How to Get Rid of Acne Scars: Treatment Options And Remedies

June 07, 2020 0 Comments

how to get rid of acne scars

 By Kali Kushner

A lot of people get acne and a lot have an ongoing battle with acne.  Acne is common most especially during the teenage years and adulthood. Acne affects about 85% of the population between ages 12 and 25 years old, with many experiencing some degree of acne scarring as a result. 

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. Our hormonal imbalances may cause the glands to produce more oil than it needs, thus clogging pores and leading the pores to become swollen and inflamed. 

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 acne scars that appear and red or dark marks or scars with an uneven pitted texture.

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 more 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.

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


To help treat acne scars, you should focus on preventing the risk of hyperpigmentation. If acne is able to be managed sooner rather than later, the likelihood of acne scars appearing will decrease.  The tips below can prevent hyperpigmentation which are the dark spots that result from acne from forming or staying as long on the skin.

  1. Reduce Inflammation: Topical products like a sulfur mask helps fight acne while preventing future breakouts.  Eat a balanced diet rich with colorful vegetables and berries to increase your  anti-inflammatory food intake. Watch the sugar intake as sugars promote inflammation. Getting regular moderate exercise and a consistent sleep schedule helps to reduce inflammation too.

  2. Wear Sunscreen: Wearing  sunscreen even if it doesn't appear sunny help reduce pigmentation on your skin. It can also help reduce the risk of permanent acne scarring. Existing scars can be worsened when breakouts or flare-ups are being exposed to the sun without any protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Many acne scar treatments leave skin susceptible to UV damage. UV rays contribute to the breakdown of collagen which is the cause of depressed acne scars. UV rays also stimulate melanin production which can cause the dark spots leftover from acne. I recommend a sunscreen with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30. 

Two steps in treating acne scarring:

  1. Reducing the redness and hyperpigmentation due to inflammation and excess melanin production.
  2. Breaking down scar tissue to Improve skin texture of rolling, boxcar, and icepick acne scars. 

Treating the inflammation alone can improve the overall appearance of your acne scars when you experience a lot of discoloration. These discolored marks may fade over time when you use sunscreen to prevent them from darkening. However, you don't want to just wait it out as some hyperpigmentation can take several years to completely fade away on its own.  Below are products and treatments that can get rid of acne scars fast. 

Treatments To Get Rid Of Acne Scars

  • Rosehip Oil
  • Microneedling
  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C 
  • AHA
  • Niacinamide
  • Vitamin E
  • 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.

1.  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. Feel like you’re breaking out from retinol? You may check this article to tell if you’re purging or breaking out - How to Tell If You’re Purging or Breaking Out.


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.

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 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 deep ice pick scars that may need more aggressive treatment.  


4. 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 AHA 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.


 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 main ingredients included in the  Banish OilVitamin C Creme and  Vitamin C Beauty Elixir.

6. Niacinamide

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.

7. 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.  

8. 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.

how to get rid of acne scars infographic banish

Treatments For Severe Deep Acne Scars?

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


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

3. 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 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.

Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Acne Scars

Natural home remedies for acne scars

  • Aloe vera
  • Lemon
  • Baking Soda
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Honey

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 are unlikely to show results for deep and pitted acne scars.  If your acne scars are mild and limited to hyperpigmentation or discoloration, home remedies for acne scars could work for you!  Below are the most common household products which can be used as  acne scar treatments and getting rid of those  acne scars.

home remedies to get rid of acne scars


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 their 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  acne scars but works better for hyperpigmentation instead of rolling or ice pick scars. Aloe Vera has been a popular plant remedy or solution for many skin problems such as acne.


This household product is not just useful for baking, but also for  treating acne scars as a natural exfoliator. Baking soda helps in reproducing cells by removing the uppermost scar tissue layer by layer as a physical exfoliator. Baking soda has a very low ph which can disrupt the skin barrier, so make sure to apply a pH balancing toner immediately after rinsing off.

  1. HONEY

Another household product that is good for  treating acne scars, 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.

  1. LEMON

Lemon contains Vitamin C which has both  acne and scar healing qualities to brighten your complexion and fade hyperpigmentation. This fruit helps reduce redness which is often associated with acne scars, but because lemon can sting and cause photosensitivity, it is recommended to use with caution, stay out of the sun, and dilute it before applying. 


This fermented vinegar has a lot of useful functions, including fading your acne scars, naturally exfoliating and shedding away dead skin cells, and fading  acne scars as well in the process. 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 going with some emotional treatment as well. Acne does not only leave us with deep physical scarring but emotional scarring too.

You’re still beautiful with or without acne.

Products I Used To Get Rid Of Acne Scars