Acne scars are often a painful physical reminder of the embarrassing blemishes of adolescence. However, even people in their 30s, 40s and 50s can get acne and suffer from resultant scarring. If your scars cause depression, lack of self-confidence or interfere with your ability to form personal relationships, gain employment or succeed in life, the American Academy of Dermatology advises seeking medical treatment. Although no procedure can totally restore your complexion, numerous in-office procedures can significantly reduce the appearance of scarring.
Be realistic about the effectiveness of consumer anti-scar creams. There's no short supply of marketers that make outrageous claims about their products, and they may even guarantee that a scar cream can make your face look just like it did before you got acne. But don't believe it. The AAD indicates that some anti-scar creams, namely those that contain glycolic acid, retinol or vitamin C, can encourage collagen production, resulting in a slight "plumping" effect of your skin. However, while these may have an effect on very mild acne scarring, if you have pronounced depressions in your skin, results will be negligible.
Tread carefully when using home microdermabrasion kits. Talk with a dermatologist before taking a "DIY" approach to treating your acne scars. When performed improperly, home microdermabrasion can make your scarring worse. If you do choose to use home devices, have realistic expectations of what they offer: They won't give you the pronounced, long-lasting results that you'd see after receiving treatment in a doctor's office.
Wait for the right time to remove acne scars. The AAD advises seeking treatment after acne has been treated and is under control. Procedures used by dermatologists are cosmetic in nature and are generally not covered by health insurance -- which means you pay for your treatment out of pocket. If your acne flares up after you remove scars, you may end up paying twice the amount necessary than you would had you waited until your blemishes resolved.
Get all of the information from your dermatologist about various acne scar treatments. Chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion may be appropriate to treat mild acne scars. Increasingly popular are soft tissue fillers such as collagen and fat that are injected into the scar, most of which are temporary; however, this method of treating individual depressed scars results in few side effects and no downtime. Sometimes a combination of treatments may be the best way to remove your acne scars. For example, deeper, more pronounced acne scars may require surgery, followed up with laser resurfacing. If you want to find the best way to treat acne scars, let your dermatologist advise you.
According to the AAD, between 40 million and 50 million Americans suffer from acne. In the U.S., it's considered the most common disorder affecting the skin.