If you see signs that your acne is leaving a scar on your skin, you don’t have to grin and bear it. There are lots of ways to heal your scars and keep new ones from forming.

Cortisone and Fade Creams
If your scar is red or swollen, use a cortisone cream to calm your skin. The cortisone is absorbed by skin cells and reduces inflammation. You can buy skin creams with cortisone without a prescription. Next, you’ll want to concentrate on lightening any dark areas left from the acne scar.

Hydroquinone, a popular skin lightener, has recently fallen out of favor and is now being omitted from many fading creams due to irritation and carcinogenic concern. But there are other ingredients in skin creams sold without a prescription that can help lighten your dark spots. Kojic acid (a natural skin lightener derived from mushroom extract), arbutin (also called bearberry extract), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are great alternative ingredients to look for in lightening creams. My favorite product is a lightening cream called Lytera, made by SkinMedica.

Dermapen and Filler Treatments
If your acne scars don’t fade away on their own, it may be time to consider booking an appointment with your medical aesthetician. In four sessions, Dermpen can even out the skin surface and increase the formation of new collagen. Collagen is a protein that’s a building block of the skin. The new collagen can help fill in acne scars.

Filler injections can help fill in the indentations left behind from deep acne scars. There are both temporary fillers (which need to be repeated every 4 to 6 months) as well as more permanent fillers (Bellafill). These fillers work best with the wide “boxcar” acne scars.

Surgical Treatments:

If you have the “ice pick” kind of scars which are very thin, but very deep, they respond well to surgical treatment. Specifically, after using numbing medicines, the scar is surgically excised and precisely sutured back together to give a very fine scar instead of the deep acne scar.

For people with lighter skin types and who don’t have any active acne, dermabrasion can be used to help even out the scarring as well, although this treatment does have some downtime.

The main key to seeing acne scarring fade is patience. A few weeks after you break out and scar, new blood vessels move into the injured area to give nourishment to the skin, which is why most early scars look pink. Months later, collagen starts to form, filling in the injured section of the skin.

Before heading outdoors, put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen like SkinMedicas SUPERSCREEN Total Defense and Repair, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both ultraviolet A (long-wave) and ultraviolet B (shortwave) rays, and Total Defense and Repair actually defends against infrared rays too(think microwaves).

Limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.