Acne scars can be a persistent reminder of past breakouts, affecting confidence and self-esteem. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to effectively treat these scars and achieve smoother, clearer skin. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various quick acne scar treatments that have proven efficacy. Whether you’re dealing with mild or severe scarring, there are solutions available to help you on your journey to smoother skin.

Discover Quick Acne Scar Treatments That Work

Understanding Acne Scars:

Acne scars come in different forms, including atrophic scars, which are depressions in the skin, and hypertrophic scars, which are raised and often red or pink in color. These scars develop as a result of the skin’s natural healing process following severe acne lesions. Factors such as genetics, inflammation, and improper treatment can exacerbate scarring.

Quick Acne Scar Treatments:

1. Topical Treatments:

Topical treatments are commonly used as the initial approach to treating acne scars due to their convenience and accessibility. These products can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by a dermatologist, depending on the severity of the scarring. [1]

To elaborate more about topical treatments, Alexis Pfropper, licensed esthetician added that topical treatments like retinoids, vitamin C, or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) all promote cell turnover and fade scars. Chemical peels from a licensed professional can improve the appearance of superficial scars.

Here are some types of topical treatments and how they work:

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Creams and Gels:
OTC creams and gels containing ingredients like retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and vitamin C are readily available and can be used as part of a daily skincare routine.

  • Retinoids, such as tretinoin and adapalene, work by increasing cell turnover, which helps to fade acne scars over time.
  • AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, exfoliate the skin’s surface, promoting the shedding of dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new, healthier skin.
  • Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which can help brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation associated with acne scars. Research [2] indicates that the utilization of vitamin C holds promise within the field of dermatology.

Prescription Medications:
In cases of more severe scarring, dermatologists may prescribe topical medications containing higher concentrations of active ingredients.

  • Topical retinoids, such as tazarotene and tretinoin, are stronger versions of OTC retinoids and can be more effective at treating stubborn acne scars.
  • Corticosteroids may be prescribed for hypertrophic or keloid scars, as they help reduce inflammation and flatten raised scar tissue.

It’s essential to use topical treatments as directed and to be patient, as results may take several weeks or even months to become noticeable. Additionally, it’s essential to use sunscreen daily when using retinoids or AHAs, as these ingredients can increase sensitivity to sunlight and make the skin more prone to sunburn.

By incorporating topical treatments into your skincare routine and following a consistent regimen, you can effectively reduce the appearance of acne scars and achieve smoother, more radiant skin over time. If you have any concerns or questions about which topical treatment is right for you, consult with a dermatologist for personalized recommendations.

Dermatological Procedures:

does microneedling work on acne scars

What’s the Best Treatment for Acne Scars? Shutterstock Image

  • Chemical Peels:
    Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes exfoliation and peeling. This process helps to remove the top layer of damaged skin, revealing smoother and more even-toned skin underneath. Chemical peels can be tailored to different skin types and severity of scarring.
  • Microneedling:
    Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, involves the use of a device with fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin’s surface. This stimulates the skin’s natural healing response, promoting collagen production and cell turnover. Microneedling can improve the texture and appearance of acne scars over time.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:
    PRP therapy involves the extraction and concentration of platelets from the patient’s own blood. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the skin, where it releases growth factors and stimulates tissue regeneration. PRP therapy can improve the appearance of acne scars by promoting healing and collagen production.
  • Fractional Laser Resurfacing:
    Fractional laser resurfacing uses laser technology to create microscopic holes in the skin’s surface, stimulating collagen production and remodeling of scar tissue. This treatment is highly effective for reducing the appearance of acne scars, with minimal downtime and side effects.
  • Injectable Fillers:
    Injectable fillers, such as hyaluronic acid or collagen-based fillers, can be used to fill in depressed acne scars and restore volume to the skin. This temporary solution provides immediate improvement in the appearance of scars, with results lasting several months to a year depending on the type of filler used.
  • Combination Therapies:
    Combining different acne scar treatments can often yield superior results. Dermatologists may recommend a combination of topical treatments, dermatological procedures, and home remedies tailored to the individual’s skin type and scar severity for optimal outcomes.

Home Remedies:

acne scar treatment home remedies

Acne Scar Treatment Home Remedies Shutterstock Image

Many individuals seek natural remedies for treating acne scars at home. Ingredients like aloe vera, honey, and tea tree oil have anti-inflammatory and healing properties that can help improve the appearance of scars. The latest findings show the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in preventing and healing skin wounds through clinical trials.

DIY masks and treatments made from ingredients like yogurt, turmeric, and oatmeal are also popular for their skin-soothing benefits.

Tips for Maximizing Effectiveness:

Consistency is key: Stick to a regular skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturizing.
Establish a routine: Incorporate topical treatments or dermatological procedures into your daily or weekly skincare regimen. [3]
Prioritize sun protection: Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily to prevent further damage to the skin and protect against hyperpigmentation. [4]
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out, promoting overall skin health.
Maintain a healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids to support skin repair and regeneration. Frequently investigated antioxidants like carotenoids, tocopherols, and flavonoids, along with vitamins (A, C, D, and E), essential omega-3 fatty acids, certain proteins, and lactobacilli are known to enhance skin health and beauty. [5]
Avoid picking or squeezing: Resist the urge to pick at acne or scars, as this can worsen inflammation and lead to further scarring.
Be patient: Results from acne scar treatments may take time to become visible, so be patient and consistent with your efforts.

Potential Risks and Considerations:

While acne scar treatments can be effective, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and side effects. Topical treatments may cause dryness, redness, or irritation, especially in sensitive skin types. Dermatological procedures carry risks such as infection, hyperpigmentation, and scarring if not performed correctly. Consulting a dermatologist before starting any treatment regimen is essential to ensure safety and efficacy.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, quick acne scar treatments offer hope for individuals looking to improve the appearance of their skin. Whether through topical treatments, dermatological procedures, or home remedies, there are various options available to address acne scars effectively.

By prioritizing consistency, proper skincare, and professional guidance, you can embark on a journey towards smoother, clearer skin and renewed confidence. Don’t let acne scars hold you back – take action today and discover the treatments that work best for you.

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5 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Derry S, Wiffen PJ, Kalso EA, Bell RF, Aldington D, Phillips T, Gaskell H, Moore RA. Topical analgesics for acute and chronic pain in adults - an overview of Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 May 12;5(5):CD008609. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008609.pub2. PMID: 28497473; PMCID: PMC6481750.
[2] Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr;4(2):143-6. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.110593. PMID: 23741676; PMCID: PMC3673383.
[3] "Dermatology - Tests and procedures - Mayo Clinic." Mayo Clinic, 22 Sept. 2023,
[4] Sunscreen FAQs. (2024, March 04). Retrieved from
[5] Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1;4(3):298-307. doi: 10.4161/derm.22876. PMID: 23467449; PMCID: PMC3583891.
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MaryBeth Parisi, MD

Dr. MaryBeth Parisi is a board-certified Harvard trained Dermatologist. She has over 18 years of experience in the field of skin care.