12 products approved by the dermis to treat acne scars

Summer calls for days at the beach, camping trips, picnic brunches, and other types of outdoor fun. With the sunnier days ahead, it’s important to make sure your skin is ready for some fun, too. However, it can be difficult if you have acne or acne scars.

But what exactly are acne scars and how do you fight them? Shop TODAY spoke with Certified Dermatologist Dr. Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae to find out more.

What causes acne scars?

According to Dr. Bae, acne scars occur when there is an increase in inflammation and bacteria on your skin and the tissues below, with atypical formation of keratin on the outermost layers of your skin ( abnormal keratinization) and overproduction of a natural, oily substance called sebum that can clog your pores. The three most common types of acne scars include ice pick (narrow crater-shaped indentions), rolling (fasteners, wave-shaped depressions), and boxcar (sharp, well-defined depressions).

Some others factors may increase your risk of acne scarring, including a family history of acne scars and cysts or nodules or delay medical treatment for severe acne. Picking or squeezing your pimples during rashes could also contribute to long-term scarring.

Dr Bae also mentioned that patients often confuse acne scars with dyspigmentation. Dyspigmentation is the pigmentation associated with previous acne and can look like red, pink, or brown spots on your skin. “Brown dyspigmentation is technically not scarring,” says Dr. Bae, “so it’s important to make this distinction for clear communication about treatment.”

What ingredients are good for acne scars?

Dr. Bae recommends a professional evaluation to determine your best treatment options. However, she said that there are products on the market that can help control your acne scars. “Topical treatments like adapalene can help reshape collagen to improve the appearance of acne scars,” says Bae.

Using adequate sun protection, which is known to impact our collagen, is also extremely important in fighting acne scars. You don’t need to avoid the sun all summer long, but you should wear sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher when you go outdoors. Also, be aware of how much time you spend in the sun if you are not covering your acne-prone skin in some way.

Recommended creams for acne scars

Differin gel

Differin is one of Dr. Bae’s top recommendations because it contains adapalene, a recommended retinoid that increases cell turnover. This gel helps to heal and prevent rashes, but also reduces redness and inflammation caused by acne.

Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment

Antioxidants and salicylic acid work together to target post-acne scars, patchy pigmentation, and rashes in this resurfacing treatment. This product is known to visibly reduce the appearance, depth, texture and color of acne scars.

Ambi Skincare Fade Cream

This cream works to improve the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. It is oil free and contains vitamin E, which helps to heal your skin gently.

Patented Pro-SIL Silicone Scar Treatment Stick

Biodermis Treatment Stick has been clinically proven to reduce scarring and comes in the form of a convenient sliding stick. This treatment can be used for acne scars in addition to surgery, scars from cuts and burns. Definitely a good product to keep on hand all year round!

Recommended cleansers for acne scars

Glytone gentle cleansing gel

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Glycolic Acid work together in Glytone’s cleanser to help peel off old, dead skin so new, better pigmented skin cells grow. It also removes makeup!

PanOxyl Foaming Acne Cleanser

When used in your daily routine, this acne facial cleanser helps remove existing breakouts and prevents new blemishes from forming. In addition, its pH is balanced with three humectants and four emollients to prevent dryness.

Derma-E Brightening Cleanser with Vitamin C

This brightening cleanser is ideal for those suffering from dispersion and discoloration. Don’t feel guilty about purchasing this product as it is also 100% vegan and free from parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and GMOs.

Differin gentle cleanser

This Differin cleanser contains 0.1% adapelene, the ingredient recommended by Dr. Bae to treat acne scars. It is gentle enough for daily use and will not cause irritation or dryness.

Recommended sunscreens for acne scars

Elta® UV Clear Facial Sunscreen

This Elta® sunscreen has it all: high SPF to protect against UVA and UVB rays, sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and lactic acid to cleanse pores and reduce shine. It is highly recommended for sensitive and acne prone skin.

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

This brush-on mineral sunscreen helps prevent inflammation and irritation, plus it’s super light and easy to apply. The best part? It can be worn under or over your makeup.

Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen Lotion

Aveeno Antioxidant Oatmeal Sunscreen is affordable and non-comedogenic, it won’t clog your pores or leave your skin dry. It protects and hydrates your skin at the same time.

Differin Oil Absorbent Moisturizer with Sunscreen

Yet another product from Differin that contains adapelene, this moisturizing sunscreen was developed for people with oily skin. Its lightweight coverage won’t clog your pores or leave you feeling greasy.

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