How to Treat Acne Scars at Home and in the Clinic


As if breakouts weren’t enough, the unflattering scars they leave behind can be an unfortunate reminder of previous skin problems. Luckily, today’s savvy skincare options can rescue previously damaged skin with easy at-home and professional treatments.

What Causes Acne Scars?

Much like the pimples that cause them, acne-related scars come in a number of shapes and sizes:

  • Depressed scars: Most common on the face, these scars create an indentation in the skin. The depth of the scars can vary depending on the shape. Where wide, u-shaped scars tend to be shallow, narrower, v-shaped scars can extend deep below the skin’s surface.
  • Raised scars: While more common on the chest and back, these scars are especially visible as they sit higher than the surrounding skin. This the result of too much collagen developing in the area as the scar heals.
  • Dark spots: Discoloration from previous blemishes can impact overall skin tone, leading to self-consciousness among patients.

Professional Acne Scarring Treatment

Whether you’re a skincare novice or religiously follow the latest cosmetic dermatology news, any new skincare regimen should start with a visit to a trusted expert. 

This is especially important before trying any tips and tricks found online. While many are created with good intentions, there’s no guarantee that the recipe for an at-home facial mask made from pantry items will work for your skin. Dermatologists with experience in cosmetic treatment solutions have valuable expertise that can help ensure that whatever treatments you choose will enhance your overall appearance, address your specific problems, and protect your skin from long-term damage.

Another perk that comes with visiting a specialist for professional acne scar treatment is that your dermatologist can create a comprehensive treatment strategy that incorporates both professional solutions with at-home maintenance routines. This dual approach not only means longer-lasting results, but it can also be more cost-effective in the long run. 

Depending on the condition, depth and appearance of your current acne scars, our specialist may recommend one of the following professional treatments: 

  • Chemical Peels: Tried and true chemical peels have long been the go-to for patients, especially those with deeper acne scars. With professional-grade products applied by an expert, you will experience chemical exfoliation of the dead, scarred skin tissue to reveal healthy, smooth skin just below the surface.
  • Laser Therapy: Another popular professional treatment, laser skin rejuvenation targets and removes the damaged top layers of skin to reveal healthy clear skin. Depending on the depth of treatment, more than one session may be necessary in order to achieve a person’s long-term goals.
  • Microneedling: During this procedure, ultra-fine needles are applied directly to the scars, creating microtrauma to the skin. The body’s natural healing process responds almost immediately and begins generating collagen in the treatment area. The result is smoother skin texture.

At-Home Treatments for Acne Scarring

Once home, there are a number of safe solutions patients can use to help reduce the size and appearance of their scars. 

  • Alpha Hydroxy Exfoliants: Products with alpha-hydroxy acid are uniquely designed to help address acne at every stage. By removing dead skin cells and keeping pores clear, these soaps and lotions are an excellent addition to ongoing skincare regimens. Post-breakout, these products can make scars look less noticeable.
  • Lactic Acid: Much like its professional counterpart, this treatment helps exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and keep pores unclogged. When used consistently as part of an ongoing skincare routine, patients can improve their overall skin texture and tone, prolonging the results of their professional treatments.
  • Sunscreen: Blocking harmful UV rays isn’t just critical for preventing skin cancer – it can also help reduce the appearance of acne scars. As scars heal, the newly developing skin can darken faster than surrounding tissue. This can increase discoloration and make unwanted scars even more prominent. Use an SPF 30 or higher cover your skin if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors to minimize the appearance of your scars.

Start Treatment at Desert Med Aesthetics

With these tips and best practices from Indian Wells cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Cosgrove, you can enjoy clear, smooth skin with minimal evidence of past outbreaks. To explore your options, contact Desert Med Aesthetics and schedule your consultation today!