What Is the Best Acne Treatment for Scars

Acne scars can remain long after the last pimple is popped. Whether you’re experiencing a few minor marks speckled across your face or deep pitting, you don’t have to suffer in silence with leftover marks and scars. There are specific treatments or acne products that can help minimize the appearance of facial scarring and unclog pores. If you’re unsure if you can use vitamin C with retinol or other potent ingredients to combat hyperpigmentation, our Skin Health Experts can help you build a skincare regimen tailored to your needs.

In this guide, we’ll explore five treatments that may reduce acne scars, the causes of scarring, and when it’s time to seek professional help from our Kate Somerville nurses and estheticians.

Treatments That May Reduce the Appearance of Acne Scars

The answer to the question of what is the best treatment for acne scars? Depends on the type and severity of scarring you experience and the acne-causing bacteria. To that end, here are five at-home acne spot treatment solutions that may help fight against leftover marks and discoloration and can help treat acne.

Salicylic acid – Salicylic acid is often used to treat acne blemishes. This powerful ingredient may also help reduce the appearance of scars on acne-prone skin from hormonal acne. It can help remove dead skin cells and buildup on the skin’s surface from oily skin and acne-causing bacteria, leaving behind smoother skin with more even pigmentation.

Retinoids – Prescription-level retinoids are a potent acne treatment. They may also offer benefits to those with scarring from mild acne or severe acne. Retinoids can help reduce redness and even skin tone, and they may also help make scars from inflammatory acne less visible over time. Retinol serums and creams are an over-the-counter option that may help regenerate your skin and reduce acne scarring.

Benzoyl peroxide – Benzoyl peroxide isn’t thought to directly affect the reduction of scarring from acne. Still, it can help keep acne from getting out of hand, especially for people with sensitive skin and excess oil.[1] Well-contained acne is less likely to leave behind painful scars.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a skin cell treatment that may help remove dead skin cells to keep your pores clean. They’re also an effective exfoliant for any skin type, which means they may help reduce the visibility of your scars when used regularly.

Lactic acid – This lesser-known topical acne treatment may also help reduce the appearance of scarring from acne. Lactic acid may help reduce hyperpigmentation and give your skin an even-toned look.

Suppose you’re using a spot treatment like our EradiKate(tm) Acne Treatment with sulfur or our EradiKate(tm) Acne Mark Fading Gel with salicylic acid. In that case, you may want to treat the rest of your face with a skin-strengthening and renewing product like DeliKate(tm) Recovery Cream. Expertly formulated with a peptide complex + ceramides, this lightweight cream helps relieve visible redness & calm irritation while working to restore the skin’s protective barrier.

What Causes Acne Scars

Not everyone who has acne will also experience acne scars. Instead, acne scar and acne breakout risks increase in specific individuals, such as those who:

Have inflammatory or cystic acne

Pick, squeeze, pop, or otherwise interfere with blemishes

Have a relative who has acne scars

Had hormonal acne when they were very young

Don’t correctly treat their acne

Any of these factors can cause lasting scars, even once blemishes fade. That’s because acne scars are caused by defects that penetrate deep into the skin, which can damage the skin and its underlying tissue.

Types of Acne Scars and How They Form

Acne scars occur when your skin cell tissue sustains damage and becomes inflamed. In response to the irritation, your body attempts to repair the blemish with collagen. However, sometimes the body produces too much or too little collagen, resulting in raised, hypertrophic, or discolored scarring.

When this occurs, several different types of acne scars can arise:

Dark spots or hyperpigmentation – Acne is an inflammatory condition that can cause hyperpigmentation in areas where breakouts occur. Unfortunately, this discoloration can remain once the acne heals.

Atrophic scars – If your skin didn’t have enough collagen as your acne healed, you might be left with atrophic scars. These scars appear as small or large depressions in the skin. Some can resemble the pits left behind from chickenpox, while others are smaller and spread out across the skin.

Hypertrophic scars – In other cases, your body produces too much collagen while your acne heals. The excess collagen collects under the skin, forming a raised bump.

When Is it Time to Seek Professional Help for Acne Scars

Before you try any at-home treatments for acne scars, we recommend seeking the advice of a dermatologist. Even trending skincare advice on what is slugging is not a universal solution. Our Skin Health Experts can recommend the best approach for your skin condition and needs.

That being said, if at-home treatments aren’t practical, you can explore several additional options to help reduce the appearance of acne scars. A board-certified dermatologist can offer other treatments that are performed in their office. Some of these may include:

Chemical peels using a powerful combination of active ingredients

Dermabrasion to exfoliate the skin

Laser treatments

Fillers to smooth scars

Injections or micro-needling


Discovering the proper treatment or combining treatments to reduce acne scarring may take some time. So be patient and practice persistence.

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