Removing Acne Scars: Do Home Remedies Really Work?
Acne Scar Treatments: Which Remedies Work?
As if acne itself wasn’t bad enough, the marks it leaves behind on your skin can be just as damaging to the complexion. But what’s the best way to treat acne scars? Do home remedies actually work? We asked Dr. Jeremy Fenton, a medical and cosmetic dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, his thoughts on whether at-home acne scar remedies can really work.
Are there any acne scar home remedies that you’ve seen actually work?
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne scars is a common and frustrating problem. It is caused by pigment deposits from cells called melanocytes. This discoloration can sometimes take months to years to fade in darker-skinned patients. Increasing the rate of turnover of the skin cells by exfoliation or peeling can speed the process along. Over-the-counter salicylic acid and glycolic acid cleansers and topical treatments can slowly peel off the top layer. A topical over- the-counter retinoid can also help with that process.
How do these home remedies compare to in-office acne scar treatments?
These treatments will not be as effective as in-office acne scar treatments. Prescription strength retinoids combined with in-office peels performed by a dermatologist will give much better results than their drugstore counterparts. There are also pigment lightening creams that are by prescription and over-the-counter such as hydroquinone. These work by reducing the amount of pigment produced by the melanocytes. Once again, the stronger versions available by prescription will work better.
Have you seen any effective home remedies for atrophic (pitted) acne scars?
I do not know of any home remedies that will give sustained results for atrophic scars. There are some products available for at-home use such as microneedle rollers that claim to improve the appearance of atrophic scars, but there is no reliable data.
What would you recommend to an acne scar patient who wants to see quick results for their acne scars?
If one only has a few atrophic scars that bother them, then for the most immediate and impressive results for atrophic scars, I would recommend injection of filler. Belotero is one of the few fillers that can be injected superficially in order to plump up the skin under the scar. A high degree of improvement is immediate. However, lasting results take time with laser resurfacing results being seen over 3-6 months. As for scars with discoloration, chemical peels can lighten them progressively, but a treatment with the Fraxel laser will provide the most impressive results in the shortest period of time.