Acne Scar Skin Care
If you have acne scars, it might be tempting to slather on every scar cream and drugstore remedy you can find to make them go away. This is often counterproductive. Not only will you not treat your scars, you'll likely irritate your skin and cause new blemishes to form. The key to effective acne scar treatment is establishing a regular skin-care routine that takes your acne scars into account.
Acne Scar Types
Acne scars come in several forms, from mild to severe. Mild scarring might not be scarring at all. In fact, the red, brown or black marks that show up once an acne lesion has healed are really post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and fade away on their own after a year or so. Actual acne scars often appear as rolling indentations on the face. These rolling scars look like waves or ripples and vary in depth. Square-like scars with defined edges are called boxcar scars, and sharp, narrow indentations are called icepick scars.
Before you can sufficiently take care of your acne scars, you must treat any remaining acne you may have. If your acne is bad enough to scar, you'll likely need the assistance of a dermatologist. Treatment can include strong topical creams that contain benzoyl peroxide, retinoids or even antibiotics. Oral medications may include contraceptives, antibiotics or isotretinoin, also known as Accutane. This drug dries out your oil glands and prevents new blemishes from forming.
Cleanse the Skin
Caring for acne-scarred skin starts with daily cleansing. Use a mild cleanser that won't irritate your skin to remove dirt, oil and dead skin cells. Steer clear of masks and astringents, according to MayoClinic.com, because they can irritate your already-sensitive skin. After dampening the face, work the cleanser into a lather and massage it into the skin. Rinse well with warm water. Don't wash your skin more than twice a day to prevent overdrying and irritation.
Sun exposure can make acne scars worse. To encourage the scars to soften and to prevent dark spots from getting darker, wear a sunscreen that contains SPF 30 or higher whenever you go outside, suggests AcneNet. Apply it 20 minutes before you go outside.
Chemical Peels & Microdermabrasion
To reduce the harsh texture of acne scars, consider skin-resurfacing treatments, such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion. You can complete these treatments in your own home. A glycolic acid chemical peel, which can be applied about once a week, encourages the top layer of skin to slough off more quickly. Microdermabrasion sands off the top layer of skin, which can help acne discolorations or subtle scars to fade more quickly.
A mainstay of acne scar skin care is the use of a good moisturizer. Use oil-free brands only to prevent new blemishes from forming. Be diligent in your application, every morning and night after cleansing. This will soften your scars and make the dry, hard edges less noticeable.
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