The 4-night protocol for more radiant skin

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Solutions contre les cicatrices d'acné.

Can you remove acne scarring?

For many people, acne can cause issues long after the spots have disappeared. Because your skin goes through trauma with acne, it can be left with scarring, which can last a long time and be pretty upsetting to deal with. However, there are ways to minimize the appearance of scarring, giving you a more even skin tone. Discover how to reduce the appearance of acne scarring.

Published January 13, 2023, by Stéphanie, Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences, — 9 min read

The different types of acne scarring.

Before starting a treatment to get rid of your acne scarring, it’s important to make sure you have the right product for you. We’re talking about scars that are still visible a year after the spot itself has healed. Sometimes you might think you have scarring, but it’s more likely to be pigmentation marks (which are brown) or inflammation (which is red).

Depending on how severe the acne outbreak is, you can be left with life-long scarring, some of which can be quite deep. It all depends on the damage to the different layers of your skin. There are two types of acne scarring:

  • Atrophic scars which leave an indent in the skin, and which can come in any shape or depth. They usually take on one of three forms: like an “ice pick” or a “V” which are narrow and deep, like a “U” or a “crater” which are wider and not too deep, and have sharp or rounded edges, and like a “quadrangle” which are both wide and deep. This type of scar appears when a wound does not heal properly and the connective tissue that forms is insufficient to refill the wound.

  • Hypertrophic scars which can look a little blistered, or like they’ve formed a bump on the skin. This is caused by the formation of a second layer which covers the scar tissue during the healing process (surplus collagen).

Solutions to reduce the appearance of acne scars

In the case of severe acne, there is no real solution for erasing scars other than surgery or aesthetic medicine. However, before starting any treatment for acne scarring, it’s important to make sure that the acne episode is finished, and that any medical treatments with isotretinoin or vitamin A have been completed and your skin has had a break for at least 6 months to a year. Essentially, there needs to not have been any acne recurrence for at least a year, otherwise further treatment could cause an inflammatory reaction which leads to more acne.

Here are the different remedies to help reduce the appearance of acne scarring:

  • Skincare products made with weaker concentrations (up to 20%) of  fruit acids (AHA, BHA and PHA) can be used to reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scarring. However, you’ll need to use them regularly for visible results. Try our exfoliating serum, which contains 10% glycolic acid, or our gentle peeling serum with lactic acid, which is better for sensitive skin. Our anti-mark serum specifically targets acne scarring and can be used wherever you need it. It contains gluconolactone, part of the PHA category, and Centella asiatica extract, known for its smoothing properties.

  • Microdermabrasion is a relatively gentle method, a bit like a skin peel, for treating both atrophic and hypertrophic scarring. It uses small crystals to mechanically lift away the upper layers of the skin. Repeated sessions are necessary for the best results.

  • Dermatological peels are effective for certain atrophic and hypertrophic scars. A peeling solution, which contains a high concentration of phenol and trichloroacetic acid, is applied to the face to help lift away the upper layers of the skin. A chemical peel can also cause the controlled removal of part or all of the epidermis, which removes superficial lesions and promotes tissue renewal for smoother skin with fewer visible scars.

  • Laser treatment is particularly effective for treating hypertrophic scarring. Projecting a laser onto the treatment area irritates the skin in a targeted manner to stimulate skin cell renewal. There are many types: Fraxel laser, CO2 laser, etc. This technique aims to even out the skin by correcting small indentations or small bumps left behind by acne. However, it is highly likely you’ll require several sessions of laser treatment to achieve lasting results.

  • Hyaluronic acid injections are used to treat atrophic scarring that’s not too deep. Hyaluronic acid is injected locally to fill the indentations caused by the acne scarring. However, it’s important to undergo this treatment every year because hyaluronic acid is absorbable, so only gives short-term results.

  • Radiofrequency consists of using electromagnetic waves to stimulate the fibroblasts into producing collagen, restoring volume and reducing the appearance of indentations. This treatment is carried out in 3 to 4 sessions, each spaced out by a month.

  • Local cortisone injections are especially effective for hypertrophic scarring. When cortisone is injected, it breaks down scar tissue, giving long-term results.

  • Pressotherapy consists of exerting continuous and mechanical pressure on hypertrophic scarring to allow tissue retraction.

  • Microneedling creates micro-perforations in the skin with a machine that uses a high number of fine needles no longer than 0.5mm (a dermaroller). These micro-lesions stimulate production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin.

  • Skin ablation is used for hypertrophic scarring, and is designed to remove the extra fibrous tissue directly from each scar. This method is only effective in the short term, because it doesn’t stop the tissue from coming back.

How to avoid acne scarring.

Acne scarring is caused by acne, but can be made worse by certain behaviors. So, knowing that it’s really difficult to erase acne scarring, it’s better to take preventative action to stop it from appearing in the first place.

If you suffer from acne and want to avoid scarring, start by leaving your spots alone, even blackheads or whiteheads. Squeezing spots damages small veins, glands, and the skin tissue, which can cause scarring. Plus, don’t put off visiting a dermatologist to get a prescription to treat your acne. The worse your acne gets and the later you start treatment, the greater the risk of scarring.

Sources :

  • JEMEC B. & al. Acne: treatment of scars.  Clinics in Dermatology (2004).

  • PLATSIDAKI E. & al. Chemical peels in active acne and acne scars. Clinics in Dermatology (2017).

  • CARDONA A. & al. Laser treatment for facial acne scars: A review. Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy (2018).

  • DENG Y. & al. Ablative fractional CO2 laser for facial atrophic acne scars. Facial Plastic Surgery (2018).

  • SHANMUGAM G. & al. Disintegration of collagen fibrils by Glucono-delta-lactone: An implied lead for disintegration of fibrosis. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2018).

  • SIVAMANI R. K. & al. Acne scars: how do we grade them ? American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2018).

  • TARAR M. N. & al. Efficacy of micro-needling on ost acne scars. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad (2019).

  • FRIEDMAN O. & al. Dual-plane hyaluronic acid treatment for atrophic acne scars. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology  (2020).

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