Oftentimes, after the acne has healed, it leaves behind its mark in the form of a scar. This can be another blow to the self-esteem of acne sufferers who after already had endured their days with pimples.

Usually, acne scars develop at the end of the skin inflammation. As we have seen, when we get a pimple, that is when dead skin cells start to clog up the pores and the skin then get inflamed with bacteria. When the pore swells, this can break the follicle wall damaging the surrounding skin tissue. This is what then becomes a car on the skin. Depending on how large the pore swelled up, the scarring also varies. As you can imagine, the more shallow and smaller ones are easier to treat. The scars can be grouped into two main categories: Atrophic scars which are caused by a loss of tissue and hypertrophic scars which are caused by an excess of tissue. There are three types of atrophic scars (ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars). When our skin becomes discolored, bumpy, or raised, that is a so-called hypertrophic scar. Keloids are a more severe type of hypertrophic scar.

Even if dark spots left on the skin after it’s healed is not technically a scar, it’s very common. Hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of the healing process after inflammation. The discoloration is not raised nor pitted, it is “just” like normal skin but darker.

Now that we know how an acne scar is formed, we can look at how to heal them. Before resorting to more abrasive treatments, you may want to take a look into home remedies. Chemical peels, laser and filler treatments, and oral medication need an experienced dermatologist and puts a bigger strain on the wallet.

To heal scarring, the focus should be on encouraging collagen and elastin fiber production as well as exfoliation. Collagen is a structural protein with anti-aging properties. This stimulates cell growth and repair which helps the resilience and appearance of our skin. A slow and reduced collagen production is not beneficial for wound and scar healing. Exfoliation on the other hand helps to smooth out skin texture.

Over The Counter Remedies

Salicylic Acid

Often, salicylic acid is included in over the counter acne treatments. It’s a beta hydroxy acid and because it’s oil-soluble, it can penetrate through the lipid layers between the skin cells where it dissolves dead skin cells that clog the pores. It acts as an exfoliant and can help with the appearance of scars.


Retinoids (the umbrella word for all vitamin A derivatives) are often used for acne treatment. They stimulate new skin cell production while promoting exfoliation of dead skin cells. This helps soften and smooth the surface of the skin.

Natural Remedies

Aloe Vera

Photo by Ergita Sela

This plant is used for all kinds of skin irritations since – it seems – forever. It boosts wound healing while decreases skin inflammation. Then, it increases collagen and elastin fiber production, thus helping to repair scarred tissue. As Aloe vera contains sulfur and salicylic acid, it helps dry up the pimples. Last but not least, it is considered a powerful antioxidant.

If you can find the plant – it’s a popular houseplant, use the fresh gel-like substance directly from the aloe vera leaf. You can also buy the over-the-counter aloe gels. You can apply the aloe vera gel directly to the affected area. You may want to cover it with some plastic wrap. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then rinse it off.

Apple Cider Vinegar

is strongly acidic, when you apply it to the skin, it removes the outer layers of the skin and stimulates regeneration. This process is called “chemical peeling” and can help reduce the appearance of scars. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, if you put it undiluted on your skin, it can cause burns. Always dilute it with water and only apply small amounts at a time.

Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 3 teaspoons of water. Apply this mixture with a cotton pad or tip to the scar and leave it on for 5 – 10 seconds, then rinse off. If you feel it is too strong, dilute the vinegar with more water.


Photo by Markus Winkler

Cucumber as the above-mentioned aloe vera is mostly made of water. It contains silica that is an essential mineral for our body and a key ingredient for connective tissue repair. It also contains many antioxidants such as A, C, and E. Its calming and cooling properties help to reduce redness and inflammation. You can use it like aloe vera on your skin or simply it.

Don’t Smoke

Research has shown that smoking and skin damage go hand in hand. Smoking dampens the production of collagen that is needed to heal the skin.


Citrus fruits in general are known to have high levels of vitamin C. This antioxidant promotes collagen production. It acts as a natural lightening agent and can help fade dark spots on the skin. As lemon juice is acidic, it falls into the “chemical peel” category and warrants caution just like when using apple cider vinegar.

Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice on the scarred areas. After 5 minutes rinse of. When you use this method, always were sunscreen after applying lemon juice and do not expose the areas to direct sunlight.

You can also try lemon oil, as it has the same properties as lemon juice. Keep in mind that lemon oil is much stronger. You therefore, need to dilute it with a carrier oil (like coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc.) or with water.

Mix 1 drop of lemon oil with 1/4 teaspoon of carrier oil. Apply the mixture with a cotton tip. Rinse off after 30 minutes.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is extracted from seeds of the rose plant. It contains essential fatty acids and vitamins including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin D. It also has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that can help with reoccurring acne. With its high levels of vitamins A and C, it exfoliates the skin while promoting collagen production. Once a day, apply the rosehip oil directly to the scars.

Remember, home remedies take a lot of time to heal your skin. The best way to get rid of acne scars is to determine the causes of acne and eliminate them.

Do you know more ways to heal acne scars? Let us know in the comments.

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