If you want to get rid of acne scars from the comfort of your own home, there are now several options available to you that may not have been around for consumers as little as 10 years ago. These options can help reduce the appearance of acne scars right from the comfort of your own home.
The Power of Silicone
By far the most effective home ingredient for use in combating scars of all types is silicone. While silicone itself is actually something we have known about for a long time, it was only recently discovered that this compound can reduce scarring.
In order to understand how silicone works, it is first important to understand what exactly scars are and how they are formed. Directly underneath the top layer of skin, a type of connective tissue called collagen exists to give the skin its shape and support. These tiny but powerful fibers are arranged in a seemingly random fashion, giving the skin its smooth shape and providing support from forces in all directions.
When the collagen fibers are injured, the skin heals itself by arranging collagen fibers to bridge the injury site. These fibers orient themselves all in the same direction as they cross the wound (acne can “wound” the skin, leading to scars). In the simple graphic to the right, you can see that a cut on the skin (red), the collagen fibers all line up in the same direction as they cover the wound. This is different from healthy skin, where the collagen fibers are pointing in random directions.
These collagen fibers all arranged in the same direction do not re-align themselves once the wound has healed over. The result of these fibers all pointing in the same direction is a scar.
Silicone seems to encourage the collagen fibers in scar tissue to realign, flattening and smoothing the scar. Why exactly this happens is not fully understood, but we do know that this does actually occur. The end result is that both raised and pitted scars can flatten out over time when silicone is regularly applied. Discoloration can be significantly improved as well.
Gel and Cream vs Strips
There are two primary delivery methods for using silicone to combat acne scars: via strips and via gel. A strip is an adhesive bandage which contains a thin layer of silicone. You can cut the strip to the size of your scar and stick it on top of the scar just like a band-aid. This ensures that silicone is exposed to your scar 24 hours a day.
By far the best brand of strips is Mepiform. Mepiform is actually a medical-grade product, but since it does not require a prescription, you can order it through medical resellers who have set up third party stores on Amazon – click here to check out the page with the best price on these strips at Amazon. The Mepiform strips are far superior to the over the counter (OTC) brands of silicone strips you find at your local pharmacy. Buying them through a doctor’s office would cost a fortune, so the fact that you can order them on Amazon and use them from home will save you a lot of money.
Using strips is the most effective approach of silicone application, but it is not the cheapest or most convenient method. A lot of people do not want to wear the strips (which need to be worn 24 hours a day for best results) for their acne scars because it looks like you are wearing a band-aid on your face – not a very attractive option. Strips can also fall off if you use them on really active areas such as near the mouth or on the elbow, hip, or knee.
If strips are not going to be convenient enough for your acne scars, you can use a rub-in gel that contains silicone. I recommend Kelo-Cote, which can be found for the best price on Amazon.com. The user reviews on Amazon are great and a single tube is all you need to take care of multiple scars. It is more affordable and more convenient than strips. Gel is a very effective option too – it just takes a little longer to work – after all, the strips are on 24 hours a day while the gel can be wiped off when you touch or wash your face.
If you are still unsure about whether or not to use Mepiform strips or Kelo-Cote gel, consider the severity and location of your scarring. Strips are great for more serious scars from the result of injury or surgery. They are also great for acne scars on the body, particularly for back acne scars. No one will see the strips on your back and the strips tend to stick to place for a very long time when used on your back. Gel on the other hand is ideal for facial acne scars, minor scars, and areas like the knee where strips may not stick as well. Gel is also the more affordable option.
How and When to Apply Strips and Gels
Applying a gel is easy – clean the skin first, allow it to dry, rub in the gel, and allow the gel to dry before touching the area. Apply twice a day for best results.
When using the strips, be sure to use scissors to cut the strip to the shape of your scar. The strips are somewhat expensive, so you want to be sure to get a lot of uses out of this home acne treatment by only cutting off the bare minimum. Allow the strip to overlap the scar on all sides by about 1/2 an inch (~1.5 cm).
Leave the strip on 24 hours a day. You can pull it off to shower and it will keep its adhesiveness (if you use Mepiform). You can then trim off the edges of the strip that have become “gummy” and reapply the same strip. You can keep a single strip active for 1 week (or more) if you care for it in this manner.
More Options for Home Acne Scar Discoloration Remedies
While silicone gels and strips are the gold standard in home treatment for smoothing out skin that is pitted or raised from acne scars (as well as other scars), many people suffering from acne scars have discoloration that they would like to reduce. Silicone gels and strips will help reduce discoloration as well, but you may want to try some additional options if your scar is already flat.
One important thing about discoloration is unlike raised or pitted scars which never flatten out on their own, discoloration can fade (at least partially) over time. Exposure to the sun before the scarred site has fully healed can make discoloration worse and make it a permanent feature.
If you are looking to try some natural remedies for acne scars, consider Revitol. This product contains a powerful cocktail of natural ingredients thought to reduce the discoloration of scars.