There are several ways to improve the appearance of your acne scars, depending on their color, texture, and size. Dark, discolored acne scars can be lightened with prescription-strength fading creams, such as Tri-Luma and EpiQuin Micro. These are especially helpful in individuals with darker skin tones, who, because they have more melanin in their skin, are more likely to develop dark blemishes even after their pimples heal, a condition called postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. If the fading creams don’t lighten the scars, a dermatologist can perform a chemical peel to help even out the skin tone.
If your scars have left you with uneven skin texture, new devices such as the Affirm and Fraxel lasers can help smooth the skin’s surface. These minimally invasive lasers can reduce shallow scars, and treatment necessitates only a few days of recovery time.
Depressed scars can also be treated with “fillers,” such as Restylane, Juvederm, and CosmoPlast, which are injected underneath the skin to lift up the scar’s surface. While these treatments require little to no recovery time, they generally wear off in four to six months and must be repeated to maintain the results.
Deep or extensive scarring may require more invasive procedures, such as carbon dioxide resurfacing lasers or dermabrasion. Because these treatments are more aggressive and remove several layers of skin, they require a minimum of two to three weeks of recovery time. There is a risk of persistent redness and discoloration, which can last several months, depending on the area treated and your skin type.
Very large or deep acne pits may require a visit to a plastic surgeon who performs scar revision. In this type of surgery, the scars are cut out and the healthy skin is sewn back together to allow the area to heal more smoothly.
If you take Accutane or other forms of isotretinoin for your acne, it’s important to discontinue use and wait at least six months to a year before undergoing any invasive procedures. Such drugs can impair the skin’s ability to heal properly and may lead to more scarring.
I would recommend a visit to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, who can evaluate your scars and recommend the best treatment for your skin type.