How I Fix My Acne Scars
At first, ridding my skin of spots was enough. I’d suffered for years with adult acne and was ecstatic to wake up and not have to worry about concealing my cysts. But years later, and now a beauty writer with a will to achieve ultimate skin health, I’m haunted by the ghost of acne past: scars – from pink patches of inflammation to bumpy keloids. So I enlisted the help of Cosmopolitan’s beauty director, Ingeborg van Lothringen, and some top dermatologists to sort out my skin – for good.
THE HIGH-END SOLUTION
For long-term solutions and a quicker, more noticeable turnaround, your best bet is a trip to a qualified derm. Find a clinic that offers various scar treatment options, as you’re more likely to get the right approach for your scar type.
If you have hollow, pitted scars, skin doctors recommend Ellansé (Clinicfinder.sinclairpharma.net), an injectable gel that plumps out the indentation. As the filler gets absorbed over time, it stimulates collagen to a point where the dent naturally fills out for up to three years. You’ll likely need two sessions at about £400 each.
But I’ve got large scarred areas! Professional Dermapen micro-needling is reliable for smoothing scarred skin of any colour (as long as there’s no active acne or keloid scarring); a course of six will cost from £900. Look for clinics that feature Dermapen specifically and not just micro-needling.
What about discoloured scars? Microskin(Transforminglives.co.uk/ micro skin) is a spray-on, waterproof, breathable “second skin” that lasts up to five days, after which you simply reapply. It colour-corrects scars, burns, and pigmentation and comes in 35 shades – but you can have a bespoke tone made. For £399, you’ll get a color consultation and a 50ml three- month supply (additional bottles, £89).
THE HIGH-STREET ALTERNATIVE
If your overdraft can’t quite stretch to all that, a scar-treatment cream (see right) can help. The key is patience and using them consistently.
What am I looking for? Powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and green tea extract to heal, brighten and reduce redness; niacinamide and plant butter to repair damage; gentle resurfacers like salicylic acid and glucosamine to smooth out the texture.
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen (whatever your skin colour) and avoid the sun. Yes, a tan can make your complexion appear smoother, but UV rays stimulate pigment, causing spot scars to darken. Stick to the fake stuff.
Please don’t tackle scars with at-home dermarollers: the needles do not penetrate deeply enough to stimulate fresh collagen production.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
“Raised keloid and hypertrophic scars are tricky; any collagen-boosting procedure such as microneedling could make them worse,” says clinical facialist Kate Kerr. “Have them assessed by a medical scar specialist first – I always refer to The London Scar Clinic.”