Got acne scars? Skin expert explains what helps and what risks making them worse

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Acne scars can often be even more upsetting than acne itself, and are notoriously hard to shift. Fortunately, there are increasingly sophisticated ways to soften them. Not always cheap, these treatments can nonetheless make a life-changing difference.

For long-term solutions and a quicker, more noticeable turnaround, your best bet is a trip to a qualified dermatologist or a clinic that offers various scar treatment options.

Many medical clinics are open during lockdown, but it’s of course wise to check. There are many types of scar, so a choice of procedures makes it far more likely you’ll get one that’s right for you for you.

“Raised ‘keloid’ and ‘hypertropic’ scars are particularly tricky; the wrong treatment could make them worse,” says clinical facialist Kate Kerr. “Have them assessed by a medical scar specialist first.”

Kerr refers her clients to the London Scar Clinic. For other types of scars, these are the most-recommended options:

Hollow, pitted scars

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Consultant dermatologists such as Dr Nick Lowe at London’s Cranley Clinic recommend Ellansé, an injectable gel that plumps out the indentation.

But it does more than that: 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.

Large scarred areas


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Professional microneedling is reliable and safe for smoothing scarred skin of any colour (as long as there’s no active acne or keloid scarring); a course of 4/5 is advised. Expect to pay from £1000 for larger areas.

The needling will boost collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers, plumping out lumpy patches. Look for clinics that feature a precision microneedling device such as Skinpen. I would advise against professional microneedling with a dermaroller as, in my opinion, scars need a more focused device.

I would also urge you to avoid attempting to tackle scars with at-home microneedling rollers, as this won’t work and can even make matters worse.

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Discoloured scars

Microskin is a spray-on, waterproof, breathable “second skin” that lasts two-seven days, after which you simply mist or sponge on more. It colour-corrects scars, burns, vitiligo and dark patches and comes in 35 shades, but you can also have a bespoke shade made.

A colour consultation, application and airbrush lesson costs from £325 here; the clinic also offers application lessons online at £125. Bottles with a three-month supply of Microskin solution are £89 here.

The at-home alternatives

Some of the latest scar creams can help improve the look of scars. Be patient, though, and use them consistently. And do wear sunscreen (whatever your skin colour) and avoid the sun.

A tan can make your complexion appear more even but UV rays stimulate pigment, causing spot scars to darken.



Murad Invisiscar Resurfacing Treatment, £35 here.

Gentle chemical exfoliants, pigment-busting vitamin C and niacinamide, and repairing tiger grass will smooth scar texture.

Science of Skin Rescue No. One, £18.99 here.

A breakthrough green tea extract to help skin heal itself – 40% scar reduction has been reported, says the company.

Nessa Scar Saviour, £25 here.

Turmeric, licorice, and marshmallow root calm irritation and tone down redness in superficial, fresh scars.

* Inge is the author of Great Skin: Secrets The Beauty Industry Don’t Tell You, Amazon, £9.67 here.

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