Minimizing the Appearance of Acne Scars

A pockmarked face that's the result of acne can haunt you well into adulthood and put a major dent in your self-image. Of course, leaving pimples alone and not picking them reduces the likelihood that they'll scar, but hindsight is 20/20 when you already have scars. So is there any way to get rid of them completely? First, when you have a pimple, take extra precautions as it heals to reduce the appearance of a scar. Sun exposure causes more skin damage, so it's important to wear a good sunscreen at all times. It can take up to six months for an acne scar to heal fully. Once acne heals, then the scars can be treated in a few ways, depending on the shape of the scar. Typically, acne scars in four shapes: ice pick, the deep, small pocks in the skin that make it look as if it were punctured by an ice pick; boxcar, which look a lot like chicken pox scars with sharp vertical edges; rolling, which give skin a wave-like appearance; and hypertrophic, which are raised, lumpy scars.

The more severe the scars, the more difficult they tend to be to get rid of. Mild scarring may respond well to several treatments of microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Dermabrasion, which uses a small wire brush to "sand down" the layers of skin, allowing it to heal normally without a scar, may be used for moderate cases of acne scarring. But for deep scars, consult a dermatologist, who might recommend laser resurfacing, dermal fillers or a surgical procedure, such as punch excision, which treats individual acne scars. Your dermatologist can advise you on the best way to lose those acne scars for good.