I am new to this forum. I have not purchased any of the products that this website offers, but I needed a community of people that were dealing with a similar struggle. And with all of my searches for acne/acne scar treatments, acne.org seemed to pop-up repeatedly and I thought I'd sign up. I'm sure my post isn't the first and I apologize if I didn't post it in the right spot. But anyway, I guess I will give a brief history of my acne struggle.
Basically, acne runs in my family but it seems like my brother and I have had it the worst. Unfortunately, I pick my acne because they cause me pain and I find relief from picking and it has become part of my grooming habit. Even when I have no acne on good days, I will still squeeze hard, crystallized oil buildup from my skin that I can just feel in my pores. And I personally feel like if I didn't even do that, that my acne would be worse off. I cleanse regularly, but oil builds up so fast that it crystallizes in my pores and cleanser can't get it out. So, bash me if you will, but I pick my acne and I know it has caused some scarring. However, my brother who is 2 years younger than me NEVER picks his acne and his scarring is just as bad as mine. Therefore I personally believe that picking acne doesn't necessarily cause every scar to form, nor prevents them from forming. If anything, I believe picking acne speeds up the healing process, preventing the acne from sitting under the skin, inflaming, and getting worse. Everyone has their own opinion though.
I've had acne since I started my period - since the age of 10. It was obviously mild at first but once I got into high school the acne became a regular occurrence and became more cystic. I am 24 years old now and the acne on my face is pretty much limited to my jawline and neck (no longer my forehead) and acne become 3-4 times worse around my menstrual cycle (which is normal I know). The acne on my shoulder and down the middle of my back is a different story. It has gotten better also over the years, and inflames around my menstrual cycle, but it has left me with some keloid scarring on my shoulders and rolling scars and hyperpigmentation down the center of my back.
Overall my acne had gotten better over the years. By better I mean, it's limited to certain parts of my face and really only shows up/gets worse around my menstrual cycle. So, it's a little more controlled now. However, like everyone else here I am left with years of scarring. And just like everyone else I have days where I don't think about it and days where I want to cry over it and don't want to go out in public.
I have seen a derm many times over the years (even having a cyst removed on my face). I have tried many pills and antibiotics. My only options left really are birth control and accutane - both of which I am not a fan of. I fear for the side effects of both and in the long-run I feel like I would rather deal with that I have than deal with the side effects of either of those options.
Anyway, I wanted to just give a brief background history of myself before getting to my question. I'm realizing how hard this is to describe to people since I've never officially stated this on any website or to anyone (except for my family and people really close to me). So basically I have every type of scar. But at this point I'm really only concerned with what people can see on a regular basis - and that is the boxcar scars and rolling scars on my face.
I have done copious amounts of research as well on the treatments for these types of scars, which are laser resurfacing, microderm, subscision, injections, etc. HOWEVER, these options are highly expensive and I am a poor college student, lol. Plus, I wanted to try over the counter options first if they might be available. Why not start with a simple option and work your way up, right?
So.. What types of OTC products have helped you with acne scarring, if at all? Does collagen work? Products containing silicone, or vitamin C, or vitamin A? I realize that surgical/more aggressive treatments would have greater results, but like I said I wanted to try something topical that might help, even if it improves my appearance by 2-5%. ANYTHING is better than nothing, right?
So if you feel like sharing your success stories with any OTC acne scarring treatments/creams/remedies, I would love to hear. Even if they improved your appearance/self-confidence by a fraction, that would mean a lot to me Thank you!
Also, please mention what type of scarring you have in addition to what OTC treatments you've tried and how well it worked. Thank you.