If you’re experiencing red and inflamed spots on your face, then you may be suffering from acne. This skin disease can be caused by a hormonal imbalance (which can cause your oil glands to make excess oil), the contraceptive pill, a family history, medicines, and even simply using greasy cosmetics, which can alter the cells of your hair follicles and make them stick together, causing a plug or blockage in your pores.
Unfortunately, acne affects people of all ages, and is certainly not reserved for those in their teenage years. According to studies collated by Allergan, acne is more common in women, with 13.6 per cent of Australian adult females having acne, and five per cent of women still having blemishes at age 40.
As for the cause of acne, it can stem from skin with irritations such as pustules (pimples), nodules (painful and hard lumps under the skin) and cysts. When these sores become inflamed and then close up, it can result in acne scarring, which can look like dark spots and little holes in the skin.
"Acne scarring can be difficult to treat,” says Jodie King, owner of Skin Clinic Blyss. "This is due to textural changes in the skin, pigmentation, erythema (reddening) and more importantly, the depth of the scarring. The deeper the scarring, the more difficult to treat, so we often need to look at more than one type of treatment for improvement."
But, all hope is not lost. If you’re wondering how to get rid of acne scars, here are eight of the best acne scar treatment options we recommend you try.
With a serum
A hard-hitting skin care serum, like Medicalia Silico-Lipid Serum, can soothe, protect and cool skin, as well as help repair skin and reduce acne scarring. The secret lies in its formula, which works to improve cell renewal activity to decrease the formation of scarring, wound stiffness, keloids and milia.
With a face oil
On Reddit, two oils have received a lot of praise for acne scar removal. A bunch of Redditors sang the praises of using Bio-Oil for acne scars, with one Redditor claiming, “I used it religiously as instructed for one month (twice daily every day) and all my acne scarring completely faded. On the back it says to wait 3 months for results but for me it worked after just one.” The other oil Redditors say is one of the best products for acne scars is rosehip oil - read all their reviews here.
With a prescribed topical treatment
If you suffer from more aggressive cases of adult acne, then it’s worth seeing a professional (like a GP or dermatologist) for expert advice. Something that they may recommend is an acne scar cream like ACZONE®, which is a prescribed topical gel that can be applied daily for 12 weeks, and contains the active ingredient dapsone to reduce inflammation in skin. For best results, follow their recommended routine of washing your face with a cleanser, pat the skin dry to remove moisture, and apply a pea-sized amount of the gel all over the face.
Acupuncture can do much more than relieve tension in your body; it turns out that this needling treatment can boost circulation in skin and regenerate tissue and collagen, which can reduce the appearance of acne scars on the face, as well as the body. "Cosmetic acupuncture can be really helpful in softening the appearance of acne scarring in the form of pitting and hyperpigmentation, which are dark spots of red and purple,” explains Dr. Vivian Tam, founder of Cosmetic Acupuncture Clinic. “Ultra-fine, painless needles are inserted in the affected area, which can boost blood circulation to promote healing, fade purple spots and scars, and allow fresh blood to come to the area. Scarring in the form of unevenness and pitting is softened as you are encouraging your skin to renew and regenerate tissue by promoting the production of collagen." It’s recommended to have three to four sessions of the treatment to see a difference, and each treatment’s cost starts from $105.
With a needling treatment
An in-salon treatment, like microneedling, works in a similar way to acupuncture as it uses a device that has a head with 12 tiny needles to puncture the skin. “The Eclipse MicroPen™ is the most advanced medical-grade automated microneedling device on the market,” explains skin care therapist Jacqueline Brennan. “It conducts controlled micro-injuries to the skin, which can encourage skin to produce collagen and elastin and improve the skin’s repair process. The Eclipse MicroPen™ can also have a positive effect on hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and acne scars.” Note: While you may experience reddened skin straight after your treatment, this side effect can subside from one to four days afterwards.
Another option is microdermabrasion: acne scars that are light and not very deep are best suited to this treatment. It helps fade pimple marks on the surface of the skin by removing the top layer of skin and revealing smooth, renewed skin below. The process involves tiny crystals being sprayed onto the skin for a thorough exfoliation (it sounds worse than it is - it feels like mild scratching on your skin; you won’t need anaesthetic) followed by a vacuuming device that sucks up the dead skin cells. The treatment is fast (it takes about 30 minutes), non-abrasive and requires no downtime. However, microdermabrasion isn’t recommended for those with cystic acne as it may cause additional inflammation. Microdermabrasion can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun so be extra diligent with your sunscreen application in the week following your treatment.
With a laser treatment
An acne laser treatment also works by causing trauma to the skin, and can encourage skin rejuvenation by stimulating collagen production to therefore reduce hyperpigmentation. It’s one of the best options for those with deep acne scars. Cynosure’s Icon machine is a great laser treatment for acne scars on lighter skin tones - it requires three to seven treatments (spread three to four weeks apart), with prices starting from $400 a session. On the other hand, Cynosure’s PicoSure machine is perfect for darker skin tones; it requires four to six treatments (spread four to six weeks apart), with the cost of each treatment starting at $650. Both treatments have side effects of redness, which may subside from three days or two hours respectively.
Home remedies for acne scars
If you’re wondering how to get rid of acne scars naturally, there are a few options that have received some hype. Lemon juice for its natural bleaching properties and ability to remove dead skin cells (make sure you dilute it first as it can cause irritation); baking soda for its ability to exfoliate skin without causing inflammation; potatoes for their pigmentation-fading vitamins and minerals; or turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties (to name just a few).
Looking for advice on covering acne scarring with makeup? Try these quick fixes.
Do you suffer from adult acne? Which of the above solutions are you most likely to try? Do you have your own tip for how to get rid of pimple scars? Tell us in the comments below.
Main image credit: Getty
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and previously in SHOP Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan.