the face. They are also more common in men.
To get rid of acne scars fast, you have to get the acne treated and under control first. There are various ways to get rid of acne scars fast and also prevent the formation of new ones. Some of these treatments are;
Every way or form of treatment to get rid of acne scars will require patience. Even if the acne cropped up overnight, don’t expect the scars to go the same way too. Any treatment you choose will require time, so don’t be hasty to tag it as “not working". This is because new blood vessels will move into the scarred area to nourish the skin and then collagen will take some time to form and fill in the area. It can take a while for some scars to completely fade away. Just give it time, and keep your hands off while you’re at it!
2. Cortisone Creams
Cortisone creams reduce inflammation and promote the healing of acne scars. The skin cells absorb the cortisone and heal. Cortisone creams can be followed up by fade creams which contain kojic acid or arbutin or vitamin C to lighten the previously scarred area. Be careful to avoid hydroquinone which has carcinogenic properties.
3. Chemical Peels:
Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of acne scars. Some of these peels include salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid among others and they are effective for mild to moderate acne scars and hyperpigmentation. The strength of the chemical peels will be dependent on the severity of the acne scars.
4. Laser Treatments
Laser treatments will come in handy as a quick fix for scars left behind by acne or scars that have refused to fade away over time. With the use of fractionated laser technology, laser skin resurfacing is done to even out the skin surface and speed up the formation of new collagen (which requires a lot of time to form all things being equal!). Laser treatments reduce the appearance of both raised and depressed scars by removing the damaged skin cells and stimulating the production of new collagen which will then help to fill in the acne scars. CO2 lasers and Erbium-YAG lasers are examples of lasers that can be used for laser resurfacing of the skin to treat acne scars. The blood vessels that are triggering the inflammation of acne scars can be shrunk by Erbium-YAG lasers, thereby making the scars less visible. Laser treatments are ideal for boxcar, icepick and rolling scars.
5. Filler Treatments
Filler treatments, in form of injections, will fill up the pockmarks and tiny pits that are aftermaths of severe acne. Its advantage is that other treatments can be used alongside while its disadvantage is that it will have to be repeated every four to six months as the product is always reabsorbed into the skin over time. Filler treatments are great for atrophic scars.
Microdermabrasion, also referred to as microderm, is a skin rejuvenation procedure that involves the gentle exfoliation of the skin’s surface layer with abrasion and suction. The abrasion which can be done with fine crystals or very tiny diamond studded tips removes dead skin cells and can also reduce the appearance of mild acne scars and hyperpigmenaion. It’s a non-surgical procedure that can be done at home and also combined with other topical treatments for effectiveness.
Dermabrasion, unlike microdermabrasion is ideal for getting rid of deep surgical scars and deeper acne scars. It’s a surgical procedure that can be performed by dermatologist or plastic surgeon. It’s a deeper abrasion of layers of the skin using strong abrasive devices. The skin usually requires an average of a week to a month to fully heal afterwards and this will depend on the level of skin removal. Though its practice is gradually being replaced by microdermabrasion and laser technology, dermabrasion really produces superior results in helping to reduce the and fade out deep scars and it’s affordable too.
8. Combination Therapy
Combination therapy is using different medications; each having a different action mechanism. It is usually more effective in getting rid of acne scars than monotherapy. This form of treatment combines both topical and internal applications for optimum results. An example is the use of topical benzoyl peroxide/retinoid and antibiotics which will be more effective than either alone.
The advantage of these easy-to-do and quick fix treatments to get rid of acne is that they can be done at home using handy and kitchen essentials. They are also considered safe as most of the ingredients are edible. They include;
Honey: Raw honey contains antibacterial properties which help to soothe inflammation and clear up acne scars. It can be dabbed directly onto the scarred area with clean fingers or with a cotton tip. Pearl powder which is quite effective in fading acne scars can be mixed with honey and massaged onto the affected area for optimum results
Aloe vera. Aloe vera has powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and disinfectant properties, which are effective at supporting healthy skin regeneration at cellular level. The gel of the Aloe vera plant helps to rejuvenate and moisturize the skin, encouraging acne scars to fade. For best results, use the fresh sap from the plant which can be applied on the acne scars directly and left on overnight or washed off with warm water. This treatment should be repeated as often as possible until the scars fade completely. You can also mix your skin moisturizer with aloe vera gel, apply it to acne-scarred skin, and leave it overnight to make the acne scars less visible.
Sandalwood paste: Sandalwood is known for its ability to heal the skin. A sandalwood paste can be easily prepared at home. To prepare, mix a tablespoon of sandalwood powder with a few drops of rosewater (and or milk) to form a smooth paste. The paste should be applied to the affected areas and left on for about 20-30 minutes before you rinse it off. For quick results, repeat this same process daily until you’re satisfied with the results. As an alternative, mix rose water and sandalwood, and apply the mixture on your acne scars. Leave this treatment overnight, and don’t forget to wash it off with cold water in the morning
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider vinegar helps to balance your skin’s pH and this improves its appearance over time. It also helps to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Dilute the apple cider vinegar of your choice (mostly Braggs) to half its strength with water and apply it to the affected area every day with a cotton ball until the scars fade completely.
Lemon Juice: Vitamin C is a natural stimulant of collagen, and using it externally can effectively make the acne scars appear lighter until you can spot a difference. To use lemon, squeeze its juice and apply it on the acne scars, be sure to avoid the surrounding skin. For sensitive skin, you can dilute the lemon juice with rose water which will not reduce its effectiveness.
Baking Soda: Baking soda has the ability to stimulate skin repair due to its mild exfoliating properties. When mixed with water, the gentle coarse granules of baking soda will help get rid of dead cells that dull your complexion hence lightening acne scars. To use, mix a few tablespoons of making soda with water until a consistent paste is achieved. Then massage the affected area gently, focusing mostly on acne scars. Leave the mixture on your face for a few minutes, and wash off with warm water. Apply your moisturizer afterwards as baking soda can be drying. Be sure to use this treatment only once or twice a week, especially in the night, as cell regeneration is enhanced at night
Orange Peels: Orange peel supports the body’s collagen production and facilities cell repair. It is also a source of retinol, an ingredient that can promote natural skin exfoliation and help remove acne scars, dry the orange peel and crush it to make a fine powder. Add enough rose water to make a consistent paste, and then apply it to your acne scarred skin. Wash it off after some minutes, and then apply a bit of moisturizer for optimal results.
Water: Water is good for almost everything. Drink enough water everyday to stay moisturized and flush out toxins. Also, coconut water can facilitate the healing of scars. You can drink it and or apply it topically on the acne scars.
Stay Out of the Sun: To get rid of acne scars fast, it’s advisable to stay out of the sun during treatments as exposure to ultra violet rays can aggravate pigmentation problems by stimulating the production of melanocytes (pigment producing cells). Over exposure to the sun can also make acne scars look more obvious than they really are. In unavoidable situations, oil free sunscreen can be used.
To wholly get rid of acne scars, a combination of some of these treatments is best. Also, give the treatments time to work. Be careful not to pick or squeeze the acne spots no matter how tempting it is as picking it will increase the risk of further inflammation and the occurrence of scars after the healing process