Any skin care product may promise acne prevention and acne treatment but not every single one of them can guarantee treatment of acne scars.
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There is no exact cause for acne. It is a natural occurrence when the sebaceous gland or oil gland which is attached to the hair follicles in our face, neck, back or other parts of the body are stimulated due to hormonal changes.
Contrary to some old beliefs, bacteria do not cause acne but it can make it worse. When the sebaceous gland starts to secrete oil, openings in the hair follicles form plugs causing acne to appear differently.
If the plugs are small and flat, they are called “whiteheads”, if they are slightly bigger with a darker center, it is what we know as “blackheads”. When these plugs become inflamed they turn into what we call as pimples or nodular or cystic acne.
Acne scars are caused by the damage brought about by prolonged inflammation of acne. The longer we have inflammatory acne, the higher chance of ending up with scarring. Forcing acne to pop exposes you to bacteria which cause it become worse. The bigger the inflamed acne is the bigger the scar it is going to leave behind.
Acne will go away on its own, it will dry up and start repairing the affected area including the tissue beneath. It will need naturally occurring substances in the body like collagen which supports skin elasticity.
As we age, collagen production in the body declines and cell regeneration becomes slower, affecting healing processes like scar repair. Otherwise, topical treatments like acne gel, serum and cream can assist in drying out and healing of acne.
Acne scars have different types depending on their look caused by the collagen production during the acne healing process.
- Ice-pick scars are thin, flat, yet deep scars. Usually caused by severe acne breakouts and cystic acne, these are the most noticeable type of scars and look like large appearing pores.
- Rolling scars are ripple-like depressions on the skin with rounded but shallow indentations. These usually appear more evident as we age.
- Boxcar scars can be mistaken as chicken pox scars, these scars may seem similar to rolling scars but if you look closer, these scars have more defined edges and are actually deeper.
- Hypertrophic scars are the exact opposite of the first three types of scars. If the first three are depressed or are deep-seated, hypertrophic scars are raised and bumpy acne scars. This happens when the skin produces too much collagen to heal the acne but the skin does not even out.
Everyone has a different take on acne scars. Some people think that it is a normal occurrence caused by hormones, genes and personal hygiene, while other may be bothered by it because it affects their self-esteem or the possibility of landing a job because of its requirements.
For teenagers, their ability to socialize is affected because of their acne problems. Teenage girls and even boys try to grow their hair long to hide their acne scars. In college, students avoid to choose careers that highly depend on the physical appearance like Tourism, Hospitality and Fashion.
Adults with acne problems experience the same dilemma, like the lack of self-confidence to communicate with the opposite sex, apply for a job and even make friends.
There are various means to address acne scars. There are ways to improve the appearance of the scars, eliminate discoloration, even skin tone or totally renew the appearance and diminish traces of the scars.
But there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to acne scar treatments. You may either opt for a clinic-based treatment or home skin care regimen.
The type of treatment you should get will be best recommended by a Dermatologist. Recommendations will depend on the type of scars you have, the severity, where you have it, the downtime and your budget.
Home skin care regimen for acne scars may contain active ingredients and some might require prescription from your dermatologist.
Over the counter acne scar treatments are readily available. But how can you be sure that it actually works? The right ingredient is key, so always read the label.
Below are the dermatologist recommended ingredients that you must find in the next acne scar treatment cream you will get:
- Hydroquinone acts like a bleach on the skin. A product with this active ingredient lighten discoloration of acne scars, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and minimize acne scarring. It is advisable to use moisturizer and sunscreen after applying products with hydroquinone because it has the tendency to dry the skin.
- Salicylic Acid is an exfoliant which also acts as an anti-inflammatory solution. It removes acne scars by gently removing dead skin cells and make skin grow faster and fill skin depressions. Dermatologists advise use of Salicylic Acid with caution especially those with darker skin tone as the pigment melanin may react with this ingredient and further produce darker spots.
While chemicals play a big part in most acne scar creams, there are also products which use all-natural ingredients that stimulate naturally-occurring proteins and amino acids that will trigger skin repair. These natural ingredients include:
- Vitamin E which promotes the healing of cells and slows down aging;
- Bentonite which has been long used by Aztecs to heal wounds and calm skin infections like contact dermatitis and even flesh-eating infections;
- Tea Tree Oil which is known for its antibacterial and wound-healing properties;
- Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) natural acids found in fruits which are categorized as citric, glycolic, lactic, etc. that plumps, firms and levels the skin; and,
- Peptides which stimulate cell growth and signals them to produce more collagen for skin youth.
Skin care products, that include acne scar creams, are only as good as how it satisfies its users. Here are our top 5 acne scar creams that actually work, and where you can find them:
- Ambi Fade Cream
Active Ingredients: Vitamin E, Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Hydroquinone
Where to find it: Amazon.com, Walmart.com
Proven to lighten hyperpigmentation, melasma and diminish acne marks and reveal a new surface of smoother and brighter skin with consistent use. This product is popular to women who are trying to get rid of freckles, age spots and post-pregnancy acne. Users experienced results after 2 to 3 months of continued use.
- Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm
Active Ingredients: Bio-peptide Complex, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen)
Where to find it: Sephora.com, Amazon.com
Acts in four ways – moisturizer, sunscreen, treatment and primer and comes in natural shades that perfect the appearance of the skin while it works to nourish it with its anti-oxidant bio-peptide complex that promotes healing and natural collagen synthesis making the skin elastic and firm. Although it instantly improves the appearance of acne scars, users felt the improvement after 3 to 4 weeks.
- Keeva Original Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment
Active Ingredient: Tea tree oil
Where to find it: Keeva Organics.com, Amazon.com
Promises 7 times faster treatment for acne scars, marks, cystic acne and blackheads without drying the skin with its all natural formulation using tea tree oil. They also offer a 100-day full money back guarantee which is a huge come on for buyers. Users say that they’ve experienced a huge difference in just 3 days of continued use.
- Amaira Advanced Scar Vanishing Cream with Marine Botanicals
Active Ingredients: Bentonite, Caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, B-Glutan
Where to find it: Amazon.com
This product which offers a 45-day money back guarantee claims to be the most advanced scar removal cream in the market. Its multi-function benefits include removal of new and old acne scars, reduction of the appearance of skin imperfections like stretch marks, uneven skin from cellulite, fine lines and wrinkles and continuous nourishment of the skin by stimulating collagen production and rebuilding of damaged skin. Product users experienced improvement in just a week.
- Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream
Active Ingredients: Snail secretion filtrate, green tea extract, peptide
Where to find it: Amazon.com
Not every skincare brand is brave enough to use a unique ingredient like snail mucus. This Korean skincare rising star used 92% Snail Mucus Filtrate in this all in one repair cream that naturally promotes skin repair and regeneration which targets to lighten and heal scars, renew skin, hydrate and restore elasticity.
Some users experienced breakouts on the first week of use but eventually saw good results after a month.
Any product that would promise to zap acne scars overnight is most likely a scam. Acne scar treatments will require patience and commitment to try a product that really works for you.
Look for the one that would really even your skin tone, improve the appearance of the bumps and holes and eventually diminish it and make sure that acne does not come back.
While you’re at it, hydrate, eat a balanced diet and load yourself with antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, in short, feed your skin.
With these acne scar creams in mind and the various options we have to treat acne scars, there is still no better way to address it than preventing acne itself.