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Best Medicine to Treat Acne Scars

author image Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.
Best Medicine to Treat Acne Scars
Learn the best medications for treating acne scars. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images


Acne scars come in four basic forms: rolling, boxcar, ice-pick and keloid. Rolling, boxcar and ice-pick scars are depressed scars, which cause a “hole” in the skin’s surface, while keloid scars are raised, thick scars. Rolling and boxcar scars can be very shallow, superficial to moderately deep. Ice-pick scars are moderate to very deep, as if a tiny ice-pick punctured a hole in the skin. There’s no oral medication to treat acne scars, but a few topical medicines can help.

Bleaching Creams

If you have acne spots, or if your scars are darker in pigmentation than your skin, bleaching creams can be effective in diminishing their discoloration. If purchasing an over-the-counter product, Skincare Physicians recommends looking for products containing 2 percent hydroquione and warns that you should follow manufacturer directions closely to prevent damaging the surrounding tissues.

Dermatologists can prescribe up to 4 percent hydroquione or a combination of medications such as hydroquinone, a corticosteroid and tretinoin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has long been used to heal scar tissue. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the skin to fight free radicals, heal and produce new skin cells. Applied to scars daily either directly from a vitamin E capsule or from a topical ointment containing vitamin E, it helps the skin heal itself while softening and diminishing the appearance of the scar. Many over-the-counter scar medications contain vitamin E as their primary ingredient.

Glycolic Acid

Chemical peels are often used to treat superficial scars and acne marks. Glycolic acid is the most common acid used in chemical peels as it’s suitable for all skin types, and it has a strong ability to rejuvenate the skin. When applied to the skin, the acid causes the skin to peel, revealing the new skin underneath. Scars are formed layer by layer, connecting damaged skin tissue, and a chemical peel removes the scar layer by layer. Chemical-Face-Peel recommends starting with a solution containing 20 percent or less for users new to chemical peels.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is also used as a chemical peel to treat acne scarring. Chemical-Face-Peel recommends it especially for those with naturally dry skin, but it is good for all skin types. It’s also the least likely acid used in chemical peels to cause a reaction with your skin. If you are new to chemical peels, start with a solution containing 20 percent lactic acid or less. Consult a dermatologist before using anything stronger.

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