Are Acne Scars Reversible?
Acne scars can be one of the more difficult skin issues to address, but with a consistent, targeted regimen supported by professional treatments, excellent results can be achieved. From understanding the causes to identifying the best topical formulas and most effective professional treatments, let’s get started restoring your bright, even tone and healthy texture. Be sure to read to the end to see tailored product recommendations.
What causes acne scars?
Repeated inflammation caused by pimples, nodules, and cysts creates swelling in the pore, breaking down the follicular walls and damaging surrounding tissue. With chronic or more severe acne, the damage worsens as the follicle never has time to heal.
For some, genetics play a greater role than others, making them more susceptible to acne and scarring in general. But everyone is vulnerable to scarring as a result of trauma to the skin. Even milder acne can lead to scarring if it’s picked and poked.
The acne in your early teens can be the most severe and, therefore, the most damaging in terms of its impact on scarring. That’s why starting an active skincare regimen as early as twelve years old is so important. If you didn’t manage to work a multi-step daily skincare regimen into your schedule of adolescent angst, homework, and extracurricular activities, don’t worry. Your skin is in a constant state of regeneration, and we’re here to show you how to maximize that process for your healthiest skin.
What are the different types of acne scars?
The most common acne scars are known as box car or rolling scars, so named because of the shallow indentations that appear to “roll” across the skin’s surface. Equally common are ice pick scars, smaller in circumference and often deeper depressions in the skin like small pockets. Blame these depressions on the breakdown of tissue and collagen from chronic acne inflammation.
In addition to changes in texture, acne scarring can take the form of irregular pigmentation. These dark marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) are another effect of inflammation. In this case, the skin’s protective melanin response is triggered, causing pigment to rush toward the surface to defend the skin against injury. You may see this response anytime there is trauma to the skin, whether from waxing, picking at pimples, a cut, or even a bug bite.
What’s the best way to treat acne scars?
It depends on the type and severity, but your regimen for scar reduction should always include acids to resurface, retinoids to accelerate cell regeneration and collagen production, and peptides to heal tissue and reduce inflammation.
Vivant’s patented retinyl propionate therapies accelerate cell turnover by up to 50% to improve surface texture while stimulating collagen production to help plump and thicken the dermis for a smoother appearance.
The building blocks of protein, these amino acid chains are chemical messengers that initiate cellular repair. Additionally, peptides act as calming agents to reduce damaging inflammation.
Acids dissolve the cellular glue that binds dead cells to stimulate and speed cellular renewal. Exfoliating the skin brings fresh new cells to the surface, improving both texture and tone. Acids vary in strength and specific properties.
For resistant skin, glycolic acid is a quick worker with additional brightening and collagen-boosting benefits. However, sensitive skin can find it too aggressive.
Lactic acid works mainly on the surface of the skin and has humectant properties making it a good choice for more sensitive skin. It makes skin velvet-soft.
Mandelic acid—a gentle exfoliator, melanin inhibitor, and antibacterial acne fighter—is the ideal ingredient for fading the pigmentation triggered by acne inflammation. Its large molecular structure slows its absorption rate, translating to gentler activity, making it the ideal choice for skin too sensitive for glycolic acid.
Hero products to restore brightness, even tone and smooth texture.
Best for Physical Scars
Exfol-A: Retinyl propionate with glycolic, lactic, and kojic acids accelerates cell turnover and repair.
Clear Body Therapy: Lactic acid and patented retinyl propionate retexturize and soften.
Rejuv Rx: Peptide concentrate to calm redness and repair collagen.
Best for Dark Marks
Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser: Gentle antibacterial scrub for bright, clear, healthy skin. Can be used for face and body.
Daily Repair Pads: A resurfacing cocktail of acids—madelic, salicylic, and lactic—plus nouishing, brightening niacinamide and healing zinc peptides.
Mandelic Acid 8% Serum: Gentle resurfacing and cell-renewing formula for improved texture and even tone.
Professional treatments to accelerate results may include chemical peels and microneedling. Lasers or microdermabrasion may be a good fit for more severe physical scars but are not recommended for dark marks, as they can trigger another inflammatory response and worsen pigmentation.
A resurfacing peel to rapidly improve skin texture and reduce discoloration. For best results, a series is recommended.
Also known as collagen induction therapy, microneedling, especially when paired with a targeted serum, can help speed tissue repair to improve texture.