Do glycolic acid and isotretinoin help treat acne scars?

May 24, 2021
Acne Scars

Do glycolic acid and isotretinoin help treat acne scars?

Acne on the skin can take the form of small bumps or oozing pimples depending upon the nature of the occurrence. While some individuals have acne-prone skin, others can get acne due to various external and internal factors. Usually, skincare specialists recommend 2 major ingredients for the treatment of acne scars – Glycolic Acid and Isotretinoin. These can be available as standalone skincare products or recommended to you by your dermatologist in the form of pills or ointments.

In this article, we will understand how acne scars are formed and how Glycolic Acid and Isotretinoin can help with their individual properties. So let’s move on to the next segment to know more.

What causes acne on the skin?

Acne Scars Causes and Treatment

The reasons for acne and scars on the skin can vary from person to person. Ideally, these are the major reasons behind acne scars for most skin types:

  • Genetic Disposition: If you are born with oily or acne-prone skin, minor zits and bumps are common throughout all seasons. Medication can help bring it under control, however it is best to let the skin heal naturally.
  • Dryness/Dehydration: Excessive dryness can cause the sebum glands in the skin to produce more oil. This can cause acne on the skin. Similarly, if the skin lacks water, it can get dehydrated and produce acne that leaves scars after the healing period.
  • Allergies to new skincare ingredients: With so many rising brands in the market, it is natural to want to try new products. However, not all ingredients suit all skin types. Your skin might react and break out leaving lasting acne and scars.
  • Picking on acne: You need to let acne fade on its own in order to let your skin heal. Often while the acne becomes hard enough, you might want to itch or pick on it. Doing so can cause marks or scars.

Having understood the root causes of acne, let’s understand how isotretinoin and glycolic acid for skin can help you heal acne scars.

Glycolic Acid for Acne

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid helps in acne scar treatment on the skin. It is generally available as a topical cream, which causes chemoexfoliation of the skin. It is available in different strengths like 6 % ,10 % ,12 % in cream or lotion base form .


Some of the most common glycolic acid benefits are:

  • It can help exfoliate the skin and control blemishes. Since it is an AHA or alpha hydroxy acid, you need to do a patch test before trying it on active or faded acne and scars.
  • Glycolic acid peel can reduce your acne pore size and its consistent use can remove cystic lesions from your skin.
  • Apart from removing acne scars, it also helps reduce sebum secretion on the skin and makes it smooth and naturally moisturized. 

The most popular glycolic acid product in the market is the glycolic acid toner. It is also available in the form of serums and creams.

As per the experts, glycolic acid for acne scars is your best bet as glycolic acid cream can give textural improvements to the skin & may help to reduce the size of pores up to certain extent.

But if you have deep scars like ice pick scars, rolling scars, box scars, then only application of glycolic acid cream will not give the best outcome. You may have to undergo a laser treatment like a fractional co2 laser, Microneedle rf, Erbium glass laser, Dermapen, Surgical excision, Subcision, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) depending upon your scar type & your level of expectations. Once you consult a board-certified dermatologist, or doctor, they can guide you through your treatment plan as per your skin requirement.

Isotretinoin for Acne?

Isotretinoin for Acne

Isotretinoin for Acne 

Isotretinoin is an oral medicine which is prescribed by a dermatologist in controlling active acne lesions. It is an oral medicine that is prescribed to have good control on new acne lesions by controlling the activity of sebaceous glands. This medicine has to be taken under the supervision of an expert dermatologist

It is important to take caution while consuming isotretinoin for acne scars since not all patients are good candidates for this dermatologically-approved pill. There are various isotretinoin side effects that you must consider. 

Some common side effects include experiencing – photosensitivity, dryness, irritation, and redness on the skin. Patients with abnormal LFT levels can not take isotretinoin. It is strictly contraindicated in pregnancy. Again not every patient with Acne will need oral isotretinoin. Due to this, it is always better to consult your doctor to know whether you really need isotretinoin or your problem can be improved without oral isotretinoin & other topical medicine.

If taken in combination with other treatment modalities, it helps to counter severe acne including cystic acne or nodules. It might also help to treat some types of skin cancers.

For more details on an effective acne scar regimen, consult with your dermatologist for a treatment plant. 

Book your appointment with a Clearkin expert today!

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