These acne scar treatments *actually* work.
We totally get it: acne scars are the worst. A zit might creep up on you, but it eventually resolves itself. Scars and dark spots can hang around for much longer.
These marks left behind by pimples are called “post-inflammatory pigmentation” and can often be just as distressing as the pimples themselves, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD). And they can be super difficult to zap away. So, how exactly do we get rid of acne scars?
If acne scars are red, keep an eye out for ingredients like licorice, cucumber, rice, oat, ambophenol, niacinamide, prickly-pear seed extract, and some types of thermal spring waters in your skincare products, says Anna Guanche, MD, a California-based dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert. Brownish-colored acne scars? Products with azelaic acid, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, glutathione or vitamin C are a good bet, Dr. Guanche tells Health.
Some pitted scars may require laser treatment to smooth the surface of skin and stimulate collagen to fill in the "holes" and "pits" caused by severe acne, says Dr. Nazarian. Although multiple sessions are typically needed, laser treatments done by your dermatologist are some of the most effective and rapid ways to improve scars, she says.
To prevent dark pigmentation and acne scars from worsening, be sure to always protect skin by wearing facial sunscreen. "Sunscreen is an important component of fading acne scars, since exposing red scars to the sun could result in them turning a brownish color, especially for darker skin types," explains Dr. Guanche.
Have annoying acne scars you'd like to erase? We know we do. Here, the top product picks from dermatologists that will banish acne scars once and for all.