Battling breakouts is bad enough, but then come acne’s annoying after effects: scars, unevenness, and changes in pigmentation. While scarring typically results from cystic acne or lager blemishes, your zit-zapping approach also affects whether or not you’ll be left with evidence of skin problems past.
Popping zits will likely leave you marked. Picking or pinching tears skin, which can lead to scabbing, scarring or tiny “scoops” in skin’s surface. Bottom line: leave ‘em alone. Also, treat breakouts early. The sooner you attack acne with a spot treatment, the better. These products will help dry up excess oil, reduce inflammation, and lessen the risk of scarring.
Sticking to a strict skincare regimen, but still left with stubborn scars after zits clear? These five treatments can help you reclaim your all too personal real estate.
1. Drugstore Products
To even out redness or discoloration, opt for an over-the-counter scar-fading cream that contains kojic acid, arbutin, and vitamin C. These ingredients exfoliate skin to restore texture and tone. Try Ambi Fade Cream ($6, walgreens.com). If your skin’s oily, pick a gel, like Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($17, drugstore.com). Not seeing results? Ask your dermatologist about prescription products. They work similarly to these drugstore picks, but pack a stronger punch due to higher doses of active ingredients.
2. Laser Treatments
Laser treatments fix the same problems as creams and gels, but they hit scars and discoloration on a deeper level and increase skin cell turnover much faster. CO2 and Fraxel lasers get rid of the top layer of skin (think deep exfoliation), exposing a fresh, clear layer of skin below. Most scars will fade after one or two treatments. For best results, ask your doctor about the recommended post-treatment washing and moisturizing protocol.