7 Steps To Design The Perfect Skin Treatment for Acne Scars

Many people are not even aware that skincare routines can help with acne scars. It is essential to understand that not all skincare products are created equal, and some may worsen your acne scarring. I had to go through this when I was trying to get rid of my acne and I hope my experience can save you a significant amount of time and money so you can focus on what works!

The best way to get started on the right foot is by researching what ingredients will work well for you and which ones should be avoided. 

Many people think that if a product is “organic” or has natural ingredients, it will be good for their skin. Unfortunately, this may not necessarily be true – in fact, some products made with all-natural ingredients can worsen acne scarring and lead to further inflammation. 

This article will take you through a step-by-step process of how an effective skincare routine for acne scars can look like!

1: Use a Gentle Face Cleanser

For the best acne scar treatment, cleanse your face twice a day. Use a gentle cleanser without any harsh chemicals. You should try to avoid using bar soaps. Always use a clean towel when drying your face. 

Cleanse twice a day using the best acne scar treatment by washing with lukewarm water and patting dry. Use gentle, non-abrasive cleansers to avoid irritating it further. 

Avoid harsh chemicals such as sulfates or other detergents that can irritate the skin even more if you have active acne breakouts already. 

If possible, use a fresh cloth every time you wipe down your face instead of reusing dirty hand towels or washcloths from previous uses because they could harbor bacteria, which will only worsen your pores and cause increased inflammation.

2: Apply a Topical Acne Treatment to Your Skin

Topical treatments for acne include retinoids, which work by increasing skin cell turnover and reducing inflammation. Examples of popular topical treatments for acne scars are often found in the ‘post-acne scar’ section at your local drugstore or market. 

These products typically contain a mixture of ingredients that aids in fading dark spots from previous breakouts while treating current blemishes to prevent future ones from forming. In general, these types of creams should be applied once daily after cleansing your face. 

In addition to this, you can also apply an over-the-counter moisturizer formulated with niacinamide or vitamin E to help reduce discoloration left behind due to old pimples. This is especially helpful if you have lightened areas on your skin from old breakouts. 

There are other topical treatments that contain retinoids, which increase skin cell turnover and reduce inflammation, from the ‘post-acne scar’ section at your local drugstore or market. 

These products typically contain a mixture of ingredients to help fade dark spots from previous breakouts while treating current blemishes to prevent future ones from forming. In general, these types of creams should be applied once daily after cleansing your face.

3: Use an Over-The-Counter Retinoid Cream or Gel 

Retinoids contain vitamin A and help the surface of your skin slough off faster. This makes it harder for acne to get trapped beneath, where it can fester into scars. For best results, use a retinoid cream or gel every night. 

Retinoids are available over-the-counter at drugstores, such as tretinoin (which also goes by the brand names Retin A or Renova) and adapalene (Differin). In addition, you might be able to find it with another active ingredient that helps fight acne breakouts like benzoyl peroxide.

However, you’ll need a prescription for stronger formulas of both these medications, including tazarotene (Tazorac), which is what your dermatologist would likely prescribe if other topical treatments don’t work. 

As always, make sure you talk to your doctor before using any new skincare product—even one that’s sold over the counter. 

You’ll need a prescription for stronger formulas of both these medications, including tazarotene (Tazorac), which is what your dermatologist would likely prescribe if other topical treatments don’t work. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before using Retin-A.

4: Consider Using an OTC Benzoyl Peroxide

OTC benzoyl peroxide wash is available in different concentrations. If you have sensitive skin, consider using an OTC benzoyl peroxide gel or lotion instead of a wash. If the acne does not improve after several months, talk to your doctor about prescription treatment options. 

The topical retinoids tazarotene (Avage) and adapalene (Differin) can help reduce common signs of scarring. Alpha hydroxy acid peels may also be helpful for reducing fine facial scars; they’re usually combined with other treatments such as laser resurfacing to treat deeper scars. 

Other medications that may benefit include oral antibiotics to prevent infection or inflammation following breakouts: azelaic acid cream (Azelex, Finacea) and corticosteroid injections to reduce breakout severity. 

Additionally, you can also use some home remedies that have been known to work for many individuals, including applying honey directly on skin or using tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, or green tea, which may very well be what works for you!

5: Moisturize with a Lightweight Lotion or Oil That Will Not Clog Pores

To avoid over-drying the skin, stick with oil-free and lightweight lotions containing hyaluronic acid. Also, look for ingredients like niacinamide to reduce inflammation. Some of my favorite natural oils include rosehip, meadowfoam seed, hemp seed, olive fruit oil from organic olives that are hand-picked at their peak ripeness, sunflower seed, kukui nut, and argan. 

These can be used on their own or in combination, depending on your skin type. Some essential oils should not be applied directly onto the face but rather diluted into a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba oil. 

Plus, getting a test patch at the base of your neck to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction is always a good idea. Make sure to use high-quality essential oil and mix in small amounts so you do not waste the rest if it does not agree with your skin. 

Oils that may irritate, such as peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, and thyme, should be diluted at less than 0.25%. 

If using frankincense or lavender can occasionally lead to photosensitivity (sun sensitivity), apply these only after applying sun protection of SPF 15+. *Please do not take my word for granted.* The best thing is always to test yourself before going all out!

6: Avoid Touching, Picking, or Scratching Acne Scars

The worst thing you can do for acne scars is touch them. When you are itching, touching, or picking at your skin, it can cause more damage to the area and make things worse. Avoid using harsh chemicals on your face if possible. 

Harsh chemical products will dry out the top layer of the epidermis, which causes premature aging of the skin in that area! Also, avoid moisturizers with fragrance as this could trigger an acne breakout around that area. Finally, do not use harsh acne products. 

Harsh chemicals in these products can irritate and make the scars more noticeable. Do not pick at your skin; this does nothing to help it heal! 

Avoid using anything abrasive on the face, such as toners or exfoliators, because they could irritate the sensitive area where you have acne scarring. Most importantly, do not smoke!! 

Smoking leads to premature aging of your skin, which will show up very quickly in areas near scars, primarily wrinkles, and fine lines, so quit smoking for healthy-looking skin! After quitting smoking, the best thing you can do is take care of any damage already done by moisturizing with natural oils like jojoba oil, argan oil, etc.

7: Get Plenty of Sleep and Drink Lots of Water

The two most important things you can do to help fight acne and prevent scarring are getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water. Your skin heals itself while we’re sleeping, and it needs the right amount of hydration to repair itself properly. 

For acne scars, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. To get rid of acne scars, you need to be sure that your skin is hydrated enough. Water will help the scarred tissue appear smoother and more even in coloration. 

If you are not hydrated enough, your skin will look blotchy and spotty. You can try drinking cucumber juice to get the benefits of hydration without too much water weight. 

You may also want to consider a humidifier if your climate is arid, which will help your skin to stay hydrated. 

Not to mention, if you have a humidifier in your home, it will help with the dryness of winter skin. However, if you find that your acne scars are still prevalent even after drinking water and using a humidifier, consider adding supplements to your diets, such as vitamin C or collagen.

8: Use A Face Mask To Promote a Healthy Skin Barrier

There are thousands of different face masks on the market. Some can help clear acne and keep your skin glowing, while others will clog your pores or potentially cause a negative reaction if it contains aggravating ingredients. However, when used in the right setting, face masks can improve the health of your skin, reduce acne breakouts, and lessen hyperpigmentation. Our team put together a list of the best face masks for acne. This list shows the best type of face mask for every type of acne and skin type.


It is best to consult with a dermatologist if you are suffering from acne scars. They will determine the severity of your condition and recommend any treatment plans or medications that they believe are right for you. 

Many people choose anti-acne scar creams as their primary course in treating these unsightly marks on their skin.

However, many other options are available, including laser treatments that can help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), one type of discoloration commonly associated with acne scarring.

The most important thing to remember is that acne scars do not disappear overnight. The best way to fade your acne scars is through a combination of diet and skincare routine. Ideally, you should try to withhold from using makeup products when trying to clear up acne breakouts or acne scars. However, sometimes you need to wear makeup. If you do I highly recommend an acne-scar safe foundation that does not contain any comedogenic ingredients or skin irritants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Treatment for Acne and Acne Scars?

There is no magic treatment for acne or acne scars. Instead, the best results come from a combination of treatments, such as an over-the-counter topical medication and prescription medications like Retin A and Tazorac.

What Can I Do to Prevent Scarring? 

The most effective way to reduce your chances of developing more red marks or dark spots after breakouts is by keeping your skin clean and healthy-looking. Vitamin C serums help brighten skin tone over time, so it is worth trying out some vitamin C serum!

How can I Remove Scars From My Face Permanently?

Laser treatments may produce positive results in younger patients, even though some may argue that age does not matter as much if you are in good enough health for it to be of any benefit at all.

Originally Published: November 23, 2021

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi, I’m Sam Wood, the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach at GoodGlow, as well as a best-selling author for one of the top acne books on Amazon. I struggled with acne for over 10 years, and began studying the effects of diet on skin quality while pursuing a degree in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Missouri. After shifting from mainstream skincare trends to in-depth research in medical journals, I experienced significant personal success in managing my acne. This inspired me to start GoodGlow, where I simplify complex scientific findings into easy-to-understand advice. With over 10 years in the field, I’ve helped more than 2,500 people achieve clearer skin through natural, holistic methods, and I’m dedicated to personally assisting those seeking guidance on their acne journey.

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