These skincare products will help heal, fade, and remove your acne scars
As someone that struggles with them every day, I was never taught exactly how to get rid of acne scars.
From dark spots, to deeper pitted marks, acne scars can take many forms, however certain skincare products can significantly help.
Before diving into them more in depth, here are the best skincare products you can use for acne scars:
These products can significantly help to get rid of acne scars, as well as fading dark spots and hyper pigmentation.
You know all those articles that make you scroll for months to just see their recommendations?
We know those suck (looking at you recipe websites) so we like to put all the important information at the top.
A big part about acne scars (at least for me) is how natural skin is portrayed in media.
Heaven forbid anyone have any natural looking, non-air-brushed skin in magazines, movies, and social media.
Seeing a warped representation of skin tone and texture growing up has certainly influenced me (and maybe you).
From the start of our lives, harmful beauty standards have been ingrained into our minds, including that of smooth skin = beauty.
The tides are certainly turning in terms of beauty standards, and we’re starting to see real representation of all types of people across the board.
Jari Jones, a black trans model for Calvin Klein, easily represents this shift.
Regardless of media and representation, everyone deserves to look and feel better with themselves.
This article will take you through some of the best skincare products for acne scars, however let’s just briefly touch on the types of acne scars, as there’s surprisingly a few.
Take a moment to figure out which acne scars you have (If you’re like me you’ll have a combination).
Knowing which acne scar type you have, can be extremely helpful when researching certain treatments or products, to see if they’re best for your scar type.
1. Vitamin C Serum
You’ve likely heard of, or even used vitamin C serum already for skin brightening purposes, however it can be incredibly useful to get rid of acne scars as well.
Topical vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, which promotes skin regeneration, while preventing pigmentation, dark spots, and photoaging.
This study further goes on to say vitamin C helps to increase your skins natural collagen production, and works hand in hand with vitamin E to prevent oxidative damage.
So, we’ve established vitamin C is great to get rid of acne scars, but what vitamin C products are best?
Glad you asked. Below you can find the very best products to buy:
- Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum – $27 From Amazon
- The Ordinary Brightening Vitamin C Serum – $22 From Amazon
2. Lactic Acid
There are a wide range of serums with strong percentages of Lactic Acid, which works to naturally exfoliate your skin.
The acid will clear away dead skin cells, and speed up skin renewal, helping with wrinkles, dark spots, and of course scarring.
Keep in mind to not overdo it, as regular use of lactic acid could irritate your skin.
Always spot test first, and then perhaps try for just 1 day, and see how your skin reacts.
If all is well, then you can start applying it perhaps 2-3 times a week.
If you’re looking for the best order to apply your skincare routine, check our quick guide on it, here.
Lastly, make sure you don’t mix Lactic Acid with any vitamin C products, as when mixed together they render each other useless.
Don’t waste your products!
- The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% – $13 From Amazon
- Apple cider vinegar. It naturally has a high concentration of lactic acid! I personally mix apple cider vinegar with Calcium Bentonite clay to form a face mask. It’s perfect for cleansing pores, clearing up acne, dark spots, and scaring!
3. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that comes from sugarcane, and works to exfoliate the top layer of your skin.
Depending on your skin, it can fairly effective to get rid of acne scars.
This exfoliation can lead to a peeling effect, revealing smoother skin beneath.
Glycolic acid further clears dirt and oil from pores, while helping your skin retain more moisture.
As great as it sounds, some find that glycolic acid causes skin irritation, such as redness, itching and swelling.
Be sure to patch test any glycolic acid before you put all over your face.
Also make sure to use a sunscreen at the end of your routine, as glycolic acid can increase your sun sensitivity (but you should be using a sunscreen anyway).
Our favourite glycolic acid products to get rid of acne scars:
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – $22 From Amazon
- Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – $16 From Amazon
- Alpha-H Liquid Gold – $53 From Amazon
Is it just me, or is everyone jumping on the retinol bandwagon right now?
Firstly though, retinol can be extremely confusing, and as there’s lots of different versions of it, all with different names.
Retinoids, Retin-A, granactive retinoids. WTF?
What they all come down to, is being different forms of vitamin A, which is beneficial for your skin (and to get rid of acne scars).
Retinols can boost collagen production, while stimulating the regeneration of skin cells within your pores.
It’s also extremely strong, which means you need to slowly build up a tolerance to it.
Start by using it only once or twice a week (in small amounts) to gauge how your skin reacts.
Slowly build up more regular use of it from there.
You can also get prescription retinol products that are much more potent, if you’re looking for a step up.
Here are our favourite retinol products that help get rid of acne scars:
- The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane – $32 From Amazon
- Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol – $70 From Amazon
I’m guessing you’ve already heard about niacinamide, but if you haven’t used it yet, consider this your message from the universe to try it.
An important thing to remember is to not mix it with pure vitamin C, as they can lessen each others effectiveness.
Here are some of the best niacinamide products that get rid of acne scars:
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – $15 From Amazon
6. Azelaic Acid
Similar to retinol, azelaic acid increases skin cell turnover rates, by softly exfoliating away dead skin.
It’s a more gentle acid, so if your skin gets irritated or breaks out from stronger acids such as lactic, azelaic might be a great alternative that still delivers results.
I’ve personally seen a great improvement using azelaic acid, and experienced a notable increase in skin brightness after only one night of applying it.
A lot of the products listed in this article are from The Ordinary, which is perhaps one of the all time best affordable skincare brands out there.
We have our very own article on their best products here.
To get rid of acne scars however, we would recommend:
- The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension – $18 From Amazon
Now, don’t get me started on how important sunscreen is to get rid of acne scars.
If you decide to take nothing else away from this article, remember that all treatments are basically useless, if you don’t protect your skin against the sun.
It’s the most important step, in how to get rid of acne scars.
The ultraviolet rays that come from the sun (if not protected against with sunscreen) can cause:
- Scars & acne scars to worsen / heal slower
- dark spots and marks to heal slower
- Signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines to form
- Skin cancers to form
If you still might not believe me, let’s take a look at the famous face of Bill McElligott; a delivery truck driver that had only 1 side of his face exposed to sun through the window of his truck, for 28 years.
And spoiler alert, he didn’t wear sunscreen. Convinced yet?
We have an amazing break down of the very best sunscreens of all time in a previous article, however let’s just list some of the best right here:
- Biore Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen – $24 From Amazon
- CANMAKE Mermaid Skin Gel UV – $13 From Amazon
- Biore UV Perfect Face Milk – $22 From Amazon
Tinted sunscreens are also an amazing way to provide moisture, while smoothing and protecting your skin. We list the 8 best tinted sunscreens in this article.
How to get rid of acne scars with clinical treatments
Over the counter products can be extremely helpful to get rid of acne scars, however there are a wide range of skin treatments that you can get from a dermatologist, at a clinic.
These treatments to get rid of acne scars include:
Derma rolling / needling
With this treatment, a small device covered in tiny needles is rolled across the scars. this sounds SO painful I know, but it’s actually pretty tame.
The small needles work to stimulate underlying tissue, promoting skin cells to regenerated and ‘heal’ themselves.
Derma rolling is one of the most common treatments to get rid of acne scars, however it may require multiple sessions to get results.
It’s particularly effective against ice-pick acne scars, and can also help with pigmentation, and general skin texture.
Strong exfoliating acids are applied to the skin, which removes the very top layer of your skin, working away to fade and get rid of acne scars.
Chemical peeling can have the following skin benefits:
- smoother skin texture and tone
- lightening of dark spots & pigmentation
- unclogging of pores
Working in the same way as all previous treatments to get rid of acne scars, laser treatments work to break up scar tissue on the top layer of the skin.
This works to bring in newer, healthier skin cells to replace the scar tissue.
Laser resurfacing can be effective, however it’s one of the more expensive treatments. They will cost on average, around $2,000. Yikes.
Remember to love your skin
It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of trying everything to get rid of acne scars, however keep in mind that your body, and your skin, deserve some compassion and love.
Your skin is beautiful, and no product or treatment will change that.
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