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Ask Belle: Fading Acne Scars

Hi Belle,

I, like you, have had to deal with adult acne for quite some time now. Luckily, thanks to a miracle doctor, the acne itself has been largely under control for the past six months or so (yay!), but I still feel super self-conscious about my face because of all the scars that years of acne have left. Do you know of any good products out there that help fade scars without causing new breakouts? 

Thanks! ES

Acne scars are a scourge.  You cure the plague of blemishes, only to be left with the wreckage.

Paula’s Choice Scar Treatment Gel has Quercetin and Vitamin-C to fade dark spots and smooth skin.  It comes highly recommended.  For a drugstore option, try this Garnier Skin Renew Clinical treatment.

I’ve also tried Mederma’s PM overnight scar cream.  It noticeably helped a deeper scar on my cheek, but it’s not a miracle cure.  I’ve been advised by a dermatologist that if I want better results, laser resurfacing is my only option.



  1. Parker says:

    I’ve had good luck with the French pharmacy brand. Both Avene Pigment Correct (mostly for fading) as well as La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (for fading but really helps dry out lumps). Best of luck, ES.

    March 23, 2015/Reply
  2. Alexis says:

    Obaji Nu-Derm Blender #5 works well for me. It’s expensive, but the bottle lasts. I’m not sure if you absolutely have to use it with a retinol or not though, I do.

    March 23, 2015/Reply
  3. Rachel says:

    My acne scars aren’t too dark or deep, but I’ve noticed that, since switching to Thayers Rose Water Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free toner last year, I’ve seen a gradual lightening of the scars I do have.

    March 23, 2015/Reply
  4. K says:

    I’ve been using a mandelic acid peel twice a week and I’ve noticed a big change in my acne scars! I got mine from and can’t recommend them enough!

    March 23, 2015/Reply
    • Sarah says:

      K – what’s the name of the mandelic acid peel you use from that site?

      March 24, 2015/Reply
  5. meg says:

    Belle, I’m in the same boat but I’d been waiting to the end of my 20s to get it done. How did you find out about Clear + Brilliant? Are you considering it? Do you know anyone who has had success with it? I would love to know more.

    March 23, 2015/Reply
  6. MP says:

    I’m 27 and recently completed my 4th Permea Clear + Brilliant treatment (I had one treatment every 4 weeks). I wouldn’t get another treatment, though. What has helped my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation the most is my prescription for Finacea, an azaleic acid gel. I should add that I don’t have indented scars, just reddish dots as well as a little melasma.

    March 23, 2015/Reply
  7. Amanda says:

    If you have a lot of post-acne red spots (not talking about the deep scars, but the postinflammatory hyperpigmentation that can last), I find a good salicylic acid treatment to be really helpful. I’m 27 (acne prone since age 12) and use Stridex Maximum Strength pads (red box, sold many places) – they’re inexpensive, and the formula is the right pH for the acid to be effective. Just wipe one over your (clean) face or shoulders or wherever, let it sit for about 30 min – then moisturize. It does need time to sit on your bare skin and work, so if you immediately put another product over the acid you won’t see much benefit. If its not too drying for you, daily use is fine. Hope this is helpful!

    March 23, 2015/Reply