Click Here To Schedule A Consultation

Schedule a Consultation

  • Note: We do not offer virtual consultations
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Fade Acne Scars

One of the main reasons patients come to consult dermatologists, like Dr. Michele Green, is her expertise in treating acne scars and hyperpigmentation, as well as acne.  Most dermatologists frequently treat acne patients in their practices, since acne breakouts are a common occurrence. For some patients, the basic problem is finding and using the right skincare products. For others, it is a hormonal or systemic problem which created their acne breakouts and pimples.  The result of these breakouts is often hyperpigmentation, caused by the inflammation of the acne.  This resulting hyperpigmentation  is a serious cosmetic concern to patients which needs to be treated. Today, dermatology not only addresses the acne and treats the underlying cause, but also treats the hyperpigmentation though various lightening methods.

What Causes the Dark Spots?

When a patient has acne breakouts, if it is not treated immediately, it can become inflamed.  It is this inflammation which causes the surrounding skin to initially get red and inflamed, then ultimately hyperpigmented. It is this discoloration, hyperpigmentation and dark spots which cause your skin tone  to appear uneven in color and appear like acne scars. Luckily, Dr. Green has many treatments and creams including her MGSKINLABS, Inc line of products which combat the acne scars.

Topical Skincare Treatments to Prevent Acne Breakouts and Treat the Dark Spots

Topical treatments to fade acne scars begins with a good skin care routine. Proper skin care begins with the right face wash to help prevent blemishes and acne breakouts.  Dr. Green recommends a gentle cleanser followed by a toner to properly clean the skin.  For more acne prone skin, Dr. Green recommends a cleanser containing salicylic acid for a deeper cleaning. Many patients use a combination of over-the-counter retinols, combined with topical Vitamin C serums.  

Retinols are especially good at skin cell turnover. Skinceuticals and Neutrogena, among other cosmetic companies, make some excellent cleansers and oil-free moisturizers. It is important if you have acne prone skin to look for products which say that they are non-comedogenic, which means that they don’t create more acne or blackheads.  Retinols, Vitamin E and Vitamin C can be used to treat the discoloration and dark spots from acne.  In addition, a number of alpha hydroxy acid cleansers, kojic acid products and creams can also help treat the skin for this discoloration.  Dr. Michele Green utilizes her MGSKINLabs, Inc. which is uniquely formulated with hydroquinones and Retinoids to treat these blemishes and help reduce the pigmentation and acne scarring.  

Skin brightening, or lightening, is one of Dr. Green’s main specialties.  Hydroquinones are lightening agents which slowly reduce the dark spots caused by this inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Dr Green often combines these hydroquinone and retinoid products with chemical peels, since this helps expedite the process of exfoliation. Through this chemical exfoliation, the top layers of skin are shed, removing the dead skin cells and rejuvenating the skin more efficiently.

What causes these dark acne marks?

These dark acne scars are formed as an inflammatory reaction to the the breakout itself. Bacteria and sebum leave a blemish on your skin.  This dark mark, which appears as an acne scar, can last for along time after the pimple has healed up.  The dark color after the pimple revolves is the body’s accumulation of melanin in that area.  The more melanin which is produced, the darker the patch of skin. Through treating this excess melanin, either through creams, peels, microdermabrasion, or microneedling, the top layers of pigmentation are exfoliated and the healing process ensues. An expert in acne scars, like Dr. Michele Green, will give you the best combination of creams and treatments to treat your dark acne marks and hyperpigmentation and leave you with beautiful clear skin.

Why is sunscreen important for fading acne scars?

Proper sunscreen  is very important to use while treating these dark acne marks, since continued sun exposure will make these marks darker and exacerbate the hyperpigmentation.  Proper daily use of SPF is essential for making sure that these dark spots  lighten. It is especially important when using hydroquinones and retinoids to remember to use your sunscreen. All of these skin lightening products make your skin more photosensitive.  It is vitally important during the treatment of your acne scars to practice strict sun protection. Patients who don’t avoid the sun and use these products run the risk of even darker skin.  Darker skin types are just as prone to this hyperpigmentation from the sun and should use an SPF 30 or higher each day.

How can I get rid of acne scars?

There are a number of procedures which help with skin lightening and increasing skin cell turnover to brighten your skin.  Once your acne zits are under control with the right combination of topical creams and oral medications, chemical peels and microneedling are fantastic ways to help treat this underlying hyperpigmentation. For deeper scars, such as icepick scars, boxcar scars, atrophic scars, or raised scars, there are different methods of resurfacing with lasers which are highly effective.  Dr. Michele Green uses a combination of lasers such as Fraxel and eMatrix, and cosmetic injectables such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Sculptra, to help treat these more difficult acne scars.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are the mainstay of treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and improve the appearance of these dark spots. Different acids can be used for these chemicals peels, which include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and trichloroacetic acid. Different strengths of acids are utilized,  based on the degree of pigmentation, together with your skin type. Through this chemical exfoliation, the damaged skin is removed and new skin is formed with new collagen production. Patients with darker skin, skin type III or darker, cannot tolerate as strong an acid as patients with lighter, skin type 1, so special care in the strength of the acid peel is an important consideration. A series of chemical peels, combined with retinols and hydroquinones, can treat these dark spots, lighten them, and return your skin to beautiful, clear skin.


Another excellent method for treating these superficial acne scars is microneedling.  Microneedling with hyaluronic acid or with PRP are highly effective at treating these marks and generating new collagen and producing an even skin tone. PRP is replete with growth factors which aid in the healing process and reducing facial discoloration.  Proper sunscreen use is important after microneedling since the top layer of your skin is exfoliating, and new clear skin is being revealed.

Over-the-Counter Skin Lightening Creams for scar treatment 

It can be so confusing going to Sephora, searching though Amazon, or your local drug store to determine which cream would be helpful to treat the dark marks from your acne. There are myriad of products which say that they fix raised scars, hyperpigmentation, or scar tissue.  There are some excellent over the counter products, which you can purchase without a prescription, such as from  Murad and Skinceuticals for acne and blemishes. However, for the best results, it is always best to consult with a board certified dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green, who is an expert in treating acne scars.

If you’re frustrated with the appearance of your acne or acne scars, there’s finally a solution that can help. Find out more and contact Dr. Green online, or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about whether our approach toward acne treatment and acne scar treatment may be right for you.

Related Topics

Call Us (212) 535-3088