Is it possible to heal acne scars

Is Acne Curable?

Why Can't Acne Be Cured?

When speaking of "cure" for common acne (acne vulgaris), it is important to distinguish between healing of symptoms and complete healing of the disease. Even if symptoms such as blackheads and pimples heal on their own or can be reduced with the right (dermatological) treatment, the physical conditions for a new breakout still exist.

Experts believe that acne is hereditary. So there can be a physical predisposition to acne, in which hormonal fluctuations (androgen excess) but also external factors (e.g. humidity, cigarettes, improper diet) can repeatedly lead to an outbreak of symptoms. An example: acne during puberty heals on its own in the majority of cases at some point. In adults in particular, acne symptoms in the form of adult acne (acne tarda) or hormonal acne often occur again as a result of triggers such as pregnancy or the discontinuation of the birth control pill.

Can acne inversa be cured?

Unfortunately, acne inversa (hidradenitis suppurativa) is also not completely curable. Often only surgical interventions help to counteract the symptoms. How the disease differs from acne vulgaris and how it is treated can be found in our overview of acne inversa.

Treatment: How can I counteract acne?

Although acne cannot be completely cured, there are treatments that can help limit the disease to a stage that is very close to being cured. We advise you to approach the treatment with a holistic approach. In addition to dermatological acne therapy with clinically tested active ingredients, the right skin care, various aspects of your lifestyle and a diet adapted to the acne also play an important role.

Treat acne with proper cleansing and care

Cleansing with water alone is not enough to counteract acne. To reduce symptoms such as blackheads and pimples, the care products should contain comedolytic (blackhead dissolving) agents such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (BPO). Your dermatologist can help you with the exact selection of active ingredients and the right dosage. In addition, you should make sure that all of the funds you use meet the following criteria: 

  • Dermatologically tested ingredients (e.g. bisabolol from chamomile, niancinamide, zinc, aloe vera)
  • Low pH (pH 5 - 5.5)
  • Avoidance of fragrances / perfumes (can trigger contact allergies)
  • No comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, Oleth-3, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate)
  • No skin-damaging alcohols (e.g. ethyl alcohol, propanol, alcohol denat.)

So that you do not “over-care” your skin in the end and dry it out, you should only wash it twice a day and then carefully dab it off. Make sure to use a fresh towel when you do this to keep extra bacteria out. Even with supplemental moisturizers, it is important that they are non-greasy and free of comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients.

Important: Over-the-counter cleaning and care products make an important contribution to the treatment, but they are not as effective as prescription acne medication and should therefore not be understood as an alternative to dermatological treatment. Rather, they are an important addition.

Dermatological acne therapy with creams or tablets

Even if there are various alternative treatment approaches (e.g. light therapy), treatment with medication in the form of creams and gels has proven particularly effective in acne therapy. The reason: The method is very effective in almost all forms of acne and can be easily integrated into the everyday life of the patient. In addition, there is the advantage that a dermatologist can adapt the active ingredients individually to the patient's skin and the progress of treatment. The prescription active ingredients that are mainly used here include:

  • Benzoyl peroxide (BPO)
  • Azelaic acid
  • Antibiotics (e.g. clindamycin)
  • Retinoids (e.g. tretinoin, adapalene)

In the case of severe forms of acne, treatment with creams may not be sufficient to effectively counteract the symptoms. In these cases, antibiotic or isotretinoin tablets are also used. However, we advise you to try treatment with creams first, as tablet therapy can be associated with more severe side effects.

What is maintenance therapy?

Proper maintenance therapy can be a critical step in getting as close as possible to a cure for acne. After the symptoms have subsided, the dose of active ingredient is adjusted so that it can be used over a longer period of time without any problems and the symptoms can be contained in a sustainable manner.

Lifestyle and diet: which adjustments are useful?

While most acne has hormonal causes, there are also some non-hormonal factors that can cause or worsen the development of blackheads and pimples. In addition to sufficient exercise (if the blood circulation is stimulated, the oxygen supply to the skin is increased), it can therefore also be useful to give up smoking and check all cosmetic products for their fat content and comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients (e.g. paraffin oil, acetylated lanolin) to check.

Proper nutrition also plays an important role in acne disease. Studies have repeatedly shown that foods with a high glycemic index in particular have an impact on sebum production and thus also on the development of acne symptoms. Foods with a high GI primarily include short-chain carbohydrates, which cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. In order to adapt your diet to acne, you should avoid the following foods in addition to dairy products (especially semi-fat milk):

  • Malt sugar
  • glucose
  • Lemonades / sugared drinks
  • white rice
  • French fries
  • cornflakes
  • White bread