How to Get Rid of Acne Scars: Best Treatment Options

January 25, 2021 8 min read 0 Comments

how to get rid of acne scars

 By Kali Kushner

Acne is very common among all ages. Acne affects about 85% of the population between ages 12 and 25 years old, and lots of people may also get acne scars after their acne goes away.  If you want to try ways to treat your acne scars, here are expert treatments that work! 

What Are Acne Scars?

Acne scars can appear due to the damage caused by acne.  Acne tends to leave behind texture changes, dark marks, and redness. Depending on the type of scar, it may remain there for several months, or even years. 

Treating and getting rid of acne scars is not that easy but don’t fret as you’re not alone in that journey.  Acne can be due to a lot of factors which include (but not limited to) hormonal imbalances in our body, problems with digestion, or another underlying health condition. Sometimes the skin damage caused by acne can leave an acne scar behind. 

Types Of Acne Scars

Dealing with acne is only half the battle as an inflamed blemish will stretch our collagen fibers over time and which can lead to long term damage on our skin’s surface. This damage may leave textured acne scars, or dark marks.

types of acne scars infographic

The common types of acne scars are

  • Rolling scars
  • Ice pick scars
  • Boxcar scars
  • Hyperpigmentation 

Out of the above  acne scar types, hyperpigmentation is the one easiest to reduce and is temporary, while the other scar types are permanent without treatment.  Hyperpigmention is the dark spots and discoloration which can range from shades of black, brown, purple, and red. Boxcar scars are shallow with a strong straight and defined edge. Rolling scars are depressed scars with less of a defined edge or ridge, and ice pick scars are deep and narrow.

Acne scars can leave a serious impact on one’s self-confidence. It’s hard to look beyond the  discoloration and uneven texture after having these acne scars, but no worries, there are several methods for getting rid of acne scars.

Acne Marks Vs. Acne Scars

What's the difference between acne marks and acne scars?  Acne marks   marks refer to the discoloration or dark spots from post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is temporary and can fade on their own although it can take several months and years even. Where as acne scars are a result of texture change where there could be raised or pitted scars that are permanent without treatment.

Top ways to get rid of acne scars include:

  • Microneedling
  • Vitamin C Serums
  • Retinoids
  • Niacinamide
  • Glycolic Acid or AHA's
  • Chemical Peels
  • Vitamin E
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Laser Therapies
  • TCA peels
  • Zinc Sulfate

Below we'll go over the top ingredients to get rid of acne scars, which type of scar they are best for, and why it works.

Rosehip Oil

Type of scars: works best for dark spots or discoloration but it won't do much for textured acne scars.

It works because contains a lot of natural Vitamin A to promote skin cell turnover, and it has a high concentration on linoeic acid which helps with discoloration. Rosehip oil is promising in treating acne too. Rosehip oil is ideal for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, but it may not have an effect on an ice pick, or rolling scars.

To use, apply a small amount little on the freshly cleansed skin twice a day for several weeks to see results on dark spots and discoloration.


Type of scars: hyperpigmentation 

Retinoid products have been considered a go-to ingredient especially to those with moderate to severe acne. They promote cell turnover or shedding of dead skin cells and the development of collagen.  Take note that retinoids are not as strong as prescription-strength retinol so retinoids are what you find in drugstore skincare products. 

You may also apply retinoids once or twice daily for several weeks for you to improve scarring. A word of warning is that retinoids can cause purging for the first couple of weeks which is normal.


Type of scar: rolling scars, boxcar, ice pick scars, and hyperpigmentation.

Microneedling is an acne scar treatment that uses very fine needles to prick the skin. Its purpose is to break down the scar tissue and promote the generation of new collagen, which is the foundation of skin to push the old damaged skin out and fill in acne scars over time. Don't microneedle over active pimples. The great thing about microneedling is that it isn't very invasive and the results are permanent! 

Microneedling can get rid of acne scars fast and is great for indented or pitted acne scars. It can even improve wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Microneedling promotes the absorption of topical products and it is good to try with the  Banish Oil which is a natural vitamin c serum for greater improvement of acne scars. 

For an at-home treatment, you use smaller needle sizes like the  Banisher 2.0  that can be done once a week or every other week.  Consult your dermatologist or go in for an in-office treatment if you have very deep ice pick scars that may need more aggressive treatment.  


AHA or Glycolic Acid

Type of scars: discoloration

Glycolic acid is an AHA which stands for alpha hydroxy acid.  This AHA is one of the most effective AHAs and the most popular ingredient for getting rid of acne scars. Glycolic Acid can also reduce hyperpigmentation, acne, and discoloration.

 Glycolic acidis a naturally occurring substance that offers many benefits to the skin such as rejuvenation and exfoliation. This type of acid is mostly found in chemical peels and can be used in daily skincare products without causing much irritation with the right PH and concentration. This ingredient is also included in the  BANISH Pumpkin Enzyme Masque.

Mandelic acid, on the other hand, is a more gentle counterpart of glycolic acid.  Mandelic acids are safe options for treating acne scarring on dark and sensitive skin types. Use mandelic acid in a leave-on product.

Vitamin C 

 Type of scars: hyperpigmentation and dark spots, rolling and boxcar scars.

As we say,  Vitamin C is one good source when it comes to getting rid of acne scars for its wound healing, collagen production, and brightening properties. We all need Vitamin C as a component of healthy skin. This is a good source for treating acne scars as it is responsible for our skin’s health, elasticity, collagen synthesis, and reaction to environmental stress as well. 

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to both prevent acne scars, and Vitamin C applied topically in the form of L-Ascorbic acid has been shown to reduce dark marks as well as stimulate collagen production. Apply a  Vitamin C Serum daily and try not to apply it at the same time as a retinoid product for optimal effectiveness. 

This is also one of the ingredients included in the  Banish OilVitamin C Creme and  Vitamin C Beauty Elixir.


Type of scars: Dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Also known as nicotinamide, niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B-3 which is also an essential nutrient when it comes to  treating acne scars. Niacinamide works by lightening any dark marks, reducing inflammation, and improving tissue regeneration.

Niacinamide has several benefits on our skin – it builds keratin which keeps our skin firm and healthy, acts as a lipid barrier, reduces inflammation that may help ease the redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory conditions, keeps our skin moisturized, and regulates oil production. While niacinamide may help with dark marks, it may not help with textured or deep acne scars.

Vitamin E

Type of scars:dark spots and hyperpigmentation

This Vitamin helps heal your skin by strengthening its protective barrier and improving the overall formation of healthy skin cells and tissues to help heal acne scars. It also works to combat any free radicals which can possibly damage your skin and speeds up wound healing.  

Zinc Sulfate

Type of scars:dark spots and hyperpigmentation

 Zinc as a treatment for acne scars has become a debatable question among dermatologists. Zinc can help treat acne  in two ways: oral treatment (supplement) or topically (serum or cream). Its anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in reducing redness and swelling. This ingredient is rich in Vitamin A which is essential for quick wound healing.

In-office Scar Treatments

The tips that we had earlier talks about mild to moderate acne scars but what if you have more severe acne scarring? If your acne scars are not responding to the above treatments, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist and set an appointment with them to talk about stronger acne scar treatments.

For severe acne scars, we recommend

  • TCA Chemical Peels
  • Laser Therapy
  • PRP Microneedling


Type of scars: Ice pick, boxcar

Your dermatologist may recommend chemical peels that contain acids with higher concentrations. These peels work in the same way as those kinds you use at home, only that they work on a deeper level.

Deeper peels such as TCA peels should be done by a professional and can improve moderate to severe acne scars with the proper aftercare and with the supervision of a professional.  Be careful not to try these deep peels by yourself, as not all skin types are suitable for this acne scar treatment and it can run the risk of causing more scarring.


Type of scars: ice pick, boxcar, rolling, dark spots

This type of treatment can have a long recovery and may be painful and expensive costing thousand of dollars for one session. It requires a consultation with a dermatologist before you can undergo laser resurfacing and a few sessions may be needed to see desired results.

There are different formats of laser therapies for acne scars so the pricing, recovery, and results may differ depending on the type of laser therapy you may opt for.

They work by damaging the surface layer of skin, so new skin can start forming and push out the previously damaged skin.  Lasering areas with acne may not be recommended.

In-office microneedling or PRP microneedling

PRP microneedling is a procedure in the office with a device that injects your own plasma into your skin for the healing properties and collagen production to heal acne scars. PRP microneedling shouldn't be done if you are still having acne or pimples. In-office treatments are handled by a professional that can use deeper and more aggressive needle lengths to reach the deeper layers of skin without causing excessive trauma or infection when handled by a professional.  In office treatments may include both a dermaroller device or powered microneedling devices.   

Natural Remedies For Acne Scars

If you want to stick with home remedies for your own reasons, household products to get rid of acne scars could give mixed results and aren't able to show results for deep and pitted acne scars. 

 We caution use with home remedies. Aloe vera and manuka honey are the ones that are least likely to cause irritation and can be used undiluted. 

If your acne scars are mild and limited to hyperpigmentation or discoloration, these home remedies could work for you. 

Below are the most common household products which you can try on acne scars but proceed with caution.


Aloe is one of the best household products anyone can use to treat their acne scars as it helps them to heal faster by strengthening collagen structure. It can also speed up the healing process and reduce acne scar formation. This is one possible way of getting rid of your discoloration  acne scarsAloe Vera has been a popular plant remedy or solution for many skin problems such as acne.  

To Use: Purchase Aloe vera gel and apply onto skin daily. 


Honey is another household product that is good for treating hyperpigmentation.  Honey is considered as the queen bee of acne scar home remedies. Honey contains anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and healing properties which make it a perfect solution for treating both acne and scars and help the skin to heal faster as well as prevent scars from forming on your face - I would say this is the safest item to try on your skin as a leave on mask for 10 minutes and wash off. 


This fermented vinegar has a lot of useful functions, including fading your acne scars, naturally exfoliating and shedding away dead skin cells. It contains Vitamins A, B2, B6, C, and E along with the natural lactic and malic acids which are responsible for gently exfoliating the skin for an even-toned complexion.  Dilute it with water so it doesn't cause too much stinging and to help lower the acidity. 

It takes a lot of patience and consistency to see  positive results, no matter what products or options you choose in treating acne. Don’t be afraid to try different options should the first one fail. Keep the healing with some emotional treatment as well. Acne does not only leave with deep physical scarring but emotional scarring too.

You’re still beautiful with or without acne.

how to get rid of acne scars infographic banish

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