Types Of Acne Scars And How To Treat Them Naturally At Home

Understanding and conquering various types of acne scars and a guide to treatments.

Reviewed by Donna Kay Parrish, Licensed Esthetician Donna Kay Parrish Donna Kay ParrishLicensed Esthetician facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Annie Jangam Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 11 years
Edited by , Associate Editor Eshna Das Associate Editor Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Monomita Chakraborty Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 2 years
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Acne can be stressful and impact your overall well-being. However, some can be minimized by treatments and home remedies, while some may leave stubborn scar marks. There are several types of acne scars, and not all are the same. Some are shallow and may fade easily, while others can be deep. This article explains the different types of acne scars you may develop, identifying and dealing with them, the available treatments, and more. Keep reading to know more.

Different Types Of Acne Scars

1. Atrophic Scars

You will get atrophic scars if you suffer from severe cystic acne. These scars appear as shallow depressions on your skin. There are 3 types of atrophic scars:

  • Boxcar scars: These have a box-like appearance and are caused due to acne or chickenpox. These are found on the lower cheeks and the jaw.

2. Keloid And Hypertrophic Scars

These scars are caused due to insect bites, surgery, acne, or chickenpox. They are formed by the excessive deposit of collagen under your skin (1). They manifest as raised lumps.

There are several treatments available to help manage the appearance of hypertrophic scars. Here are some of the options your doctor may recommend:

  • Corticosteroid Injections: This treatment involves injecting steroids into the acne scars every six weeks to help flatten and soften them.
  • Bleomycin: This is a medication that is injected into the scar to damage the overgrown cells and improve the appearance of the scars and reduce pain and itching. They are often used in combination with corticosteroid injections and laser therapy.
  • Cryotherapy: This procedure involves using extremely cold liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy scar tissue, which helps flatten the scar.
  • Surgery: This option is usually opted for when other treatment options have failed to provide the desired results. This treatment involves removing the scar-causing tissue to help re-heal the injury.

3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is not technically a scar, though it is often considered so. It happens when your acne heals and forms a discolored patch on your skin. This kind of hyperpigmentation can be treated with the use of a good sunscreen.

Identifying the type of scar you have can help you pick the right mode of treatment. However, the natural remedies listed in the next section could work on most scar types.

Natural Remedies To Treat Acne Scars

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (2), (3). These properties may help reduce the scars by accelerating the wound healing process.

What You Will Need

  • Tea tree oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Take 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil in your palm.
  2. Apply the oil all over your face.
  3. Follow with your regular skin care routine.

How Often You Should Do This

Do it every day.

2. Turmeric Powder

Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that helps control the excess production of melanin (4). Melanin is the component that adds pigment to your scar, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Using turmeric on your face may help treat hyperpigmentation. Meanwhile, honey may help reduce acne scars, thanks to its wound healing and moisturizing properties (5).

What You Will Need

  • ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the turmeric powder and honey in a bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture all over your face.
  3. Leave it on your face for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Wash with lukewarm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do it 2 to 3 times a week.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar is a great exfoliant and may help exfoliate the upper layer of your skin. This action may help face acne scars.

What You Will Need

  • A bottle of apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle

What You Have To Do

  1. Take a spray bottle and fill half of the bottle with ACV and the remaining half with water.
  2. Mix well and spray the mixture every day after washing your face.
  3. You can leave the ACV on your face and let it get absorbed into your skin.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every day.

4. Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is known for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. It may fade your acne scars (6). Virgin coconut oil traps moisture under your skin and may potentially help reduce acne scarring. Moreover, the oil also helps in collagen production and may boost wound healing (7).

What You Will Need

  • 2 to 3 drops of virgin coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply the oil all over your face and massage well.
  2. Do not wash your face afterward.
  3. Let the oil soak into your skin. You may do this in the night, before hitting the bed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every day.

5. Lemon Juice And Honey

Honey is known for its wound healing and moisturizing effects (5). Anecdotal evidence suggests that lemon may work as a bleaching agent and help lighten your skin tone. These ingredients together may help fade the acne scars.

What You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 to 3 drops of lemon juice

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the honey and lemon juice.
  2. Apply the mixture all over your face.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash your face with lukewarm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week.

6. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known for its wound healing properties (8). Topical use of the plant may help reduce acne scars. Aloe vera also contains aloesin. Aloesin is believed to reduce the excess production of melanin in the skin, thereby reducing hyperpigmentation (9).

What You Will Need

  • An aloe vera branch

What You Have To Do

  1. Remove the gel from the aloe vera branch.
  2. Apply the gel all over your face.
  3. Leave it on for 1 to 2 hours and wash your face with cold water.
  4. Alternatively, you can also use aloe vera gel available on the market.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this every day.

A blogger applied aloe vera on her acne-scarred face for 7 days to see if it would help reduce the appearance of acne scars. After seven days, she noticed that although the scars were not completely gone, they reduced significantly. She wrote, “My larger breakout areas completely smoothed out and the redness was minimized. A few blemishes also banished within the week of using Aloe Vera, mainly in the temple area (i).”

protip_icon Pro Tip
You can also try moisturizing your skin with vitamin E oil directly or by mixing it with aloe vera gel to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

These are the natural remedies that have the potential to fade acne scars. However, direct research on these is limited. You may also opt for other cosmetic procedures to reduce your scars (after consulting your doctor). We have listed them below.

Other Ways To Treat Acne Scars

1. Chemical Peels

Using chemical peels may help exfoliate the outer layer of your skin. This may help reduce the appearance of your acne scars over time (10). Some of the widely used chemical peels are glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Both these acids are safe for use on the skin and deliver good results.

2. Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a process of removing the outer damaged layer of your skin. This procedure also helps stimulate collagen production (10). Opting for this procedure may help reduce acne scars. However, keep in mind that laser therapy may not help treat deep ice pick scars.

3. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is another method of exfoliating your face with the help of a diamond tip (10). This process also helps remove the damaged outer layer of your skin and may help fade the acne scars.

4. Micro-needling

Micro-needling is a process of creating tiny pricks on the surface of your skin. This process triggers your skin to produce collagen, which may help reduce the appearance of scars and improve skin texture (11).

Following are a few tips that may help prevent acne scars/reduce their severity.

Tips To Prevent Acne Scars

  • Wash and exfoliate your face regularly.
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed.
  • Never pop your pimple. A popping pimple may leave scars on your face.
  • Use a good sunscreen, preferably with SPF 30 or higher. Anecdotal evidence suggests that using sunscreen every day may help reduce the risk of acne scars.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eat more fruits, veggies, and complex carbs. Cut down on junk and sugary foods.
protip_icon Pro Tip
Exfoliate your skin once a week with natural ingredients like sugar, oats, or baking soda to speed up the process of scar removal and skin renewal.

Despite taking adequate measures, you may still have to consult a dermatologist. When should you do that?

When To See A Dermatologist

Most people with acne scars do not need to consult a dermatologist as their scars fade away with the right treatment methods. However, if you observe no results despite prolonged treatment (more than a year), you may have to consult your dermatologist and consider alternative treatment options.

Acne scars may heal significantly over time, but they are unlikely to disappear entirely. They are, however, simple to treat if done correctly. Do not be concerned or stressed over them. Instead, use natural remedies, limit sun exposure, drink plenty of water, and keep a close eye on your diet. Acne scars usually heal on their own and improve with time. Unfortunately, treatment is required if you notice permanent changes in the skin color or indentations. It is critical to treat acne scars at the earliest if you want excellent outcomes. Following consultation with your dermatologist, you may seek medical treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do acne scars worsen with age?

Yes, aging can result in loss of collagen and elasticity. This may result in your acne scars looking more severe (12).

Can acne scars spread?

Yes, this depends on the severity of the scar. Sallow lesions heal quickly without leaving a scar. Deeper acne lesions may spread to the nearby tissues which may result in a severe and noticeable scar.

Can acne scars turn white?

Yes, acne scars can turn white. This happens due to the loss of melanocytes from a trauma, inflammation, or injury.

Is it better to treat acne scars early?

Yes, treating acne scars early may prevent further acne and scarring. Consult your dermatologist for proper treatment.

Does massaging help acne scars?

Yes, anecdotal evidence suggests that facial massage may improve circulation and clear your skin of toxins. This may improve the overall appearance of your skin.

Is vitamin C serum good for acne scars?

Yes, sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a derivative of vitamin c that may reduce inflammation and acne scarring (13), (14).

Does benzoyl peroxide remove acne scars?

Yes, benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial properties that may kill bacteria and improve the appearance of your scars. It may also reduce the risk of developing acne scars further (15).

Does sleep help acne scars?

Studies suggest that lack of sleep may contribute to acne (16). Sleeping allows your skin to heal itself. However, sleep alone may not help improve acne scars. A combination of proper skincare routine, a well-balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and right treatment may reduce your acne scars over time.

Can vitamin E oil help acne?

Yes, a combination of vitamin E and zinc may reduce inflammation, sebum levels, and acne lesions (17).

Key Takeaways

  • Atrophic scars that look like shallow depressions on the skin are more common with severe cystic acne.
  • Keloid and hypertrophic scars look like raised lumps and are formed from the excessive deposit of collagen under the skin due to acne, surgery, chickenpox, or insect bites.
  • Hyperpigmentation looks like a discolored patch on the skin and happens after the acne heals.
  • Tea tree oil, turmeric powder, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, lemon, honey and aloe vera are key ingredients in various natural home remedies that can be used to treat or reduce acne scars.
  • Microneedling, laser therapy, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are other treatment options for removing acne scars.


Explore professional treatments for different types of acne scars, ranging from laser therapy to chemical peels, and improve overall skin texture under the guidance of skin care professionals. Check the video below for more.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars Are the Result of Chronic Inflammation in the Reticular Dermis,
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372622/
  2. Plants of the Melaleuca Genus as Antimicrobial Agents: From Farm to Pharmacy,
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28782167/
  3. A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology,
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2012.05654.x
  4. Curcumin Inhibits Melanogenesis in Human Melanocytes,
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.3517
  5. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology,
    https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/458416
  6. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil,
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411017300871
  7. Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats,
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20523108/
  8. Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of a growth substance in Aloe vera,
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8169808/
  9. Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review,
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843359/
  10. Effective Treatments of Atrophic Acne Scars,
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445894/
  11. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology,
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556180/
  12. Multimodal Management of Atrophic Acne Scarring in the Aging Face
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236289/
  13. Sodium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate 5% lotion for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20367669/
  14. Comparison of clinical efficacies of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, retinol and their combination in acne treatment
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19134126/
  15. Prevention and Reduction of Atrophic Acne Scars with Adapalene 0.3%/Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Gel in Subjects with Moderate or Severe Facial Acne: Results of a 6-Month Randomized, Vehicle-Controlled Trial Using Intra-Individual Comparison
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323811026_Prevention_and_Reduction_of_Atrophic_Acne_Scars_with_Adapalene_03Benzoyl_Peroxide_25_Gel_in_Subjects_with_Moderate_or_Severe_Facial_Acne_Results_of_a_6-Month_Randomized_Vehicle-Controlled_Trial_Using_
  16. The Relationship between Sleep Quality and Students’ Acne Vulgaris Severity at Medical Faculty Universitas Kristen Indonesia
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342009345_The_Relationship_between_Sleep_Quality_and_Students%27_Acne_Vulgaris_Severity_at_Medical_Faculty_Universitas_Kristen_Indonesia
  17. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the efficacy and safety of lactoferrin with vitamin E and zinc as an oral therapy for mild to moderate acne vulgaris
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28369875/

(i) CAN ALOE VERA CLEAR HORMONAL ACNE/SCARS IN 1 WEEK?
https://the-dailycatchup.blogspot.com/2018/06/can-aloe-vera-clear-hormonal-acnescars.html

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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