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Skin School  >   Acne Basics

Bringing Sexy Back: Here's How to Get Rid of Back Acne Scars

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The weather is starting to get a little warmer, and all you want to do is bring sexy back with back-baring tops. But, those pesky back acne scars are putting a damper on your style and self-confidence. We feel you, and we want to help. Below, learn about the different ways you can get rid of back acne scars. Good riddance!

What is back acne and what causes scarring

Back acne, says Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Philadelphia, is usually a combination of three types of acne: comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads), pustules (aka pimples), and deep cystic acne (i.e., red, painful breakouts underneath your skin). Not only is back acne a concoction of different skin struggles, but it's also more likely to result in scarring compared to facial acne. It's not fair. We know. 

So what causes the back acne scars to form? "When there is inflammation in the skin, the underlying tissue is damaged," Dr. Allawh says. "As a result, our body tries to repair the damage in the skin by either over or under-producing collagen." In other words, our body means well by trying to correct the issue, but sometimes it ends up doing more harm than good. 

"Overproduction of collagen may result in raised acne scars, also known as hypertrophic scars," Dr. Allawh says. "In contrast, the under-production of collagen may lead to depressed or pitted scars. These are referred to as either ice pick scars, rolled scars, or box-car depending on the appearance."

How to get rid of back acne scars

Just like no two pimples are exactly the same, no two back acne scars are either so treating them is not a one size fits all approach, Dr. Allawh says. Sometimes you may need to try a few different things to find the best back acne scar treatment. Below, check out five treatment options you can try.

 Laser resurfacing graphic

1. In-office procedures.

If you've got depressed or indented acne scarring on your hands (er, back), Dr. Allawh recommends visiting your dermatologist for a procedure such as micro-needling, resurfacing laser treatment, chemical peel, or filler. "Microneedling and resurfacing laser treatments are helpful to promote collagen synthesis and typically recommended every six weeks," she says. “For deeper scars, treatment with fillers may also be a helpful technique to effectively plump depressed scars. Filler results typically last six to nine months. Chemical peels may be helpful for more of the superficial acne scars."


2. Slather on the retinol.

"Retinol helps promote and hasten skin turnover, thus evening out skin tone, dyspigmentation, and non-invasively smooth fine lines and wrinkles over time," Dr. Allawh says. The issue with retinol is that it can sometimes cause irritation, peeling, drying, and burning. 


  • Pro tip #1: Dr. Allawh recommends shortening the time you have the retinol on your skin to avoid adverse reactions. For example, you can apply it at dinner time and wash it off at bedtime. 

  • Pro Tip #2: Dr. Allawh also suggests mixing retinol with nighttime non-comedogenic moisturizer to make it easier on your skin. Or, you can start slowly by using it only once or twice a week and increasing from there.  


3. Vitamin C, baby. To help lighten and brighten the acne scars, Dr. Allawh recommends using products with vitamin C. "Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is quintessential in one's skincare regimen as it prevents sun damage, increases collagen production, brightens the skin and most importantly, improves skin tone," she says.

Hands holding Micropoint for Dark Spots treatment

4. Micropoint for Dark Spots. 

Speaking of vitamin C, Hero's new Micropoint for Dark Spots features the powerhouse ingredient to help improve the look of acne scars and give your skin the enviable glowy look it deserves. How does it work you ask? Great question. The post-blemish patch has 173 hyaluronic microneedles (that's three times more than other brands, no big deal). Every point is loaded with skin-brightening ingredients, including niacinamide (for smoothing), tranexamic acid (for evening out skin tone), and sodium hyaluronate (for mega hydration).


5. Get your acid on. 

Don't let skincare acids scare you. They're incredibly good for your skin and can be helpful when combatting back acne scars. "Topical hyaluronic acid has been shown to enhance the protective skin barrier and hydrate the skin," Dr. Allawh says. She adds that small studies have shown that applying hyaluronic topically after a resurfacing laser treatment enhances overall results and provides a faster recovery.


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