How to Smooth Out Indented Acne Scars, As Told by a Top Dermatologist
Let’s just go ahead and say it: Acne is the absolute worst. Anyone who has suffered from a face or body covered in zits—especially large, painful cystic acne—knows this to be undeniably true. To rub salt into the wound, some blemishes leave behind deep-pitted scars and depressions in the skin that make dark spots look like a walk in the park. Unlike acne marks—which you can fade in appearance of over time—topical cream won’t cut it as a treatment plan for these scars. To see any improvement, you’ll have to pay a visit to the pros. Below, Dr. Michael Kaminer—board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and Skincare.com expert—shares three treatments that may help improve the appearance of acne scars.
To help improve the appearance of surface acne scars, Kaminer likes to use a non-ablative laser, which stimulates collagen growth and tightens underlying skin. “Some doctors recommend the more aggressive ablative lasers, but in my experience they don't work as well, have a lot of down time, and more risk.”
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin’s connective tissue, and has become the most common filler used in aesthetic medicine, according to the Mayo Clinic. Kaminer is partial to hyaluronic-acid based fillers to help soften the look of deep creases of acne scars for a period of time.
DERMABRASION WITH SANDPAPER
Dermabrasion is a skin-resurfacing procedure that uses a rapidly rotating device to smooth the outer layers of skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. The procedure Kaminer suggests, however, is manual dermabrasion with sandpaper. “This is not the typical dermabrasion people talk about, of which I am not a fan; it can cause discoloration and, in my opinion, a different type of scarring and skin texture that is unattractive,” he says. “Medical grade sandpaper is perfect for buffing out medium to slightly deep scars. It would be nice if more doctors learned how to do it.”
Other treatments may be recommended for your acne scars. To determine what’s best for you, consult your doctor or dermatologist—and remember, when it comes to diminishing the look of acne scars, don’t attempt at home, you may end up making the problem worse.