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Treating Acne Scars at Home

Posh Beckham
April 10, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 7 Comments

Dear Marta, I have acne scars that laser treatment failed to remove or fade. I am thinking about copper peptide solutions such as Skin Biology’s Super Cop2X and was also wondering about Collaxyl. What would you advise?

It wasn’t actually Posh Beckham writing in, but hey it’s comforting to know you’re in good company. Acne scars are double punishment — after distressing breakouts the skin can remain vexingly, stubbornly marked. So when I got this email from a reader, it prompted me to think about the various options for dealing with them. There are different types of acne scars with the most common being: darkish spots/hyperpigmentation, ice pick (deep pits or punctures), boxcar (resembling the scars left by chickenpox and rolling). These classifications were designed by a team of dermatologists in 2001 to help doctors determine the right treatment for different scars, from laser to punch excision.

But what can you do at home? The first thing that is required is patience. Acne scars will take time and persistence. There are a number of different approaches, but the basic regimen is exfoliate, repair and light therapy.

Let’s start with my correspondent’s copper peptide question. It is important to understand how copper peptides work. They will not fade scars per se. Basically, copper peptides need something to repair. So this is where exfoliation comes in. The idea is that the scar tissue needs to be exfoliated and then the traumatized skin is ready for the peptide (or other active, which I’ll come back to) does its repair work.

A typical exfoliator that dermatologists prescribe is tretinoin (a retinoid sold under the name of Retin-A). I personally wouldn’t go for this option as tretinoin has some issues. It is a toxin and its absorption is systemic. For this reason it should not be used by pregnant women. At least one study concluded that, despite its ability to stimulate skin repair, tretinoin was cytotoxic. There are some more benign alternatives — although they will take longer to work.

Skin Biology, which makes the aforementioned Super Cop 2x, recommends a strong glycolic peel (called Lacsal) before using the peptides. Glycolic is certainly gentler than retinoids, but Lacsal may not be for the sensitive of skin as it may dry and irritate, plus it may result in uneven tone for darker skins. A gentler alternative would be Lumixyl’s Glycopeel 20, which has glycolic, malic and lactic acids.

Using a glycolic cream with LED light could be especially helpful for acne scars that have left hyperpigmentation. In the last year or so I have become more convinced by using LED light. And I would really recommend alternating between blue and green lights (blue for acne, green for hyperpigmentation). Research backs up blue light helping to clear up acne and I know people who have benefited from using green and/or red LED light to improve acne damaged skin.

Baby Quasar has a blue light version. However, Sirius Aurora has green, red and blue lights. The red light is a great at keeping the skin looking plump and overall the Sirius is a great investment. In addition, or alternatively, you can find a salon for monthly or so LED treatments.

Then I would recommend regular use of a good skin repair cream. I would take a look at ReLuma as this was originally developed for scar repair.

Incidentally, I also checked out Collaxyl as my correspondent mentioned it. Hexapeptide-9 is often marketed under the name Collaxyl and is widely touted as a repairer of acne scars. A relatively new peptide, hexapeptide-9 is supposed to boost collagen synthesis, although I couldn’t find any studies that back this up.

If anyone has tips for dealing with acne scars at home, or has a good dermatologist solution to report, we’d love to hear from you.

  • December 12, 2014

    by Og_bonne

    Danny pls carry on with the explanation. I understand

  • April 25, 2013

    by eliB

    I have a concern about hyperpigmentaion left after acne. Its not a scar, but a red spot, that need perhaps lighting. I don't want to use hydroquinone. I have a light skin, with yellow undertone, I am Caucasian. I also have a Ultra Renew Device, i use it at home, but I guess not often enough..? I use it with Mad Hippie Vit C serum. Can anyone please recommend me something that i can apply to the spot and bleach it,? DDF used to have a holistic skin lightener, but looks like they don't make it anymore .
    thank you in advance.

  • July 6, 2012

    by Justin

    Same as @Thia, I would very much like for you to elaborate Danny as what exfoliant you used and what regular routine you carried out. If possible, could you also tell us your e-mail as I have many more questions I would like to ask and inquire about. I'm also a male and have some problems with scarring that are visible ones which are more like dark spots and not acne or any other scars that are rough on the surface of the skin. I would really like to ask you some questions and I hope to speak to you soon.

    Thanks

  • April 11, 2012

    by Terri Lindow

    If anyone wants a real home treatment machine, cell phone size, and use the same company of amazing cleansing and repair skin care products, contact me at
    useloveshare.com/wowfactor and I will help you with visible results and a future of "saved skin!" Products are inexpensive and 10 x's the quality! Pharmaceautical grade, safe and natural and work at cellular level! Again, Contact me at my email or go to www.useloveshare.com/wowfactor and place your order. Contact me for best suggestions.
    Happy to help! Stop killing your skin...repair scars and come thru with your best skin ever!
    Here to help,
    Terri Lindow

  • April 11, 2012

    by Thia

    Danny-can you elaborate on your comments please? What type of exfoliant did you use, for example.

    I'm currently trying to remove the scars from a crazy infection I had take over my cheek in the last 2 yrs. Right now I'm trying argon oil. Apparently it's good on wrinkles as well as scars.

    Any product takes time. As quick as the scars can happen, it really does take years to 'remove'. Having said that, I've read of people using TCA peels that have worked magic (for them). The danger of doing a peel on acne prone skin is it can cause a return of acne. Use with caution.

    I'd love to hear about anyone's success story! Cheers!

  • April 11, 2012

    by Danny

    I feel for you as I had to remove my own scarring .if you imagine the skin being like pages of a book it's easier . Let's say the top page being the skins surface and the bottom page the very lower area of the skin . A scar is a mark that may go in the book sense lol half way down the pages . This means you have layers and layers of skin cells that form the shape of the scar . The only way to remove the scar is to gradually peel away layer by layer each page ( layer of skin ) . Each time you peel away one layer that holds the pit the skin products new skin cells deep underneath the skin layers . As time goes on and very slowly you remove those top pages the scar gets shallower and shallower and the under scar area gets thicker abd thicker until in my case after a few years I had literally rubbed away the scar and I finally reached the layer of skin (page ) that was free from scarring :) I will help you :) you need a great exfoliant that helps you speed up this renewal process . You also need great products to heal the skin and nourish the skin as you are working on it to a deep level. If you don't understand what I mean let me know and I will try and simplify it as much as possible . If you get the hang of what I'm saying I will carry on :) hugs x Danny

  • April 10, 2012

    by Marta

    I just found a helpful comment from Jody on a Reluma review:

    She says: "I used Reluma serum 2x per day for 6 weeks and after the 5th week I noticed the hyperpigmentation in the area of my acne scarring around the corners of my jaw bones were lightening!!! I have tried hydroquinone for these areas in which I had a nasty allergic red bumpy reaction to (used Tri-luma gel). I was shocked and delighted at this unexpected change to my face at age 40. My recommendation, KEEP USING RELUMA on these areas of acne scarring concern!"

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