So I’ve been jumping on Periscope (almost) daily and covering a wide range of topics. I just absolutely love this app and platform for talking about skin care and healing acne. (Don’t know what Periscope is? It’s my favorite new social media platform. Check it out! Then follow me @BrianneGrebil)
One of the best parts of this app is the instant engagement. Anyone watching can ask questions or chat with me in the moment. And I’m finding that a few times a week someone will ask me about acne scarring. I know a lot of people deal with marks and spots long after the acne is gone, so I wanted to give you as much info as possible about what to do about them.
Check out the video replay below for some important details. Or skip down to read all about it.
Click play to take a look.
Don’t want to watch? Here are the highlights:
First and Foremost
I don’t recommend treating active acne and acne scars at the same time. Get your acne under control first, then approach the issue with scarring.
Second, There Are Two Types Of Scarring
There is hyperpigmentation, which is not true scarring. These are the darks spots left over after a blemish has healed. They are not true scars because the skin has not been damaged. Your skin produced extra pigment in that area for protection.
True scars are where the integrity of the skin has actually been compromised and damaged. Think of rolling scars, ice pick scars, or anything affecting the texture of your skin.
What To Do For Hyperpigmentation
The good news is about these marks – in most cases they will eventually go away on their own. They will fade over time, though it can sometimes take months, or even a year or more.
There are some things you can do to speed the process along, however. Definitely wear sunscreen that only uses zinc oxide as the active ingredient (or zinc oxide with titanium dioxide), nothing else. UV rays can prevent hyperpigmentation from healing, but so can a chemical sunscreen ingredient.
You can look for products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or lactic acid, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or retinols. These will help the spots fade. If you get something over the counter, these can take several months before they begin to show results. You can get something stronger from your dermatologist.
You can also consider more aggressive treatments like peels from an esthetician or med spa. Make sure your professional is well qualified, has done the procedure many times, and ask them what you can expect. I do not recommend peels for darker skin tones.
What To Do For True Scars Affecting Skin Texture
The number one thing you need to understand is that your expectations should be kept in line with what’s possible. The skin is actually damaged, so scarring is very difficult to treat. We have not yet perfected a product or procedure that can truly heal all scarring. We can definitely improve the condition of the skin, so the marks are less apparent, but it’s highly unlikely you have smooth flawless skin. (But that’s ok! See The Most Important Thing below)
You also should know that you will not likely be satisfied with topical products. Most products do not penetrate the surface layers of skin, and scarring happens deeper than products can reach. That being said, products with glycolic acid and retinols have been show to reach deeper into the skin and may help repair collagen. This will not heal the scar, but it can make the skin appear fuller and healthier, thus making the scars less apparent.
A product you may wish to try: Paula’s Choice Retinol Serum
There are procedures you can have done with a dermatologist now that have shown decent results. Fillers can be injected into the skin to raise indented areas to be more even. Lasers have also come a long way in recent years. Needling is also a relatively new procedure that may help. (I am still on the fence with this one, I have read many “success” stories, but have not seen any in person.) To learn more about these options, seek out a professional, and ask them many, many questions. Ask them what you can expect, how much it will cost, how many sessions are needed, if the results are permanent, how many times they’ve done the procedure, etc. You want to be extremely comfortable with your professional. If you’re not, go to someone else.
The Most Important Thing To Know
Do not under estimate the power of “letting go”. We have an unrealistic expectation of what we’re supposed to look like, based on absolutely nothing other than someone trying to sell you something. Perfect skin does not exist. More than that, it is not needed. There is nothing about you that needs to be fixed. Neither your acne nor your scarring controls your happiness, only you do.
If you found this info or the video interesting or informative, come join me on Periscope! Check it out! Then follow me @BrianneGrebil