Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2021
What are acne scars?
You can get rid of acne scars naturally with over-the-counter (OTC) creams and gels, and home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
Acne scars are the stubborn reminders of your former acne breakouts. There isn’t a single treatment for acne scars since everyone’s skin is different. There are, however, a few natural remedies for reducing the severity of your scars.
Acne is the most common skin condition. It can break out on your face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders. Acne occurs when there is a build-up of oils and skin cells on your skin. Once bacteria get involved, your skin becomes inflamed, which can leave behind acne scars.
Symptoms of acne scars
There are two types of acne scars: raised or depressed.
Raised scars are raised ridges or bumps on your skin. Depressed scars look like small pits in your skin. The type of scars you have is the result of your body’s reaction to an acne breakout.
People with darker skin tones also develop dark spots with their acne. This is known as hyperpigmentation.
As with acne scars, hyperpigmentation spots require that your acne is treated before they can be addressed. Treating dark spots requires acne products that work well for darker skin.
Causes of acne scars
Inflamed and irritated skin can lead to scarring. The longer your acne is inflamed, the more likely you are to have scarring. Treating your acne during this stage will help relieve future symptoms.
When your acne breaks out, it deeply damages the skin and tissue beneath. Your body produces collagen to repair this damage. When your body produces too much or too little collagen, acne scars form. Too much collagen causes raised scars and too little creates depressed scars.
Who can get acne scars?
Anyone who does not properly care for their acne can get acne scars.
Inflamed acne, a lack of treatment, irritation from picking at the acne, or your genetics can put you at risk to develop acne scars. Whether you are in an at-risk group or not, proper acne treatment is the method to prevent scarring.
Acne is the result of an allergy.
Natural remedies for acne scars
There aren’t any guaranteed natural remedies to eradicate your acne scars completely.
Your own unique skin type will determine which remedies work. There are a few measures that can be taken to reduce your acne scars’ severity and prevent future scarring. For stronger, more permanent solutions, consider consulting a dermatologist.
Over-the-counter (OTC) creams and gels
There are a number of OTC creams that can help with your skin’s irritation and discomfort. Some creams may reduce the swelling of acne scars and reduce their color to make them less noticeable.
Such creams are not single-use remedies. They must be used consistently to have any noticeable effect.
There are also OTC medicinal creams that can kill bacteria on your skin and reduce oiliness. Look for creams that contain the following:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
These aim to reduce irritation of the skin, which may also reduce the redness of the acne scars.
Research your topical creams thoroughly. Some lotions contain chemicals that can dry out your skin. This may further irritate your acne scars.
Expensive moisturizers with lots of fragrance and additives can actually make your scars redder and make them more noticeable.
If you don’t want to try over-the-counter creams, you may already have a few things in your kitchen that can be repurposed into acne scar treatment.
Everyone’s skin is different, so these treatments may not work for you. Before attempting any of these treatments, make sure you are regularly washing your face daily with a non-abrasive cleanser.
- Apple cider vinegar: This can help balance the pH of your skin and reduce the appearance of red scars. Make a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water, and apply it to your scars every day using a cotton ball.
- Baking soda: A baking soda mixture can serve as an exfoliant that removes dead skin cells. Make a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of water to create an exfoliating mixture. Gently apply to the scarred area and rinse with lukewarm water.
- Lemon juice: the acid content and antioxidants in lemon juice is another natural means for reducing your acne scars. Equal parts lemon juice and water creates a mixture that you can apply to your scars for an extended period and then rinse. Overuse of this method can irritate your skin due to the acidity.
Prognosis and outlook for acne scars
For the permanent removal of your acne scars, consult a healthcare provider that specializes in skin treatments, like a dermatologist.
Your doctor may recommend certain medical procedures, such as laser treatments, chemical peels, or microneedling. Deeper scars may require more invasive surgical procedures.
The first step in treating your acne scars is treating the acne that causes them. A dermatologist can provide a medical regimen that will be tailored to your skin type and help relieve acne breakouts. Once your acne is under control, the treatment for your acne scars can begin.
Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2021
American Academy of Dermatology Association: “Acne Scars.”
American Academy of Dermatology Association: “10 Tips for Clearing Acne in Skin of Color.”
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: “Complementary therapies for acne vulgaris.”
Scripps: “Acne Scar Treatment Options.”
TeensHealth: “Can Acne Scars Be Removed?”