Even if you haven’t had a breakout in years, deep-set pockmarks and dark acne scars can make you feel less comfortable and confident. Thankfully, there are a few options that can help rejuvenate your skin.
We reached out to Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, president of Modern Dermatology and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, for advice on three of the most effective treatments for pockmarks: chemical peels, microneedling, and over-the-counter creams or gels.
At-home chemical peels like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($74, Amazon) with ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or other gentle exfoliants can help with both pockmarks and acne scars. If you've tried these but haven’t seen the results you want, you might want to ask your dermatologist about medium or deep chemical peels.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), these peels use stronger exfoliants like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin and remove damaged cells. This allows new, smoother skin to grow in its place. That new skin can be very sensitive, so Dr. Robinson recommends doing a few peels spread out in over time. Of course, you’ll have to talk with your own doctor about what is the best level for you.
Microneedling, or derma rolling, is another option that’s become more popular in recent years. You can find at-home kits, like the DermaShine Derma Roller 6-Piece Set ($16.98, Amazon), or head to a trusted spa that specializes in the procedure. The process involves rolling tiny needles (usually between 0.25 millimeter and 0.5 millimeter in length) across your skin. "The body responds to the injury by creating new collagen," Robinson explains. That collagen can help fill in and improve the appearance of pockmarks.
Not a fan of needles? You might want to get your hands on Province Apothecary's Dual-Action Jade Roller ($44, Amazon). A member of the Woman’s World editorial team tested the studded roller herself and saw improvement with scars she’d had since her teenage years. (Click here for her full review!)
Creams or Gels
If you’re looking to get rid of pockmarks without poking your face or peeling off skin, Robinson says retinol creams can help — but retinoid gel is even better. Differin gel is currently the only over-the-counter option, but should be available at most drugstores ($15.49, CVS). On top of being less intense, it also seems like the cheapest option. It will still make your skin more sensitive for awhile, especially to the sun's rays, so it's best to apply it at night when you won't be outdoors.
All three of these treatments are great ways to get rid of lingering pockmarks and scars, it's just about finding what works best for you. Everyone's skin is different, so be sure to check with your doctor before diving into any of these methods.
Hopefully we can all enjoy having the healthy, clear faces we deserve!
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