Acne breakouts can be frustrating, and they can also leave scars on the face and other areas of the body. Some people find that acne scars are an unwanted reminder of a painful and bothersome condition. However, acne scars do not have to be permanent, as some home remedies and medical treatments can help get rid of them. In this article, learn about a variety of ways to help reduce the appearance of acne scars and promote healthy skin.

While some people consider their scars to be marks of pride, many people just want them to go away. Since they can affect your appearance, they can make you feel self-conscious.

If you want to get rid of an old scar, you need to understand what a scar is and what type you’re trying to get rid of.

How do scars form?

A scar forms as part of the natural healing process following an injury. When the dermis — the second layer of skin — is damaged, your body forms collagen fibers to repair the damage, resulting in a scar.

In most cases, the faster a wound heals, the less collagen will be deposited, and the less noticeable the scar will be.

Typically, the severity of the scar is based on the severity of the injury or damage. They form differently on different parts of the body and based on the age of the injured person.

Home remedies

Various remedies are available over the counter, many of which can help people manage their acne and reduce the appearance of scars.

Salicylic acid

Woman with acne scars applying lotion, cream, or treatment to skin on face.
Acne is a common skin complaint, with many people experiencing acne scarring.

Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring compound that is often an ingredient in acne skin care products. Salicylic acid helps clear dirt, skin cells, and other debris that leads to acne from the pores of the skin.

It also helps reduce swelling and redness in the area, which may minimize the appearance of scarring.

Salicylic acid is beneficial for all scar types. It makes a good addition to a daily skin care routine for most people who live with acne.

People with sensitive skin may need to test a product containing this acid on a small area of skin before using it on their entire face, as it may cause dryness or irritation.

Retinoids

Some topical retinoids may help get rid of acne scars. As the authors of a review in the journal Dermatology and Therapy note, topical retinoids block inflammation, reduce acne lesions, and speed up cell regeneration.

The authors also state that retinoids could help lighten hyperpigmented acne scars, including those in people with darker skin tones.

It is important to note that retinoids can make the skin sensitive to the sun. Anyone using retinoids for acne or scar treatment should wear sunscreen when going outdoors.

Alpha hydroxy acids

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can help get rid of dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. Doctors may recommend AHAs for treating acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.

AHAs are a mild form of acid that scrapes away the outer layer of skin to reveal fresh, new skin underneath. This process may help with discoloration due to scarring.

Lactic acid

Lactic acid can act as a gentle peel to pull away dead skin cells. It may help reduce the appearance of scars and smooth the overall texture of the skin.

Lactic acid may also help lighten dark scar tissue, although it sometimes causeshyperpigmentation. Due to this possible adverse effect, it is best to test products that contain lactic acid on a small patch of skin before using them to treat acne scarring.

Many products for acne contain lactic acid. It is also present in diluted apple cider vinegar, which makes for a more natural, cost-effective treatment.

Natural remedies

Many people use natural remedies to help clear up acne scars, but the science behind them is unclear. Some may cause further irritation or other problems so people should use them with caution.

Home remedies that people have traditionally used to treat acne scars include:

Medical treatments

Several medical treatments are available to help reduce acne scars. A dermatologist may recommend different procedures depending on a person’s skin type and the extent of the scarring.

Medical treatments for acne scars include:

Chemical peels

A dermatologist can recommend medical treatments for acne scarring.
A dermatologist can recommend medical treatments for acne scarring.

A dermatologist can recommend a type of peel that is suitable for a person’s skin type, acne severity, and scarring.

The authors of a 2017 review on treatments for acne scarring note a study that found that six of 10 participants using a specific type of chemical peel called trichloroacetic acid (TCA) had at least a 70-percent improvement in their acne scarring.

Other chemical peels may be less effective. For instance, 25 percent of those who used glycolic acid did not see any reduction in the appearance of scars.

A person may need to try different types of peel to determine which one works for them.

Injections

Injections of corticosteroids may help with the treatment of raised acne scar tissue if a person has either hypertrophic or keloid scars.

The treatment typically consists of a series of injections. A dermatologist can do these injections in their office once every few weeks, monitoring the results.

Dermal filler

In some cases, dermatologists may recommend using soft tissue fillers to reduce the appearance of scars.

Dermatologists may choose a filler that consists of a collagen-based product, which may require allergy testing. Alternatively, removing fat from another part of the body to use may be an option. They can also use other commercial fillers, such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), hyaluronic acid (HA), and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA).

Dermal fillers work best for atrophic scars, but many are temporary. Treatment typically lasts between 6 and 18 months.

There are some permanent options, however, that a person can discuss with their dermatologist.

Microneedling

Microneedling is the process of inserting tiny needles into the skin surrounding the scar to stimulate the body to make more collagen. This collagen may reduce the appearance of acne scars by smoothing out the skin.

In a 2017 review, microneedling provided an improvement of 31 to 62 percent in the appearance of acne scars.

However, microneedling can cause side effects. Many people experience redness, pain, and inflammation after the treatment, but these effects subside over time.

Silicone gels or sheets

Silicone gels and sheets can be used on healing skin, not open wounds. They’re soft- and flexible-style gels or sheets that are applied like a self-adhesive dressing. They’re designed to help soften the skin and flatten the scar.

Worn daily, they can be washed and reused for up to 3 months. You don’t need a prescription — they can be bought over the counter at your local store.

The takeaway

If you want to make a scar look less noticeable, you may want to try a natural remedy. There are many people who believe that natural remedies can get the job done.

As with any home remedy, have a conversation with your healthcare professional before starting. A doctor can offer insights and recommendations about which remedies you should or shouldn’t try.

How to get rid of acne scars: Treatments and home remedies

However, acne scars can make you as self-conscious as acne itself, so what can you do about them?

1. Black seed oil

Also known as Nigella sativa, black seed oil is native to Eastern Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East. It is a relatively common medicinal plant, and the oil can be found online.

In addition to having antibacterial and anti-viral properties, the oil is anti-inflammatory. But reducing inflammation isn’t the only way in which it may aid in scar reduction.

Studies have found it to be able to speed up as well as improve wound healing. It can also even out pigmentation or even prevent acne altogether.

2. Rosehip seed oil

Marketed largely as a solution for aging, rosehip seed oil is widely available and is safe to apply directly to the skin.

One study has also indicated that it can be used to treat scars. Though the study was specific to surgical scars, the oil could be similarly useful in reducing acne scars. Researchers found that applying it twice daily reduced the appearance of scars and discoloration.

3. Honey

You don’t even have to go to the drugstore for this potential acne scar remedy. Honey is used for numerous medicinal purposes, including burns, wounds, and herpes. And research indicatesTrusted Source that it can speed wound healing, reducing the potential for scarring.

Researchers found that directly applying honey can help with wound clearing and wound cleansing because of its antibacterial properties. It is also able to fight infections that could otherwise cause more acne to appear.

ADVERTISEMENT
4. Aloe vera

Like honey, aloe vera is a common home remedy. In the case of acne, it works similarly to aid the healing process.

You can find aloe vera gels and products at drugstores, but you can also grow the plant yourself. Cut into the leaves and apply the sticky gel directly to the skin.

The takeaway

Truly, there are very few proven natural remedies for acne scars. However, compared to the many more expensive creams and lotions — whose effects are equally unproven — there are added benefits of going natural. Namely, less expense, and few if any side effects. In other words, it doesn’t hurt to try.