Over-The-Counter Scar Treatment Options: Do They Work?

Ava Shamban

October 26th, 2014

While admittedly not as effective as laser treatments or dermal fillers, over-the-counter alternatives may reduce the appearance of acne scars over time.

If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of acne scars using only over-the-counter options, your best bet is to use fade creams. Cortisone cream is an example of a fade cream that can help calm the skin and scars that are red or swollen. As the cortisone is absorbed by skin cells it can help reduce inflammation.

After using a cortisone cream, you may also want to consider lightening any hyperpigmentation or dark discoloration of the skin as a result of the acne scars. To do this, look for over-the-counter products with the below ingredients:

  • Kojic acid, a natural skin lightener derived from mushroom extract
  • Arbutin, bearberry extract
  • Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid

The above options can aid in fading acne scars. Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter treatments that can treat the indentations of atrophic or pitted acne scars.

Depending on whom you ask, vitamin E may also be an over-the-counter option. It’s important to note though that study results vary regarding the effectiveness of vitamin E, so it’s recommended to consult with your dermatologist before selecting this method.

On the other hand, sunscreen is a not-so-debatable product that can help keep acne scars from becoming more pronounced. While sunscreen cannot reverse the marks left behind from acne, it’s an essential product to ensure that UV rays don’t make matters worse.

As always, discuss any treatment approach with your dermatologist before getting started.



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