Shannon R., SELF magazine
When it comes to beauty woes, acne scars are right up there with unwanted facial hair and nail fungus. You really don't want them, and it's really hard to get rid of them. While they aren't always easy to treat, there are ways to help reduce their appearance. And with long term treatment, you may be able to remove them permanently. Here's everything you need to know.
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Why you scar:
Dermatologists aren't exactly sure why. Family history might have to do with it, so if scarring is in your genes, then you may be more likely to experience problems. Severe acne can cause scarring, too. If you have severe acne or are prone to scarring, it is especially important to treat the acne and scars early before scar tissue has time to develop (making the mark more difficult to treat).
What you can do about it:
Consider aloe. Theoretically, natural aloe may have some skin benefits. It has natural film forming and antibacterial properties that can help heal skin. I can't find concrete evidence to support this notion, but it does make sense that a coating of aloe could diminish the appearance of acne scars. The key is to treat the spot immediately; it's unlikely that aloe can provide any benefit when applied to aged scars. The same is true for scar removal gels or creams. While these products won't remove scars completely, they can diminish their appearance and work best when the acne scar is treated immediately.
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Make a microdermabrasion appointment. This exfoliation treatment removes the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). When done professionally, it has been shown to reduce the appearance of acne scars. (Bonus: It also improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduces skin pigmentation.) Do't expect the same results at home--the DIY machines can only provide mild exfoliation.
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Look into laser resurfacing. Fractional resurfacing is one of the newest laser treatments available. It increase collagen production, which can help to smooth out scarred skin. This treatment has significantly less downtime than other more invasive laser treatments. Younger skin may only need a single treatment; older skin may require additional ones. For the best results, your doctor may combine laser treatments and microdermabrasion.
Mild acne scars may be diminished if treated early with aloe or scar removal cream, but the most effective treatments require a trip to the dermatologist. She can help tailor a plan to meet your unique needs.
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