Your Cart is Empty

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars and Fade Hyperpigmentation Fast

October 04, 2021

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars and Fade Hyperpigmentation Fast

If you’ve ever dealt with a breakout you've likely been left with acne scarring or hyperpigmentation as a reminder. Chances are, you’ve likely dealt with some level of scarring on your skin.

While most of us know that picking a at a pimpleis a skincare faux pas, it can be so very tempting to do. And even if you don't pick at it, a pimple can still leave a red mark or dark spot in its place. Acne scars and patches of hyperpigmentation can linger for months – even years.

If you’re still struggling with the leftover marks long after a breakout, you’ll be on your way to a more even complexion in no time. Read ahead as we break down everything there is to know about fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation fast.

What are acne scars?

Acne scarring is erroneously used to describe any mark that an inflammation or breakout may leave behind. But true acne scarring is indented or atrophic (meaning thin and flat) and can be classified into one of three subtypes:

  • Ice pick - a small depression in the skin.
  • Boxcar - a depression in the skin with very sharp edges.
  • Rolling - these have smooth edges and look like tiny hills and valleys in the skin.
  • Hypertrophic and Keloidal - these are very lumpy and thick.

Types of Acne Scars

Ice pick scars

Visibly narrow, pitted and deep scars

Rolling scars

Broad sloping edges

Boxcar scars

Broad sunkenness with sharply defined edges

Hypertrophic and Keloidal

Lumpy and thick scars

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation as an umbrella term used to describe darkened pigment on the skin, caused by trauma. While some causes are controllable, others are genetic. Hyperpigmentation falls into one of three main categories:

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation develops as a response to inflammation as the skin heals from wounds. This type of hyperpigmentation typically affects people who are prone to acne, but all skin types are susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These darkened spots can appear pink, red, or brown in color, and they can be found anywhere on the body, including the face.
  • Melasma hyperpigmentation develops on the skin as a response to hormones, genetics, medications, and sun exposure. This condition is common in pregnant women and people with darker complexions who naturally have more melanin in their skin. Melasma commonly develops as large patches or brown spots on the face, forearms, and neck. Many people experience melasma around their nose, cheeks, and lips.
  • Sun-induced hyperpigmentation is caused by overexposure to the sun’s rays. This often appears as age spots, liver spots, freckles, and sun spots. These spots can be brown or black, and they’re commonly seen on the face and hands. People who are older and people who spend considerable time in the sun without sunscreen are prone to developing sun-induced hyperpigmentation.

 Types of Hyperpigmentation



Most commonly found

Who can it affect?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Darkened spots  appearing pink, red, or brown in color

Anywhere on the body

Anyone, but particularly those prone to acne

Melasma hyperpigmentation

Large patches of brown spots

On the nose, cheeks and lips

Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills, people taking certain medications and those with darker skin

Sun-induced hyperpigmentation 

Age spots, liver spots, freckles, and sun spots that appear black or brown

On the face, hands and other areas frequently exposed to the sun

Older people or people who spent an excessive amount of time in the sun

Acne Scars vs. Hyperpigmentation

Acne scarring and hyperpigmentation can each be difficult skin concerns to tackle. However, hyperpigmentation and acne scarring can also coexist.  They are similar in appearance and both linger. While they can coexist, scars and hyperpigmentation are actually different conditions.

  • Acne Scars: Acne scarring is trauma due to touching and squeezing at breakout spots. This damages small veins, glands and tissues under the skin. A scar occurs when too much collagen forms in a particular spot during healing. The scar develops in the skin, where the original acne-caused inflammation formed. The more intense and lasting the inflammation, the more likely it will leave a scar.

  • Hyperpigmentation: Unlike acne scarring, hyperpigmentation can occur from any kind of injury, and it's different from your typical textured scars. You can tell the difference if there is a noticeable texture when you rub your skin. That is true scarring. Pigmentation, on the other hand, is discoloration of the skin that generally remains smooth to the touch without raised texture. 

  • Are certain skin tones more prone to acne scarring and hyperpigmentation? 

    Acne scarring and hyperpigmentation can occur in all skin types, but they occur more commonly in people with darker skin tones. This is because the darker the skin tone, the higher levels of melanin in the skin.

    Whenever there is a trauma to the skin, in this case, a pimple, the melanin cells in the skin produce even more melanin to defend and protect against that trauma. When our skin produces more melanin than usual, it manifests as darker skin, discoloration, dark spots, or patches, which all fall under the umbrella of hyperpigmentation.

    How to Get Rid of Acne Scars and Fade Hyperpigmentation Fast

    There are two main categories of treatments for scarring and hyperpigmentation, which are topicals (like skincare products) and treatments (typically done by dermatologists).

    Topical Treatments 

    Deeper acne scars are generally treated best with in-office treatments by a dermatologist. But most post-inflammatory pigmentation can be improved with topical treatments. Look for serums or peels made with the following ingredients-

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that brightens skin and stimulates your body’s natural production of collagen. Look for a vitamin C serum that contains at least 20% L-ascorbic acid  to boost your skin’s radiance, fade pigmentation, improve texture and visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

  • Glycolic Acid
  • Glycolic acid is a substance derived from sugar that is highly effective for reducing hyperpigmentation. Because discoloration is often the result of old, dead skin cells that haven’t quite turned over to generate new cells yet, glycolic acid works to stimulate cell regeneration and purge the cells causing discoloration. Glycolic acid cleanses our pores and reduces excess pigment stuck to our underlying, healthy skin cells.  Try swapping out your regular cleanser or toner for one with glycolic acid.

  • Retinol
  • Creams and serums that contain retinol have been shown to reduce discoloration and make acne scars less visible. Retinol helps skin cells turnover more normally. It also works well in combination with other acne fighting ingredients to treat existing pimples and prevent new ones.

  • Niacinamide 
  • Niacinamide has excellent skin-restoring properties thanks to its anti-inflammatory action. Niacinamide not only reduces the inflammation associated with existing pimples, but can also fade scarring and help to prevent future incidences of breakouts.

  • Lactic Acid
  • A recent study showed that in-office lactic acid peels done once every two weeks for three months improved the skin's overall texture and pigmentation and lightened acne scars. But you don't have to go to the dermatologist's office to reap these benefits. Plenty of over-the-counter exfoliants contain this powerhouse ingredient.

  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Aloe contains a chemical compound called aloin that combats melanin and prevents the development of pigmentation. Using an aloe vera gel can inhibit melanin production, reducing brown spots and dark patches, and treating the effects of sun damage on the skin.

  • Kojic Acid
  • Kojic acid is similar to retinol and vitamin C. This ingredient effectively treats hyperpigmentation by suppressing melanin production in the skin. Known to lighten the skin, even skin tone, and treat acne, kojic acid is a favorite skincare product found in many soaps, creams, and lotions.


    The idea of rolling hundreds of tiny needles across your skin to treat scars may seem counterproductive, but these tiny punctures are exactly what helps diminish their appearance. Microneedling delivers collagen stimulation through pressure. This allows the skin to heal itself and produce new collagen. 


    Microdermabrasion Is a deep exfoliating treatment that rids dead skin cells and particles from the pores. This works to clear the skin of the damaged cells, prompting it to create more collagen in the healing process. Microdermabrasion can lighten and brighten the skin, while reducing excessive pigmentation and evening the skin tone.

    Red Light Therapy

    There's growing research that suggests red light therapy not only builds collagen but also diminishes scarring—both important components for minimizing scarring and hyperpigmentation. There are a growing number of at-home red light therapy masks on the market.

    Wear Sunscreen

    This is a big one that we absolutely can’t stress this enough. Sun exposure is not only a major cause of hyperpigmentation, but also a major cause of rapid aging. Use SPF 30, anti-aging sunscreen every day to protect your skin from sun damage. Regular and consistent sunscreen use is your best bet against future hyperpigmentation.

    Wrapping Up

    Experiencing a breakout is difficult enough without having to contend with the dreaded scars they leave in their wake. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation with these tips, and you’ll be left with a bright, beautiful, clear complexion in no time!

    Explore Herbal Dynamics Beauty Products for Brightening & Hyperpigmentation: