How to Treat Acne Scars
Posted By: Lindsay Schroeder Posted In: Acne Scars Date Posted: May 16th, 2012 Comments: 40

You would think that having acne breakouts and pimples are the worst part about not having clear skin. And when the breakout clears up or that giant pimple finally goes away, you should be really happy and rejoicing right? But many times, you are left with scarring! And it doesn’t seem to want to go away! It can be there for months…or even longer. But do not fret, there are things you can do to minimize scarring or help it to disappear more quickly.

Scarring is caused by when an acne lesion has healed and redness or hyper-pigmentation is visible on the skin. This is the healing process when skin is “remodeling” which can take up to a year to clear as long as no other acne forms over the healed lesion. There are treatments to utilize if you would like to speed this healing process up!


This is the process of removing the top layer of skin with a quick moving rotating brush. Scars at the surface can possibly be completely removed and deep lesion acne scars will appear less visible.

Topical Treatments:

Tretinoin-related products (like Retin-A) will help speed up the healing process, minimizing scarring. These products are also known to prevent new breakouts from occurring as well.

Laser Treatments:

Laser treatments have been quite effective in reducing and removing acne scars. There are two different options for laser treatments. One is where a heated laser “destroys” the surface of the skin and heats the skin underneath. The wound heals quickly, allowing new skin to resurface, scar-free. The other option is a less intense laser that is pulse light sources that do not destroy the top layer of skin but still heat the skin underneath and allows new skin to resurface more quickly. This less intense laser treatment usually requires a few treatments to be effective.

Tissue Fillers:

Injecting fat fillers or collagen into the acne scars under the skin can minimize the appearance of scarring by stretching out the skin. Unfortunately, this is a procedure that is not permanent and needs to be repeated to maintain the same look.


For daily or weekly use, gently exfoliate your skin with an exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin and allow for the regrowth and renewal of new skin. Over time, scarring will fade and this is a very inexpensive treatment for reducing scarring compared to the treatments above.

About the Author

Lindsay Schroeder


Lindsay Schroeder, professional makeup artist and skincare guru, is the writer of all the content on Acne Skin Site. She has personally dealt with acne all throughout her 20’s and knows firsthand what anyone suffering with acne is going through. She has worked with thousands of clients that suffer with acne and has been able to encourage and educate them on how to get their skin on the road to recovery.

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Let the discussion begin!

  • Anne - May 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Hi! thanks for posting these tips. Really helpful, indeed. I just have a few questions, so, among those 5, i chose to just self medicate, or to just use exfoliating process to remove my acne scars. But, I don’t know which product to use, and what products to use. like, i’m in Seoul now, and i’m totally new here and i still have no idea on the good exfoliating products here. Will you help me?

    • Niki - June 14, 2012 at 2:12 am - Reply

      A great natural way I have found to exfoliate is mixing; cinnamon, honey and nutmeg together. Apply it to your face leave it on for 15 min. (i do it longer) and then wash it off using the mask as your exfoliator. I promise your skin will feel amazing, and the best part is that honey and cinnamon kill germs on your face and help heal acne. Hope this helps. 🙂

  • shivam - May 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    quite informative…..i am gonna try and ‘ll come back with the feedback……

  • jERICK - May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Hi, im wondering what is the best way get rid of acne scar in my face and i also found out about the product Proactiv would this help? to remove all the scar

    thank you

  • Jaemar - June 1, 2012 at 2:43 am - Reply

    Very helpful tips.
    I have cystic acne which left my back and chest full of scars and spots.
    Would exfoliating me effective on this large surface area? And if so, what products would you recommend?

  • brian - June 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    What product do u recomend for acne marks as well as exfoliater?

  • H - June 11, 2012 at 12:17 am - Reply

    I put lemon on a cotton pad and apply it directly to my face it may sting at first but that way you know its working. This basically helps naturally lighten your skin tone and discolorations the natural way. I don’t wash mine off right away and I usually sleep with it on my face overnight then rinse the next day. You may do it once a day or keep adding it to your face through out the day if your at home and don’t plan on going anywhere. Also I have been trying to use Cocoa Butter on my face as a night cream. It is a bit thick but it also works overnight to lighten my scars and marks or discoloration overtime. Its very gradual but I noticed a difference and I am happy with the progress and results. Hope this helps others.

    • Stephanie - October 4, 2012 at 12:50 am - Reply

      I was wondering how much lemon do you put one whole lemon? I have scars on my face but I’m afraid putting too much lemon may change my skin color. My skin is medium fair in don’t tan or anything I try to stay away from the sun

  • R - June 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    For self medication, I would recommend Clinique’s even tone corrector as well as their makeup because their makeup is actually even tone as well! It’s $50 a pop but it’s def worth every penny when you see your skin actually begins to clear!

  • Daryll - June 18, 2012 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Hey. Is derma roller is tissue fillers your talking about? Is that effective or good to our skin? Because im planning to take that sessions. Because i have a lot of acne scars. Any suggestion?

  • Jennifer - June 18, 2012 at 8:11 am - Reply

    I get cystic acne on my face and they seem to cluster on my cheeks 2-4 at a time and leave deep marks that literally make me depressed and lower my self esteem drastixly because i used to be known as “the pretty one” out of all my cousins and friends. Makeup doesn’t hide it anymore. And its getting me really depressed. Awaiting your response. Jen….

  • Bongiwe - June 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    My acne has left deep scars on my face. I see the suggestions u guys are making but here’s the problem wth my facial skin too…its OILY! Help! Acne+oily skin

    • Rasheedah - August 29, 2012 at 10:29 am - Reply

      How bad is your acne? I tend to get more blackheads then anything…. but my skin is as well very oily… you can try this …your going to need 3 wash cloths(face towels) – I know it sounds ridiculous but try taking a wash cloth run it under some hot water (as hot as you can take it) squeeze the excess water then apply the towel to your face, keep repeating this step for abt 5-8 minutes to let your pores open up, take a mild soap ( fragrance free is best -maybe Dove or Ivory) and rub it onto a clean damp wash cloth then wash your face for 60 sec rubbing in a circular motion. rinse your face with warm water then at the end splash your face with cold water. Take the 3rd towel and pat your face dry (do not rub- eyebrows and hairline is exceptional) take a cotton ball (tissue is fine or alcohol swabs) with alcohol rub it onto the areas where there is acne. Now for the last part go and buy some CLEAN & CLEAR: MORNING GLOW “OIL FREE” MOISTURIZER -its like $5 @Walmart, squirt 2-4 pumps in the middles of your palm then apply to your full face which ever way you please… and your done! btw the moisturizer has SPF in it so you have a added boost! p.s. one more thing Idk if you do but if you touch your face alot you may want to limit that, your fingers have excess oil on them which you cant see and its just adding to your face… carry little tissue or maybe cotton balls with you and whenever your face tends to look over shiny just rub your face w/ the cotton ball lightly in a circular motion.. Hope this helps 🙂

      • Christina - June 24, 2014 at 7:54 am - Reply

        Do not take this advice it is flat out bad! I know this is old but if I’m reading it today someone else could as well. Pores don’t open and very hot water is not good for your skin, alcohol is bad as well. I personally recommend finding a different moisturizer as well.

    • Martha - May 20, 2013 at 5:45 am - Reply

      I recommend using a cleanser with salicylic acid. This acts as a sort of anti-inflammatory to the skin and will help to dry it. Benzoyl peroxide spot treatments should also be used. Also find some good masks that use sulfur. Marc Badescu has a great, all natural acne line that you can find at many places including Ulta Beauty. It’s fairly inexpensive too (in comparison to Murad, Proactiv, etc.).

  • Heather - June 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Well for a daily exfoliateing scrub I use Equate Apricot scrub and I use twice a week Cure Natural Aqua Gel (it’s from Japan if I’m right so on eBay I found it for about $40 but it really gets rid of dead skin cells) and sometimes I use the Neutrogena Wave with just regular cleansing pads (not the best item for me but it’s not too bad). Hope some of this might help and if you want some DIY remedies I suggest on YouTube Bubzbeauty (:

  • hope - June 30, 2012 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Bongiwe judging by your name I take it that your from south africa I would advise you to use gentle magic products the soap,lotion,cream and serum,the serum kills top layer of the skin and you just have 2 peel it off every morning this helps reduce the appearance of marks and hopefully remove them at a later stage.and you can also apply lemon juice(squeeze it urself ) on ur scares to lighten the appearance of ur scares.

  • Kelly - June 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Like the comments above, I found a mask on Pintrest that can help to fade acne scars and clean/exfoliate your face. It’s honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon. It honestly made my scars from my past cystic acne on my cheeks look so much better after a week. Your face feels great afterwards also! Hope this helps 🙂

  • Atmaleo - July 2, 2012 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I have small deep acne scars under my nose area and it doesn’t look good. Please help..

  • kali - July 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    as self medication,I used Brevoxyl cream to cure my acnee caused by hormonal imbalance during period and lemon juice has been really helpful to keep my skin clean

  • fere - July 18, 2012 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Hello! Thank you for the post! I have a question, what’s the difference between Dermabrasion and MicroDermabrasion? Thank you!

    • Martha - May 20, 2013 at 5:40 am - Reply

      In response to fere:
      In this article, they mention dermabrasion, which is different from microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion deals with just the epidermis (outer layers of skin). The majority of people do well with this and don’t necessarily need dermabrasion. Dermabrasion is a procedure that can only be done by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon and deals with the dermis (inmost layer of skin). This is an extremely intense procedure that is often used for such severe scarring (typically grade 4 acne) or other facial conditions. The recover time is MUCH longer for dermabrasion than microdermabrasion. As an aesthetician, I would recommend microdermabrasion over dermabrasion. Plus you’ll find more professionals out there who do microdermabrasion, whether it be with crystals or diamond tip.

  • felicia joy - July 18, 2012 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Pls help I have acne scars and spots and its really being awful…pls help

  • Lucki - August 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks y’all. Very useful info. A wealth of information. I will have to try the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon mixture. I have just one question though, can one use lime instead of lemon?

    • Rasheedah - August 29, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

      I believe so, It has the same amount of acidity in it… I think its more so about the citric juice acidity than it is the actual fruit. Its just a guess but you can try.

  • hope - August 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Egg whit also helps reduce the appearance of scars I usually leave over night and wash it off in the morning

  • adeyinka - August 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Pls,am a Nigerian n I av all dis awful blackheads n acne-i wuldnt mind any advice given

  • Kele - September 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I’m using Gentle Magic right now and I’m very worried about its effect on my skin. I break out every few months and my pimples always leave terrible scars on my face. I decided to use Gentle Magic as per my friend’s suggestion and in less than 2 days (I’ve only been using it for 5 days) of use I got a terrible rash (red spots) on the left side of my face and the rest of my face looks like I have a heat rash. To top that off my skin is peeling… Is this normal? I’m only using the serum. I’m very worried. Are these side effects normal?

  • Kirsten - September 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Kele, u may wanna use glycerine soap, no fragrances or any of the harsh stuff for ur skin. The rash could be a reaction to the ingredients in the soap and the peeling is a result of the rash. That would be my suggestion. Hope it helps 🙂

  • Adi - September 25, 2012 at 4:30 am - Reply

    I have heard about blue light theraphy for acne is it good?

  • Heidi - October 3, 2012 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    I have dark spots on my forehead due to acne scars, what can I do to get rid of them?!? Asking for a friend!

  • hope - October 4, 2012 at 6:42 am - Reply

    kele.. peeling off is normal because it gets rid off your old skin but the rush isnt normal..

  • Dewi - October 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I never has acne before and these two months they just suddenly came (a lot) and leave much scars in my face. I think it came because I am changing my cleanser 2 times in a row and start using lotion (never used any lotion before in my face). Then I was going back to my old cleanser but my acne are still active. I tried the AC clinic serum from Korean Cosmetic, hoping that the acne stop growing like what the sales girl said to me, however it didn’t work at all. I have a friend who are selling Amway face care products, which is good to heal acne and its scar (I saw the prove already through his face) and asked about my problem. I really want to try Amway product to reduce the scar but he said that its better if we don’t use any lotion to our face if we have acne. So I think I am going to stop using anything except my cleanser, just like old times.
    Btw, the previous comment is talking about YouTube sensation, Bubzbeauty. She’s good and you should subscribe her! She has a DIY mask and toner for acne scars using apple vinegar yet I haven’t try it, but I think it will work because she already tried it by herself and its really inexpensive.

  • Femida - December 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Hi I am indian, medium completion and oily skin. Over the years I have noticed my skin looks so dull and has acne marks, I have occasional breakouts on my cheeks and skin. I have just purchased the scinderm kojic booster. How fast would I see results. I need my skin to come back to its normal completion and without the marks?

  • Tracey - February 27, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Hi there, You should see results in the first few days or a week after using the Scinderm Koji Booster. To help speed up the results you should try our FAST FADE from Scinderm.

  • Vicky - April 9, 2013 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I tried microneedling,iys painful but definitely worth it! Help a lot…and dermabrasion is ok,but first facial gave me best results:)

  • Judith Osammor - April 12, 2013 at 6:22 am - Reply

    I was one person who suffered from cystic acne caused by food poisoning and harsh exfoliating chemicals. Now myface is clear from the cystic acne and even the acne scarrs because I maintain a natural skincare routine. Which is cleansing, exfoliating, steaming, masking, toning and moisturizing all with natural products. If u maintain one you will get there.

  • Martha - May 20, 2013 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Dermarollers are also fantastic for scarring! Inexpensive too. You can find them on Amazon for about $10. It’s a microneedle roller that almost aerates your skin. It helps with product penetration and stimulates collagen growth/repair. Results aren’t always immediate, but I can tell you, as an aesthetician who has acne scarring, dermarollers have been one of the best gems I’ve found!

  • Anjali - December 5, 2016 at 6:09 am - Reply

    I tried lasers, subcision and peels and I don’t know how many treatments for my acne scars. In the end what worked were simple home treatments.

  • Rebecca Johnson - October 7, 2017 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Great tips about treating acne scars! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I will definitely try these tips and will get back with the results.

  • Leave a Reply

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