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Acne Scars Skin Care

Skin care at home can help reduce acne & pigmentation, as well as improve collagen. Simple & precise skin care products can lay the foundation for improved skin- for life. The ABC’s of skin care, coupled with antioxidants, skin care acids & collagen boosters can complement scar revision procedures.

Acne Scars Skin Care At A Glance
  • Best results with clinical revision

  • Skin specialist: clinician

  • Duration of results: Variable

Acne Scars Skin Care
The Facts to Know
  • Simple skin care can help build a foundation for life

  • The foundation is to prevent & treat acne early

  • Retinol & retinoids can remodel collagen & decrease outbreaks

  • Niacinamide can reduce inflammation & redness

  • Pigment correctors can improve post inflammatory hyperpigmentation

  • Sunscreen is essential for patients on scar revision programs

Can skin care help with acne scarring?

Well formulated skin care gives marginal improvements in established scars. For mild & early scarring, collagen stimulation products such as retinoids, ascorbic acid, & skin care acids can help. Red acne scars, known as PIE or post inflammatory erythema can improve with adequate sunscreen, vitamin B3 & vitamin C.


What simple things can I do at home to help my scar revision journey?

By far, the most important aspect of DIY treatments should be focused on preventing acne. Once you have achieved this, you can look at scar improving procedures & skin care. Active acne slows down scar remodelling, hence the importance of gaining absolute control early. The following suggestions are not designed to replace clinical analysis & specialist management of acne scarring, but to help you build a better understanding of skin care, laying down the foundation for life. This page only discusses topical skin care, for more information on sensible DIY procedure, review the page on home treatments for acne scars.


What are the best creams for acne scars?


Retinoic acid can treat acne & early acne scars. Differin or adapalene is the most studied retinoid for the treatment of acne scars. This is OTC or over the counter in the United States & in some countries in Europe. In Australia it is prescription only (however, apparently you can order this through Amazon or other websites. Hint.) Review the section on how to use retinoids on this website for better understanding.


Retinol is my go to ingredient during the scar revision process. I prefer retinol over retinoids simply because it is much easier to use & titrate. During your scar revision journey, your skin’s barrier function will be compromised following microneedling, RFM, peels & laser resurfacing. In many cases prescription retinoids can prolong redness post procedure- hence why I advocate retinol during the revision journey & retinoids after.


Glycolic acid can be useful in the management of acne scars, especially the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This skin care acid acts as an exfoliant in lower concentrations of 8 to 15%. High concentration AHAs can stimulate dermal collagen. As with retinoic acids, incorrect use during your revision journey can lead to prolonged healing.


Ascorbic acid or vitamin C can reduce dark acne spots, known as PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Formulations containing 10-20% L-Ascorbic Acid are recommended. Note- Vitamin C & Retinoids / AHA can cause significant skin irritation if used together. For patients with skin type 3 or above, I occasionally initiatie ascorbic acid post resurfacing. Retinoids are useful actives to help reduce scars & active acne


Niacinamide or vitamin B can reduce inflammation from acne, in addition to reducing post acne marks. This vitamin is best for patients who have sensitive skin with associated red marks (post inflammatory erythema.) Disclaimer: I do not consult with products in mind. My focus is on lasers, surgery, & injectables. My clinical staff are experts in the field of product use.


Why is sunscreen vitally important during scar revision treatments?

Adequate use of sunscreen can markedly accelerate your scar revision process. This is because after procedures such as microneedling, RF microneedling, lasers & peels, your skin is prone to pigmentation changes, including brown (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) & red, (post inflammatory erythema).


With subsequent treatments, these colour changes can be prolonged. The use of sunscreen will accelerate your recovery, assisting both me & my team as this allows us to provide better treatments (often higher settings). If you have pigment changes, we will have to back off on treatments until your skin recovers.


How can you treat brown acne marks at home?

Brown marks from acne are termed PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Over half of the cases will persist for 12 months or longer. You can do the following DIY treatments to reduce or prevent PIH:

  • Sunscreen. Twice a day, regardless of sun exposure

  • Retinoids can reduce acne, preventing PIH

  • Vitamin C can repair scars & reduce pigment

  • Azelaic acid is a powerful anti-inflammatory & pigment inhibitor

  • AHAs such as glycolic acid can fade pigment

For DIY treatments, sensible AHAs & exfoliation can help. If you are struggling with brown marks, please consult my clinical team. My nurses & therapists are well versed in the management of brown spots-PIH. We employ nano, pico & fractional lasers to help improve texture & scars. This vitamin can be used in the am as it is an antioxidant. It can also reduce pigmentation.


What skin care ingredients can treat red acne scars?

Red marks from acne are termed macular erythema, or PIE (post inflammatory erythema). These are notoriously difficult to remove at home without lasers. As always it is imperative to control ongoing acne, or you will be chasing new marks from future breakouts.


Sunscreen use will decrease the intensity of redness. Red marks take 6-18 months before fading, vascular lasers are best at removing them (2-4 sessions). You can use vitamin C in the morning & niacinamide in the evening.

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