Acne Scars Medicine
Most teenagers get acne, but an unlucky few wind up with acne scars long after their skin has cleared. Fortunately, there are over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Acne scars can result when your case of acne is particularly severe, with deep inflammation in your skin. They can result even in less severe cases of acne if you have a family history of acne scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Proper skin care while the acne is active can reduce the chances of scarring, but some people develop scars anyway. In these cases, they need effective medicines to diminish the acne scars.
Acne scars can take several forms. According to the AAD, they can be depressions in the skin ("ice pick" type scars), dark red, brown or purple discolorations, or raised patches. The most common acne scars are atrophic scars, which make the skin appear bumpy and uneven. Medicine generally can be effective against both atrophic acne scars and skin discolorations from acne, the AAD says.
Over-the-counter creams containing retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid can be effective in mild cases of acne scarring, the AAD says. Bleaching creams, which feature hydroquinone as their active ingredient, work to fade dark spots on the skin from acne, according to the AAD. Creams with 2 percent hydroquinone are available over-the-counter, while dermatologists can prescribe more powerful hydroquinone creams. Your dermatologist also may prescribe a cream that contains a combination of ingredients, including hydroquinone and a corticosteroid, to treat your acne scars.
The prescription medicine tretinoin, best known by the brand name Retin-A, helps reduce the appearance of atrophic acne scars significantly, according to medical studies. Tretinoin is a form of Vitamin A and is sold under a variety of brand names, including Retin-A, Renova and Avita. In a study published in 1995 in the Journal of International Dermatology, researchers found that applying tretinoin to atrophic scars twice a week over three months improved scars in 93 percent of the 28 patients in the study.
Dermatologists say that no medicine for acne scars will eliminate the scars completely. Patients who have extensive scarring that resulted from their acne should consider consulting with a dermatologist to determine their options for lessening the appearance of those scars, the AAD says.
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