Skip to main content

How to Lighten and Get Rid of Acne Scars

How to Lighten and Get Rid of Acne Scars
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert3 years ago
View SkinStore Editors's profile

Are you wondering how you can get rid of acne scars? If so, you’re not alone. Usually, pimples and other skin blemishes leave behind acne scars and dark marks that make your skin appear rough and unhealthy. Some red patches and pitted scars can linger around for months or years.

Luckily, there are some tactics you can employ to lighten acne scars, including using acne creams for a smoother and healthier complexion. But, before diving in, let’s first understand acne scars, how to get rid of them, and how to avoid them.

What are Acne Scars?

Generally, acne scarring is a mark that breakouts leave behind once they subside. Acne scarring usually occurs when you pick deep pimples or blemishes, causing changes to the deep layers of the skin after the pimple heals.

Alternatively, acne scars can form when your skin doesn’t produce enough collagen to heal the blemishes or indented scars. They can also form when the skin produces too much collagen, causing a bumpy or raised scar.

There are different types of acne scarring, including:

  • Icepick: Formed due to lack of collagen production
  • Rolling scars: These scars are wavy and shallow
  • Acne pigment: These scars are shallow with sharp edges
  • Keloid scars: These scars are discolored, bumpy, and raised

Acne scars don’t have to be permanent, and with the right remedy or medical treatment, you can quickly get rid of them. However, some types of acne scars, such as keloid scarring, require specialized treatments.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars

Getting rid of acne scars doesn’t happen overnight. It requires special attention and care that ensures the scars fade over time, leaving your skin feeling smooth and radiant. Normally, you can get rid of acne scars using home remedies or medical treatments.

Home Remedies

These products consist of creams that are available over the counter and can help you lighten acne scars or fade acne scars. They include:

1. Salicylic acids

This ingredient is commonly found in acne skin care products, and it works to clear dirt, skin cells, and other debris from the pores of the skin. Salicylic acid helps reduce redness and swelling on your skin, minimizing the appearance of scarring. Because of its acidic nature, people with sensitive skin might need to test it out before using it to prevent irritation or dryness.

2. Retinoids

Retinoids are a great way to combat discoloration via acne scars. They help lighten acne scars, particularly in people with darker skin tones, and can reduce acne lesions.

3. Lactic acid

Many acne products contain lactic acid, which helps reduce the appearance of scars by acting as a gentle peel to pull away dead skin cells.

Medical Treatments

If you have severe scarring, you might want to consider getting medical treatments such as:

1. Chemical peels

Chemical peels can make a massive difference on acne-prone skin. They work to renew the skin surface while reducing the depth and intensity of acne scarring.

Editor's Note: I've personally tried a VI peel, which sheds the topical dermal layer of the skin to reveal newer, even skin within a week. It's great for seeing more immediate results when combating acne scars. 

2. Injections

Steroid injections can help with the treatment of acne, especially keloid or hypertrophic scars. However, you’ll need to get a series of injections to start seeing results.

3. Dermal filler

In some cases, you can use fillers to lighten acne scars. For instance, if you struggle with atrophic scars, dermal fillers can be effective in reducing their appearance.

How to avoid acne scars

There are several proactive steps you can take to prevent acne scars. They include:

1. Don’t pop pimples as it leaves an open wound, causing scarring and more acne.

2. Always wear sunscreen to avoid darkening spots and scars from acne.

3. Keep your skin moisturized to help your skin’s healing process.

4. If you have acne-prone skin, get it under control by using acne skin care products to prevent future breakouts.

5. Avoid irritating your skin to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Best Cream for Acne Scars

Now that you know how to get rid of acne scars, here’s a curated list of five of the best creams for acne scars.

1. PCA SKIN Acne Cream 2. Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel 3. REN ClearCalm Non-Drying Acne Treatment 4. U Beauty Resurfacing Compound 5. EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF46

1. PCA SKIN Acne Cream

This acne spot treatment from PCA Skin is an antioxidant, active cream formulated to prevent dead skin buildup, revealing a healthy and smooth complexion. Boasting anti-inflammatory ingredients, this gentle exfoliating cream works to protect skin from damaging UV rays while helping kill the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts.

2. Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel

If you have sensitive skin, you might want to try the home facial peel by Elemis. Formulated with natural ingredients such as pineapple and papaya, this rinse-off peel helps reduce acne scarring and fine lines. Boasting a moisturizing formula, this peel contains calming properties that soothe your complexion.

3. REN ClearCalm Non-Drying Acne Treatment

Most of us struggle with pimples, blackheads, and blemishes that result in discoloration and acne scarring. Luckily, with the non-drying acne treatment by REN Clean Skincare, you can prevent this. Designed with a non-comedogenic formula, this skin-loving treatment helps reduce the potential of scarring.

If you want soft, calm, smooth skin, this product is perfect for you.

4. U Beauty Resurfacing Compound

This product is not only cruelty-free but also vegan! Suitable for all skin types and skin tones, this brightening cream helps to reduce the visible appearance of dark spots and acne scars while tightening your skin.

If you want a product that’s dermatologically tested, you’ll fall in love with this product.

5. EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF46

If you have acne-prone skin, you know how irritated it can get when using certain skincare products. So, it’s wise to use lightweight products such as this acne cream from EltaMD to protect skin while helping combat discoloration.

Suitable for sensitive and all skin types, this cream contains lactic and hyaluronic acid, promoting healthy skin.



SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert
View SkinStore Editors's profile
Our team of beauty experts cover everything from skincare to makeup, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the SkinStore blog, and find all your essentials in one place.