Acne and adolescence often go hand in hand. Even if your teen years and most aggressive breakouts are well behind you, though, you may still be suffering from the long-term effects of severe acne in the past, namely scarring. Dealing with the remnants of teenage acne can be a real nuisance as you navigate your relationships and career. Fortunately, there are many ways to erase those traces of the past lingering on your skin. Let’s explore some of the best ways to amend your adult skin after battling acne as a teen.
If you’re looking to achieve smoother, brighter skin as an adult, you must keep up with a skincare routine specifically suited for your skin type. The right routine for your skin in adulthood will likely look different than the one you had as a teen. Rather than being acne prone, your adult skin might be drier and thinner, in need of regular moisturizing and exfoliation. Regardless of your skin’s unique needs, every adult should wear sunscreen (SPF 30+) year-round to minimize the sun’s harmful effects on the skin’s health and appearance (e.g., discoloration, cancerous growths, wrinkles, etc.). Talk to your dermatologist about which products are best for you, asking specifically about skincare for acne scars if this is a major concern.
Improving your skincare regimen is a great foundation for fixing your adult skin, but more direct measures may be in order to really reduce the appearance of acne scars. Microneedling and dermabrasion are two distinct cosmetic skin procedures designed to deeply exfoliate the upper layers of skin to promote cell regeneration that smooths out scarring. With microneedling (which can be performed at home), a handheld device that features several small needles is rolled along the scarred skin, gently puncturing the surface to promote a healing response in the form of collagen production and new skin cell growth. In some cases, this method can diminish the depth of acne scars (and other scars), especially depressed scars. Dermabrasion is similar except that it’s always performed by a professional and uses a wire brush or wheel (rather than a wand/pen) to exfoliate the skin. This procedure is often effective against acne scars of the shallow boxcar and rolling variety.
Manual methods aren’t your only options for deep exfoliation and acne scar removal. Chemical peels can also stimulate new skin cell growth via alpha hydroxy, lactic, and salicylic acids. While some chemical peels can be applied at home, the strongest ones should be received in a professional skincare setting. When administered properly, a potent chemical peel can reach further into the skin and reduce deep-set scars.
If you’re not fond of or sure about manual or chemical exfoliation methods, laser treatments offer another potential solution. The technology is different, of course, but the desired outcome of laser resurfacing is the same as it is for chemical peels and microneedling/dermabrasion: removing the top layer of skin to stimulate new skin cell growth that reduces the appearance of scars. One advantage of laser treatments over other methods is that healing times tend to be quicker comparatively. That said, laser resurfacing is more effective for those with lighter skin tones, and those still struggling with acne should avoid this procedure, as it might further irritate the skin. Your dermatologist can go over the pros and cons with you.
Another way to eliminate the appearance of depressed acne scars is to add volume to your skin via dermal fillers. These injectable fillers may be composed of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and/or other fatty substances to plump targeted areas of your skin. Most of these fillers are temporary and require additional treatments after 6-18 months, but they can deliver quick and natural-looking results.
You might not break out in acne anymore, but if your skin still reminds you of your teenage struggle with acne, you can do something about it! At North Pacific Dermatology, we want to help you love your skin at every stage of your life. If you have questions about how dermatology services can help you clear up your acne scars, set up a consultation with our team today.