Skincare » Best Acne Scar Treatments of 2023

Best Acne Scar Treatments of 2023

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Acne is a common problem for many and can often be difficult to treat. But even after your acne has cleared up, there may still be marks left behind in the form of pitted scars or patches of hyperpigmentation. Acne scars can linger for months — even years — but there are products that help reduce their appearance and improve your complexion. 

One way to minimize scarring is by using topical treatments such as retinol creams or exfoliating acids like glycolic acid. These products can help stimulate collagen production and promote cell turnover so that new skin cells replace older ones more quickly. Applying sunscreen daily is also a must, as sun exposure will darken any existing discoloration, making it harder for new skin cells to regenerate correctly. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best products to treat acne scars.

Best acne scar treatments overview:

How we chose the best acne scar treatments

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including affordability, exfoliants, preventatives, used for different types of scarring, and more, to create a short list of the top acne scar treatments. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best acne scar treatments for each category.

Our picks for the best acne scar treatments

Best Overall
Murad InvisiScar Post Acne Resurfacing Treatment

What we love

  • A favorite amongst beauty gurus
  • Works on all different types of acne scars

What we don’t love

  • May be strong for very sensitive skin
  • Contains fragrance

Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment has been designed to target texture, hyperpigmentation, and raised scars with a blend of vitamin C, salicylic acid, and silicone. It features TECA centella asiatica to hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier to avoid future inflammation. 

The formula works by resurfacing your skin layer-by-layer, while reducing redness caused by inflammation or breakouts. This helps mitigate the appearance of existing acne scars and prevents new blemishes from forming if you use it consistently and as directed.

Results may take anywhere between eight weeks and up to 12 months, depending on the acne type and severity level. Many reviews showcased before-and-after pictures that speak volumes about its effectiveness in treating acne scars over time when used twice a day diligently on a consistent basis.

Frequency of use: Twice daily | Type: Serum | Main ingredients: Salicylic acid, vitamin C, centella asiatica

Best budget
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Vegan, cruelty-free, no oil, alcohol, nuts or gluten
  • Very hydrating

What we don’t love

  • You can’t use it in conjunction with vitamin C
  • It may cause purging

The Ordinary has revolutionized how we shop for skincare with its affordable, high-quality products. Before this Canadian brand came along, people had to rely mostly on expensive luxury serums and moisturizers to get quality results. Now, thanks to The Ordinary’s single-ingredient products formulated based on scientific research and clinical trials, customers can enjoy targeted results without a hefty price tag.

This budget-friendly serum is designed for blemish-prone skin and has received rave reviews from customers. The water-based formula contains a 10% concentration of niacinamide to soothe and brighten the skin, as well as zinc to help with scarring and inflammatory acne. Many reviewers praised this product for its effectiveness in reducing acne scars, but few experienced a “purge” period where their acne increased before it healed.

Frequency of use: Apply a few drops morning and night daily | Type: Water-based serum | Main ingredients: Niaminicide, zinc

Best at-home peels
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Peel

What we love

  • Hydrating
  • Vegan and cruelty free
  • Very effective

What we don’t love

  • Contains alcohol
  • Pricey

At-home peels have come a long way in recent years and now offer excellent options that work on renewing the surface of your skin, reducing the depth and intensity of acne scarring. When using an at-home chemical peel for treating acne scarring, it’s important to choose one with gentle ingredients to avoid further irritation. This product isn’t a quick fix and will take consistent application to see results, but according to reviews, it’s worth the wait.

Dr. Dennis Gross’ two-step, pre-dosed daily peel pad is a great option for improving acne scarring and skin tones. The formula contains alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids to help smooth out the skin, as well as retinol, which helps resurface the texture of your face. Using this product is relatively simple: Just apply the step-one wipe, wait for it to dry before applying the step-two wipe, then finish with your face moisturizer.

Frequency of use: Morning or night daily, but for first-time users – use every other day until skin acclimates | Type: At-home chemical peel wipes | Main ingredients: Alpha beta acids, chamomile, tetinol, green tea extract

Best for melanated skin
Eadem Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum

What we love

  • Fragrance-free
  • No bleaching agents

What we don’t love

  • Small jar
  • Thick formula would work better with a pump

Treating dark spots and melasma can be difficult, especially for those with melanin-rich skin tones. Many people want to avoid harsh exfoliating acids and chemical peels in favor of something gentler yet effective. Eadem’s Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum is the perfect solution, providing gentle yet powerful results without irritating hyperpigmentation. 

The serum targets dark spots directly with its unique blend of natural ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root extract, arbutin, and vitamin C, which help reduce the appearance of pigmentation while brightening overall skin tone. The formula also has hyaluronic acid, which helps keep the skin hydrated and healthy. It’s no wonder this product has sold out five times already. 

Some popular ingredients used to treat dark spots contain skin-lightening agents that can be damaging for melanin-rich skin types. These harsh actives can irritate sensitive skin and even damage the barrier when used often. Thankfully, this universal serum works for all complexions and is created with melanated skin at the forefront by a Black dermatologist.

Frequency of use: Apply 3-4 drops a.m. and p.m. daily to clean damp skin | Type: Milky serum | Main ingredients: Niaminicide, amber Algae, encapsulated vitamin C, licorice root

Best for raised scars
Biodermis Pro-Sil Silicone Scar Stick

What we love

  • Works on all types of scarring
  • Patented FDA cleared
  • Easy to apply

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • Small size

The Biodermis Pro-Sil Scar Stick is clinically proven to significantly improve the look and feel of both new and old scars, including hypertrophic, keloid, burn, and surgical incisions. If you’re prone to acne scars and breakouts, this product is a no brainer because it’ll reduce the size of your scares or prevent them if applied early enough. Without artificial fragrances or dyes, it won’t cause additional aggravation to your skin.

The unique features that make Biodermis Pro-Sil Silicone Scar Stick stand out from other similar products are its:

  • Convenient applicator, allowing for precise application directly to the affected area
  • Long-lasting formula that provides up to 24 hours of protection against moisture loss
  • Non-irritating properties, which are perfect for sensitive skin types prone to allergic reactions or irritation

Frequency of use: Several times daily | Type: Balm | Main ingredients: Medical-grade silicone

Best exfoliant
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub

What we love

  • Exfoliating, but not harsh
  • Non-drying
  • Deep cleansing

What we don’t love

  • Small jar
  • May be too strong for very sensitive skin

Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub is a revolutionary exfoliant facial that offers the benefits of both traditional scrubs and microdermabrasion. Unlike regular scrubs, this product features a blend of harvested crystals, like Dead Sea salt and volcanic sand, as well as hydrating oils, such as grapeseed and jojoba oil, to provide maximum hydration while gently buffing away dead skin cells. Additionally, it contains kaolin clay, draws out impurities from pores for an even deeper cleanse. 

The Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub is designed to give all the benefits of professional microdermabrasion without leaving your home or breaking the bank. It’s not only gentle enough to use multiple times per week but also helps reduce wrinkles, treats acne scarring, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed.

Frequency of use: Twice weekly | Type: Scrub | Main ingredients: Jojoba seed oil, dead sea salt, kaolin

Best overnight
RoC Retinol Corexxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules

What we love

  • Biodegradable
  • Easy to apply
  • Travel-friendly

What we don’t love

  • Consistent long-term use needed

The RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules offer a solution to the problem of wrinkles and fine lines but also help with acne scarring. These capsules provide intense hydration and nourishment while utilizing retinol technology to improve skin texture. They also contain antioxidants that help protect against environmental damage, as well as vitamin E for added protection against free radicals. 

One of the main benefits of this product is its convenience; you can take it with you wherever you go without having to worry about spills or messes associated with traditional serums or creams. Additionally, these capsules are designed specifically for night use, so they won’t interfere with your daily activities.

Frequency of use: Nightly | Type: Prepackaged capsules filled with serum | Main ingredients: Retinol, antioxidant dimethylmethoxy chromanol

Best LED device
Solawave Radiant Renewal Skincare Wand with Red Light Therapy

What we love

  • One-time purchase
  • Helps with current breakouts
  • Multi-purpose

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • Needs recharging

The SolaWave Wand is a revolutionary skincare device that delivers warmth and red light therapy. It incorporates microcurrents and vibration into its treatment process. The low-level electrical waves sent by these microcurrents penetrate deep layers of your epidermis to promote a smoother and more radiant complexion while reducing fine lines, scarring, and hyperpigmentation, giving an overall lift to your face. 

The gentle vibrations also offer benefits such as depuffing, water retention, or inflammation caused by acne breakouts. This combination of treatments provides a comprehensive approach to revitalizing aging and healing damaged skin.

Frequency of use: Daily | Type: LED device | Main ingredients: Red light therapy

Best for dark spots
Topicals Faded Serum

What we love

  • Works quickly
  • Helps with active breakouts

What we don’t love

  • Bad sulfur smell

Topicals Faded Serum is a gel serum that helps with dark marks, acne scars, and active acne. It contains several key ingredients that work together to provide effective results. Kojic acid works as a mild exfoliant to stop melanin production, while azelaic and tranexamic acids gently fade dark marks and acne scars.

Niacinamide helps fight inflammation and even out skin tone, cica calms the skin, and licorice root brightens it. The main ingredient in this serum is tranexamic acid, which prevents melanocytes from producing too much pigmentation in areas with dark marks on the face or body. 

Apply this serum twice daily for best results: once after cleansing your face in the morning before applying moisturizer or sunscreen, then again at night before bedtime after using your usual cleanser.

Frequency of use: Once weekly to start, work your way up to daily use | Type: Gel serum | Main ingredients: Niaminicide, turmeric butter, squalane

Best for prevention
Hero Rescue Balm The Post-Blemish Recovery Cream

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Speeds up blemish healing

What we don’t love

  • Contains silicone
  • More of a spot treatment

Hero has become a household name for pimple patches, and the Mighty Patch is a favorite among those prone to breakouts. But what you may not know is that the brand has an effective skincare product called Rescue Balm Post-Blemish Recovery Cream.

This cream provides fast relief from acne blemishes, heals picked or popped pimples, and reduces redness and inflammation. It contains natural ingredients like tea tree oil, chamomile witch hazel extract, and aloe vera juice to soothe skin irritation and offer anti-bacterial protection against further breakouts. 

The Rescue Balm Post-Blemish Recovery Cream is a non-comedogenic formula that prevent clogged pores without greasy residue or heavy oils, which can lead to more breakouts in some people with sensitive skin types. It also works as an overnight spot treatment for stubborn blemishes, thanks to its blend of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, which help repair damaged cells.

Frequency of use: Whenever you have a ‘post-blemish’ that you don’t want to turn into an acne scar or dark spot | Type: Thick cream, balm | Main ingredients: Panthenol, beta glucan, oligopeptides, vitamin E

Treat your acne scars at home

You can treat acne scars on your own without going into a dermatologist’s office. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for minimizing the appearance of scars, but you can find effective products if you consider your skin type and scar type. It also helps to take preventative measures, such as using gentle cleansers to reduce future breakouts and refraining from picking pimples that can lead to new scars. 

Murad InvisiScar Post Acne Resurfacing Treatment is our top choice because it’s gentle enough for all skin types and is effective at treating multiple types of acne scarring.

How to pick the right scar treatment for you

When it comes to choosing the right product for acne scarring, several factors should be taken into consideration. The first is understanding your skin type and what ingredients work best with it. Knowing whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin will help narrow down which products work best. Secondly, consider researching different brands of products to determine which offer the most effective results while still being gentle on your skin.


Acne scar treatments are designed to reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by scarring. While there’s no universal solution for treating acne scars, certain ingredients have been found to be particularly effective in brightening and smoothing skin. 

The most common ingredients used in acne scar treatments include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acid (BHAs), retinol, vitamin C, and niacinamide. AHAs can help exfoliate dead skin cells, while BHAs penetrate deeper into the pores to cleanse them from within. They work in conjunction to promote brighter skin over time when used regularly as part of a skincare routine. 

Retinol helps stimulate cell turnover, which can reduce discolorations caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while Vitamin C works as an antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage and encourages collagen production. It also has lightening properties, so it’s great for reducing dark spots left behind from breakouts. 

Niacinamide is another ingredient commonly found in acne treatment products. It not only helps improve overall texture but also reduces inflammation, especially for those that suffer from cystic acne. 

Acne scarring

Acne scars develop when there’s a loss of tissue. Scar tissue can present as an indentation or a raised bump on the skin’s surface. Keloid scars are more common in people with darker skin tones, but they can affect anyone. They’re most often seen on the chest and back but can also appear on the face. Treatments like steroid injections or laser therapy may be used to reduce their appearance. 

Hypertrophic scarring is similar to keloids, though it doesn’t extend beyond the wound area and is usually smaller than a keloid scar. It typically appears as a raised bump that feels hard when touched. These types of acne scars occur mainly after severe cystic breakouts or deep tissue injury from repeatedly picking at pimples. 

No matter what type of acne scar you have, various treatments are available to minimize their appearance and improve your overall complexion without using harsh chemicals or invasive procedures.


What’s the most effective treatment for acne scars? 

The most effective methods of removing acne scars include laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and dermabrasion. Laser skin resurfacing is a procedure in which lasers are used to remove the top layer of damaged or scarred skin cells on the face and replace them with healthy ones.

Chemical peels involve applying an acid solution directly onto affected areas which helps exfoliate dead surface cells while encouraging new cell growth underneath it. Dermabrasion involves using an abrasive instrument such as a diamond-tipped wand or wire brush against your face’s outermost layers so that they may be removed completely. 

What can permanently remove acne scars?

The good news is that acne scars can lighten over time and even disappear if you maintain a consistent routine. Although there’s no overnight fix for removing them completely, many products can quickly fade them with consistency and patience. 

What’s the fastest way to fade acne scars?

When dealing with complex issues such as acne scarring, getting in front of a dermatologist or doctor is the fastest and most effective way to fade acne scars — but it can be costly and inconvenient. If seeing a dermatologist isn’t an option, discern what type of acne scarring you have to figure out what ingredients are necessary to minimize their appearance. Our list of the top 10 acne scar treatments can help with your search.