How to treat Acne scars

Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are often found in products made to treat acne since they help to remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores. Even better, AHAs can also help make acne scars appear less noticeable. The mild acid exfoliates the outer layer of the skin to help remove discoloration and rough skin.
Best for: all types of acne scars

Lactic acid
A small 2010 study found that dermatologist-performed lactic acid peels done once every 2 weeks for 3 months improved the texture, appearance, and pigmentation of the skin and lightened acne scars. There are countless peels, serums, and ointments with lactic acid, but you can also use diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner or spot treatment thanks to its natural lactic acid. But apple cider, as well as other at-home treatments, are potentially harsh on sensitive skin. They should always be tested to a small area of the skin before starting treatment with the product. If the skin is sensitive and the product is applied, there’s potential for inflammation and irritation, which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Best for: all types of acne scars

Topical retinoids are another acne treatment with scar-smoothing benefits. In addition to speeding up your cell regeneration and improving your skin’s texture, retinoids can also help reduce discoloration and make scars less noticeable, according to a 2017 reviewTrusted Source. But they can also make your skin especially sensitive to the sun. Always wear sunscreen daily when using anything that contains retinoids. You can find creams and serums with retinoids over the counter, but a healthcare professional can also prescribe you higher concentrations. Look for products that list retinol as one of the active ingredients.
Best for: atrophic or depressed scars

Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid clears pores, reduces swelling and redness, and exfoliates the skin when applied topically. It’s considered to be one of the best treatments for acne scars. You can add products with salicylic acid into your daily routine, or your skin care specialist may use it for less frequent chemical peels. It might take a few weeks to see a difference when using salicylic acid. It can also cause dryness or irritation. You may need to use the product less often or try spot treating if you have sensitive skin.
Best for: all acne scars

It is vital to wear sunscreen every day over scars. Sun exposure can darken scars making them more noticeable.
Best for: all acne scars

Dermabrasion is one of the most effective and common treatments for facial scars. While it uses the same general principle as the microdermabrasion kits you can do at home, healthcare professionals use tools to more deeply exfoliate the top layer of the skin.
Best for: scars close to the surface like shallow boxcar or rolling scars. But deeper scars may also become less noticeable

Chemical peels
A chemical peel is a strong acid that’s used to remove the top layer of the skin to reduce deeper scars. Some chemical peels are mild enough to be used at home, but a healthcare professional can provide a stronger solution with more dramatic results. There are many different types of chemical peels, so it’s best to talk with a healthcare professional about which one is right for you.
Best for: all types of acne scars, often used for deeper scars

Laser resurfacing
Much like a chemical peel and dermabrasion, laser resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin. This treatment typically has a faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments. But you have to keep the area covered with a bandage until it’s completely healed. This treatment is also not a good option for anyone who’s still getting breakouts, and it’s not as effective on darker skin tones.
Best for: all acne scars and lighter skin tones

Healthcare professionals use fillers to fill in acne scars and help even out the skin. The fillers can be made with collagen, your own fat, or a commercial filler. They’re injected under the surface of the skin to help plump up and smooth out depressed scars. Most fillers last between 6 and 18 months before they need to be redone, but some are permanent.
Best for: someone with a small number of boxcar or rolling scars

This newer treatment uses a small, handheld, needle-studded roller or a handheld “pen” on the surface of the scars. The needles puncture the numbed skin — but don’t go through it like a shot! As the skin heals, it makes collagen. There’s evidence to suggest that microneedling helps reduce the depth of acne scars. Still, this treatment can take up to 9 months to see changes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Outside of the slight fear factor, it’s a safe treatment that works for all skin tones.
Best for: depressed acne scars

There are a few different medications that can be injected into raised scars to help soften and flatten them, including corticosteroids and chemotherapy drugs fluorouracil (5-FU) and interferons. The injections are usually performed as a series, with one every few weeks.
Best for: raised scars

A healthcare professional can lift the scar by loosening the fibers beneath it to help bring it closer to the surface, so it’s less noticeable. Dermatologists or plastic surgeons can remove a very noticeable scar and leave behind a small scar that will fade with time.
Best for: deep, depressed scars and raised scars

Used alongside other treatments, this may help reduce the edges of boxcar acne scars, making the skin appear flatter and less indented. A doctor will use electric probes to heat the skin and kills the tissues that cause the edges around the scars.

Laser treatment
Laser treatment resurfaces the skin without the use of chemicals or scrubs. It removes the uppermost layer of skin to reveal the younger skin cells underneath, which can help reduce the appearance of scarring. It can help reduce the appearance and texture of raised scars. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser can also help reduce the color of hyperpigmented scars. Intense pulsed light treatment may be a better option for people with pale skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Laser treatment is not suitable for everyone. This will depend on the type of acne scarring and the person’s skin type. The treatment may also cause a reaction in some people, especially those with sensitive skin.