Acne Scar Treatments that Actually Work

Acne is tough. It can come out of nowhere, either in your teen years or your adult years where acne can surprise you and really knock your confidence. 

Even once you’ve started to treat your acne and get breakouts under control, acne can leave scarring on your face and body. 

For milder cases, over the counter skincare might do wonders, but for those with more pronounced acne scars, more advanced treatments can go a long way to reduce and in some cases remove acne scars completely. 

Skin confidence is the goal! In this guide we’re breaking down the types of scarring that can be caused by acne and the treatments that actually work to reduce acne scars. 

Types of Acne Scars

According to Dermnet NZ, there are three different types of acne scars which can vary depending on your acne and skin type.

  • Acne Scarring

Caused by moderate to severe acne, acne scars form when new skin is laid down to heal an injury. Scarring can be red and typically has a thicker texture. It may appear as little welt-like scars as a breakout is healing. 


  • Postinflammatory Colour Changes

This is where the scars have been healing for some time and can result in hyperpigmentation (white patches, or pigmentation (red or brown patches). These scarrings can improve over time but may take months to fully heal.

post-inflammatory pigmentation
  • Persistent Scarring

When acne has healed and is no longer inflamed, but scarring persists. This can appear as pits or indents in the skin e.g. ice pick and boxcar scars. These can heal slowly over time but in some cases may never truly go away. Such scarring may require more intensive skin treatments such as laser or needling. 

persistent scarring

Best Treatments for Acne Scars

There are a number of treatments that can help to reduce inflammation and breakouts (thus the forming of new scars) as well as treat established acne scars. 

For treating acne-prone skin and skin with active breakouts, check out our ultimate guide to treating acne-prone skin.

Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars

Microdermabrasion is an advanced skin exfoliation treatment that uses crystals to remove dull skin cells, revealing fresher looking skin. Fine crystals are blown onto the skin’s surface under pressure and suctioned away simultaneously. This process encourages circulation and skin cell renewal. Microdermabrasion can also help to minimise the appearance of enlarged pores and de-congest the skin.

By stimulating cell turnover, the Microdermabrasion treatment can help improve skin texture. As a result, it can also help reduce the appearance of acne scarring. 

The treatment doesn’t hurt but you may experience slight discomfort. Minor redness and a ‘tender’ feeling immediately after a Microdermabrasion treatment is normal, but these sensations will go away on their own.

You can expect your skin to appear brighter immediately after treatment but for deep acne scarring, we do recommend a number of treatments paired with other skin conditioning treatments that our team would recommend and tailor to you, getting the results you're after.

LED Light Therapy

LED Light Therapy treatments are gentle and non-invasive and work to soothe, while stimulating the skin’s natural regeneration process.

Blue light helps fight against acne-causing bacteria while helping with skin cell turnover and calming inflammation.

Red light enhances the skin’s natural defence mechanisms to help speed up healing and encourages happier healthier skin.

The treatment is completely painless and is only 20 minutes. You’ll feel refreshed immediately. We do recommend a course of light therapy, depending on your skin concerns.

LED Light Therapy

Microneedling (Collagen Induction Therapy)

Microneedling (Collagen Induction Therapy) is the process of inserting multiple fine needles into the skin to stimulate the body to make more collagen and elastin. The collagen can reduce the appearance of scars by smoothing out the skin. This treatment is great especially for post-inflammatory scarring as it works on the deeper layers of your skin.

Microneedling can feel a little bit sensitive around the orbital eye bone, nose and forehead. Customers describe that this treatment feels like a thorough exfoliation – similar to an intense Microdermabrasion. Our Caci Skin Therapists are all highly trained, so the treatment is done quickly and safely.

Most notice an improvement in their skin after their first few treatments and the results continue to improve over a course of treatments. We recommend having 4-5 treatments every 4-5 weeks to ensure long-lasting and real results.

Laser Treatments for Acne Scars

Fractional Co2 Laser is a treatment that uses a laser that passes pulses of light down through to the deeper layers of the skin, causing controlled damage to the cells below and triggering the skin's natural healing process. This process allows the cells in the basal (deeper) layer to be trained to grow back stronger, firmer, and faster. This results in your skin becoming smoother, tighter, and more even in tone.

This treatment is great especially for those with deep ice pick scars. We recommend having 4-5 treatments every 4-5 weeks to ensure long-lasting and real results.

As the treatment involves causing controlled damage to the skin, afterwards, you will notice evenly spaced micro-wounds of tiny dots on the skin. Immediately after treatment, your skin will feel hot and sensitive. Once the initial inflammation has settled some customers report it can be a little itchy. Our team will supply you with advice to help protect your skin and speed up the healing process.

Photo Rejuvenation for Scarring 

Photo rejuvenation is a laser treatment that safely pulses high energy light beams through the skin surface, targeting skin pigmentation in the underlying tissue and minor surface blood vessels. This generates heat and stimulates an inflammatory response in the skin triggering a healing process that results in a reduction of pigment and red blood vessels. Once the pigment has been targeted, it comes to the surface of the skin, which then flakes away. This is great for reducing hyperpigmentation caused by acne.

You may be a little red and this is normal, it may last a few minutes up to 24 hours depending on how resilient your skin is. Pigmented areas will darken noticeably within a few hours of treatment and small dark spots can form (this means it is working!) and can last from 3 days to 3 weeks.

This is why we recommend at least 4-5 treatments every 4-5 weeks to ensure long-lasting and real results.

Photo Rejuvenation

Fillers & Injections

In some cases, Hyaluronic acid fillers can be used to fill acne scars and pitting for a more plump appearance. 

Advanced Treatments for Severe Scarring

Where there are hard, lumpy scars, cortisol injections may be recommended by your dermatologist for treatment. 

In some more severe instances, such as with deep ice pick scars, surgery or more advanced treatments may be needed. You can come into Caci for a consultation to talk about your acne scars and treatment options best suited for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Acne Scars

Can you completely get rid of acne scars?

You may never be able to completely get rid of acne scars, but with the right treatment and skincare, you can go a long way to fade and reduce the appearance of acne scars. 

How long does it take for acne scars to fade?

Acne scars may take 3 - 6 months or even longer to fade depending on how deep the scarring is, and once faded you may be left with more skin texture from acne. Treating acne scars can speed up the process, but again the time is depending on the treatments and products you use.

Can you heal acne scars naturally?

Your acne will likely heal naturally but may leave scars for a long time. There are skincare options that can help with the healing process. Products that include salicylic acid are great to add to your daily skincare routine as it is great for all types of scarring. Sunscreen also plays an important part as scars can darken over time due to sun exposure, slowing the healing process down. 

Our top product recommendation is Murad’s InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment as it minimises the look of post-acne scar size, depth and discolouration in 8 weeks. It has great ingredients like BHA (which exfoliates) and purified Centella Asiatica & vitamin C to encourage a healthier-looking, even complexion. It also instantly fills and blurs to reduce the look of scars and dark spots.

Finding the Right Treatment at Caci

Acne can be frustrating to deal with and even after calming down the breakouts, we can be left with annoying scars. There are a number of ways you can treat scarring and once you identify what type of acne scarring you have, you’re one step closer to finding the treatments that are right for your skin.
Whether it be over the counter skin care products or intense skin conditioning treatments like microneedling, there is an option for every skin.

At Caci, we have a variety of membership options which mean you can get varied treatments without the guesswork - we work with you to get the best result so you feel confident in your skin. 

Book a free consultation with one of our skin experts today to get personalised advice - no strings attached! Treat your skin right with tailored treatment plans at Caci.