How To Get Rid Of Your Acne Scars

While that pesky blemish you picked may be long gone, if the
dark purple or red scar is still lingering, there are things you can do to minimize it. Acne scars are a result of inflammation
within the dermis, which triggers skin to produce pigment cells and,
unfortunately, acne scars can linger for months. For this reason, one of my top
skin rules is to never to pick a blemish until a visible whitehead is on the
surface of the skin. Then (and only then), should you gently squeeze to remove it.

Even if you're not a picker, sometimes acne scars are unavoidable, resulting from skin tissue being stretched from within. It's important to take steps
to expedite the fading and healing process so you can get your skin clear and
even-toned. Acne scars can actually be two things — actual scars/divots in the skin, and post-inflammation hyperpigmentation, which is what I'm focusing on here.

Here are some of my tips on caring for acne scars: 
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

sunscreen faithfully. 
If the affected skin is exposed to daylight, the UV rays can
stimulate the melanin cells — even if it's cloudy outside — and make the scar
darker and redder in color and visible longer. Wearing sunscreen
will protect the damaged skin cells from the harmful UV rays, allowing the
scars to properly heal and recover. Be sure to use a sunscreen formulated for
acne-prone skin to avoid causing any further problems. 

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Use a gentle
By increasing your use of exfoliants
(glycolic acid, salicylic acid, enzymes, and scrubs), you will help encourage
new and healthy skin-cell growth while removing the damaged, scarred cells. (Out
with the old, in with the new!) However, be sure to go easy and be gentle since the scar is
very sensitive, and you do not want to cause additional inflammation.

Use soothing,
anti-inflammatory products. 
Since a scar is basically just inflamed skin, using calming, soothing,
and antioxidant ingredients on it will help to sedate the irritated skin tissue
and encourage a faster healing process. Use products with the following
ingredients: white tea, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant; green tea, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant; and licorice extract, a wound healing formula.

Use a skin
brightening product. 
Introducing a skin brightener into your daily routine will
dramatically help expedite the fading and lightening of dark, acne marks. Look
for a product with vitamin
, which can help even out skin tone and lift discoloration from post-breakout

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble,
stabilized, time-released vitamin C supplement, is a proven melanin suppressant. Salicylic acid is is a BHA exfoliator and brightener that can also help with fading. Finally, look out for retinol, an ingredient that encourages cell turnover to reveal
even-toned skin.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Schedule a
chemical peel.
A chemical peel involves applying a chemical solution (acid)
to skin to remove and exfoliate the outer layers for a clearer, more evenly
pigmented, glowing complexion. The new regenerated skin is smoother than the
old skin.

A chemical peel is also instrumental in the stimulation of fibroblasts and in creating new collagen, which is beneficial for keeping the skin’s texture smooth.
The newly resurfaced skin will temporarily be more sensitive to the sun, so daily use of
sunscreen is a must. There are different chemical peel strengths, so you should speak with your aesthetician or skin-care professional to determine which series of peels is appropriate
for the severity of your scarring.

Depending on the type of peel, the treatments
are often repeated every 1-6 weeks to achieve the desired results. You can also
maintain the results of a chemical peel by using an at-home

While the best defense against an acne scar is to avoid
picking at a blemish, if you do experience a post-breakout scar, these
tips will help ensure it heals properly and quickly.       

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