No matter what you try, sometimes it seems like acne scars won’t go away! So we got in touch with not one, but two dermatologists; Dr. Mona Gohara, the Associate Clinical Professor at Yale School of Medicine, and New York’s leading dermatologist, Dr. Doris Day. Because let’s be real, when it comes to a skincare concern as complex and as difficult to treat as acne and scarring, the more help we have, the better chance we have of tackling it.
But first, as with any skincare problem, before you know how to get rid of it, you should learn how to avoid it:
What Causes Acne?
Acne occurs when your hair follicle becomes clogged with a combination of sebum, a natural oil your skin produces, and dead skin, which then causes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads to form. If you have severe acne, you could also be experiencing cystic acne, which means the infection has gone deeper into your skin, causing the pore to become inflamed, forming a bump of pus. You should treat each type of acne differently; to find out how to banish acne, check out our guide.
What Causes Acne Scarring?
Dr. Day told us that “A scar is a true change in the texture of the skin,” and Dr. Gohara explained that there are “two categories of post acne ‘marks.’ The first form of scarring is generally more permanent and is a result of inflamed or cystic pimples that are left untreated or that are more severe in nature. The second is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIP); these are discolorations that are left behind (particularly on darker skin) from breakouts, these are not permanent and can be treated.”
What Is The Best Way To Avoid Acne Scarring?
The most simple and effective way of reducing any acne scarring is not picking or squeezing your pimples, as Dr. Day tells us it will only “increase the risk of scarring.” If you try to squeeze them, you’ll aggravate them as the dirt and bacteria on your hands and nails will transfer onto your skin. Plus, if you pop them, the leaking pus will spread the acne bacteria further.
What you do need to do, however, is apply a good sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 with 5-star UVA protection, daily. Dr. Day explains that this is really important as “the sun breaks down collagen and can make acne scarring and hyperpigmentation worse, so it’s very important to protect your skin from the sun.” Dr. Gohara recommends the La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra-light Mineral Fluid, $35, and powder sunscreens such as Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield, $65, as they can be easily reapplied throughout the day without messing up your makeup (you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours).
Using a good retinol cream will also help prevent acne scarring, and Dr. Gohara recommends the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80, as it’s packed with antioxidants, fruit enzymes and vitamins that will help even out your skin tone, leaving your skin looking glowy AF.