The Scoop On Acne Scars, Plus 6 Treatments That Will Kick ‘Em To The Curb

Polka dots: super-cute on clothes, not so cute on your face. Sadly, when acne pops up, it’s not just the zit itself that can be a bummer — acne blemishes are wounds, so just like any other time that your skin is inflamed, a scar can be left behind for weeks. To figure out how to prevent and treat acne scarring, we reached out to dermatologist Dr. Ronald Moy, who gave us the low-down on how to de-spot our visages. 

To keep your skin clear, the key is to start with prevention — and since acne is technically a skin infection, it should be treated as such. “One of the most effective ways to address acne is by targeting it at its root cause: bacteria,” says Dr. Moy. “You can kill bacteria with prescription antibiotics, but there are natural options — such as sandalwood oil — which kills acne bacteria on contact.” 

When acne does crop up (and let’s be honest, no matter how rigorous we are with our skin care routines, we always seem to end up with a big fat one at least once a month), Dr. Moy says that the key with scar prevention is to baby your complexion as you treat it, to avoid traumatizing your already-irritated skin. If you have deep scarring, Dr. Moy says, you may want to see your dermatologist to receive a laser treatment, but for your everyday spots and red marks, there are a number of products that will encourage cell turnover to reveal a more even skin tone with regular use. 

Scroll through to see some of our favorite scar-busting picks.


Designed to help diminish the appearance of both old and new scars, this spankin’ new treatment uses a rollerball to apply the perfect dose of the high-tech formula, which includes DS-7 — a microencapsulated peptide that encourages cell turnover and renewal for a smoother visage. 

Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum, $45, available at Kate Somerville.


This potent pick attacks hyperpigmentation from all angles with a mix of antioxidants, retinol, ferulic acid, salicylic acid, and willowbark. Bonus for you green girls: the formula is vegan and paraben- and cruelty-free. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, $85, available at Sephora.


If lasering seems too hardcore for you, hit up this treatment. It uses AA2G, a lightening agent that — in combination with seven vitamins and nutrients — evens out your skin tone without irritating your face. 

Dr. Jart+ V7 Vita Laser, $72, available at BeautyBar.


This soothing mask includes kojic acid, licorice, and mulberry to lighten hyperpigmentation both from acne scars and from sun damage. The mask is acid-free, which makes it a great option if you have a sensitive complexion. 

Mario Badescu Whitening Mask, $24, available at Nordstrom.


To help his patients fight minor acne scarring at home, Dr. Moy developed his DNA Scar Therapy, which is formulated with “silicone and sunflower seed oil to expedite healing and DNA repair enzymes and beta glucans to replenish and strengthen the damaged, discolored skin.” 

DNA EGF Renewal DNA Scar Therapy, $45, available at DNA EGF Renewal.


This serum from Sunday Riley includes lactic acid for gentle exfoliation and squalene, which aids in the repair of the skin’s outer layers. 

Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment, $105, available at Sephora.

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