Topical treatments can help diminish the appearance of acne scars but will not remove them, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. There are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medicines to help flatten raised scars and reduce skin discoloration. Consult your dermatologist for advice on which treatments are best for you.
If your acne scars are more severe or raised, it may be necessary to get a prescription topical cream. Tretinoin helps reduce the size of raised scars as well as get rid of itch and pain. Corticosteroids are another treatment your dermatologist may prescribe that helps with scarring. The use of both in conjunction may amplify the reduction of scars.
The AAD states that some nonprescription acne creams that contain glycolic acid, vitamin C and retinol can help depressed acne scars become less noticeable. These encourage the body to produce collagen, which plumps skin. If skin discoloration is a problem, over-the-counter skin-lightening creams can help even and smooth skin tone.
Chemical peels, available from a dermatologist, involve placing acids on the skin to smooth depressed scars and even skin tone. The type of peel used depends on the severity of scars. Lighter peels are used for mild scarring and don't require healing time. For more severe scars, deeper peels are necessary and may take a couple of weeks to heal. Most chemical peels require some follow-up care such as sun protection, a particular cleansing regimen or antibiotics to prevent infection.