Suffering from bad acne previously in life no longer means you are left to deal with ugly acne scars for the rest of your life. While acne scars do not go away on their own, 2014 has brought us a number of new products based on advances in science that can help fade and reduce the appearance of acne scars for good. Not only do these new treatments and creams have permanent effects, but these new products are available online and can be used in your own home.
Top Acne Scar Creams of 2014
The most convenient method for getting rid of acne scars is without a doubt using a treatment cream. Some creams can reduce discoloration and help smooth out the bumps and lumps typical of acne scars. The best part about using a cream is that it can be applied from the comfort of home. Not only do you get to skip the recovery time and expense associated with medical procedures, but no one even has to know that you are using the cream. The only evidence left behind by this treatment is the slow fading of the purple pock marks on your skin.
Our recommended cream for reducing acne scar visibility is Revitol. This top of the line product contains ingredients known to lighten scars, working to eliminate purple or dark marks left behind by scarring. It also contains a number of active ingredients thought to improve skin healing and spur collagen production.
While Revitol is effective, it is also convenient. This products rubs right into the skin and is invisible once it dries. You can even apply make-up over this product once it rubs in just as if it was a jar of moisturizer. The 2 oz jar is perfect for travel – it can easily slip into a purse or stay in the car for use on the go.
Given that many acne scars on the face, an invisible cream is the best method for reducing scar appearance. While gels and strips can also be effective, no one wants to go around for weeks at a time with a shiny gel or bandage on their face while they are working on their acne scars. This is never an issue with Revitol since it is completely invisible once it dries.
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Gels for Acne Scars
Silicone gels are another good product for the reduction of acne scars. Gels are particularly effective for reducing the lumpiness associated with acne scars. Via an unknown mechanism, gels promote collagen to realign in a more natural pattern. Depressed and elevated scars are caused by an abnormal alignment of collagen fibers during the healing process; reversal of this abnormal alignment can help smooth out skin.
Silicone is the only known active ingredient that can cause collagen fibers to realign. As a result, it is the only effective ingredient for hypertrophic scars (thick, raised scars) and keloid scars (similar to hypertrophic scars in appearance, but can grow over time and be painful). Silicone also happens (to the best of our knowledge) to be a non-toxic ingredient – something fairly rare amongst cosmetic products.
Note that hypertrophic scars are typically not caused by acne, but can if the scarring is severe. Also, keloid scars are very rare and atypical of acne; keloid scars rarely form outside of the worst cystic acne cases and even then they are quite rare. These serious scars are more likely to occur after surgery or a major injury. That said, if you do want to reduce elevated scarring (where the scar juts out from the skin), silicone gels are the best bet for home treatment.
The best silicone gel for scarring is without a doubt Kelo-cote. Kelo-cote is a commonly recommended product by surgeons for use on newly healed scars as it is so effective at reducing the appearance of these scars over the long term. According to AcneScarHQ.com, a silicone gel like Kelo-cote is among the best ways to get rid of all types of scarring.
When it comes to deciding between a gel or cream, know that both products can actually be used in tandem for improved results. Revitol’s specialty is getting rid of the discoloration of scarring, while Kelo-cote helps smooth out the skin. Combining both can lead to better results as all facets of scar appearance are addressed. If you do decide to use both, make sure to rub in Revitol first and then use Kelo-cote once the Revitol dries. It will be difficult for the Revitol cream to pierce the silicone gel, so the Revitol cream needs to be applied first.
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Best Dermatologist Procedures for Acne Scars
This section discusses some of the most popular medical procedures available for acne scar removal. These procedures have a high cost and many potential side effects; in order to minimize risks, you should pursue these treatment options with a licensed dermatologist. Avoid “beauty centers”, spas, and letting otherwise unqualified individuals from working on your skin.
While Dermatologist procedures can work faster than home treatments, there are three major downsides to this approach:
- Cost: The biggest barrier to medical procedures for acne scars is the extreme cost. Some treatments require multiple doctor visits and can run $500 or more per treatment. When all is said and done, it can easily cost thousands of dollars to treat acne scars through a Dermatologist office – home gels and creams are available at a fraction of the price.
- Painful & Long Recovery: Another downside to Dermatologist procedures is that they often hurt and have a long recovery time. Many procedures involve cutting into the skin either with a tool or laser, whereas others burn off the top layers of skin with abrasion or chemicals. This, unsurprisingly, is not only painful, but can take up to a few weeks of recovery time.
- Chance of Unintended Negative Results: While rare, there is always the chance that a medical procedure can backfire. The most common negative side effect is worsened scarring – sometimes the procedures used to treat acne scars can backfire if the wound does not heal properly. We still do not fully understand the wound healing process – sometimes bad scarring occurs even when all precautions are taken.
If you have considered all of these downsides and are still interested in medical procedures for acne scars, here are 4 of the most popular acne scar treatments for 2014:
- Fractional Ablative Laser (FAL): An ablative laser cuts into the skin in order to try and “break up” bound collagen tissue responsible for scarring. This procedure is meant for rolling scars, as it can help smooth out small depressions in the skin. If the scar is very deep, it may not be fully effective.
- Subcision: Perhaps the safest treatment for acne scars is subcision – particularly when it comes to smoothing out the skin. While this is no miracle cure, this procedure involves making small cuts at the base of a scar to help separate the skin from the deformed collagen tissue underneath. This gives the skin a smoother appearance.
- Fillers: Injecting a filler into deep scars can help fill in the depressions caused by scarring. However, fillers have amongst the highest incidences of side effects. Any time something is injected into the skin, it can move around over time.
- Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve using a light acid on the skin to burn off the top layers of cells. Chemical peels vary in strength and intensity, so talk to your doctor before choosing a peel. Chemical peels are not recommended for dark skin as sometimes dark skin will scar in response to this treatment.
While medical procedures can be very effective at reducing acne scars, the cost, recovery time, and potential negative side effects are reason to give pause before pursuing these treatments. It may be better to try an at home cream or gel first and only pursue medical procedures if the home-based treatments do not deliver the desired results.