Removing acne marks – everything you need to know

Acne marks can occasionally occur with skin conditions like impure skin or acne. They make the complexion look less even and many people find them irritating. But what are acne marks? And how do acne marks occur anyway? We reveal the causes of acne marks and the different methods you can use to remove them.

05 January 2023 • 5 min. reading time

What do acne marks look like?

Acne marks can have a white, red or brownish colour. Most are relatively small with a regular edge. They are about the same size as the pimple that caused them. However, occasionally these skin changes can coalesce into larger areas with hyperpigmentation. This occurs with severe acne, for example, with areas of serious inflammation close together on the skin. An acne mark sometimes, but not always, forms in a place where there was previously a pimple or blackhead.

How do acne marks occur?

Acne marks are a type of post-inflammatory pigmentation that occurs when a pimple or blackhead has become inflamed and does not heal well. Through this process, the pigmentation of the skin is disturbed, as more melanin can form in this area than in the healthy surrounding skin. The melanocytes collect in the affected area and turn the skin a darker reddish or brownish colour. Unlike pimple scars, acne marks do not leave a palpable elevation or depression on the skin. They only leave discolouration of the skin.

Do acne marks go away on their own?

When you are affected by acne marks, you are bound to wonder whether this unattractive pigmentation will remain on the skin forever. The good news is: they normally disappear again on their own after a while. This is related to the natural regeneration of your skin. It constantly produces new skin cells in the lower skin layers, which gradually work their way to the outer surface, where they replace the dead skin cells. Through this process, your skin gradually removes acne marks as well as other pigmentation changes all by itself. Unfortunately, this does not work as well if you want to get rid of acne scars. They have more severe skin changes caused by a growth of the tissue. Cosmetic products or a dermatological therapy are often the acne scar treatment required to balance out uneven tone.

How long does it take for acne marks to disappear?

This depends on the regeneration capability of your skin as well as external influences. The process is faster in younger people than in people over 50. Nutrients, vitamins and moisture supplied to the skin from the inside can also slow down or speed up the regeneration of the cells. It is influenced by genetically inherited factors, diet, lifestyle and environmental influences.

What options are there for removing acne marks?

As we have already explained, acne marks often disappear by themselves after a time. What helps with acne marks if you don’t want to wait that long? There are various options available, e.g. you can use special skincare or opt for dermatological treatments. These options include:

  • Chemical peels

  • Lightening agents (bleaching creams)

  • Dermatological treatment with highly concentrated chemical peels

  • Light therapy or laser applications

  • Serums that accelerate the natural regeneration of the skin

A chemical peel offers positive effects for your skin along with brightening the acne marks. As it promotes the regeneration of the skin, fine lines and wrinkles also often disappear with the use of a peel. The supply of moisture to the face also often improves. Furthermore, a deep-down chemical peel carried out under dermatological supervision has a stimulating effect on the skin’s collagen production. It becomes firmer, plumper and more elastic.

Serums with ingredients like retinol or niacinamide promote cell renewal in your skin and thus also contribute to the acne marks disappearing faster. With regular use, they also improve your complexion and can reduce signs of impure skin and acne.

How can you prevent acne marks?

Even the best creams for acne marks need some time for this type of hyperpigmentation to disappear. A good strategy is therefore to prevent their occurrence in the first place. This is possible with skincare tailored to the requirements of impure skin. It starts with your daily cleansing routine, for which you should use gentle products. Avoid aggressive facial cleansers and rich creams. Use skincare that strengthens your skin’s natural protective barrier and preserves the skin's protective acid mantle. In this way, you avoid the inflammation of pimples or blackheads and reduce the risk of acne marks or acne scars from forming.

Is it a good idea to simply squeeze pimples? Don’t go there! This type of acne spot treatment often presents a heavy challenge to the skin mechanically. If the pores are blocked, you push the bacteria even deeper into the skin and inflammation can develop. Before cleansing the pores, it is advisable to use a gentle steam treatment first. Some cleansing products like micellar water or a cleansing mask with active ingredients like clay are also able to open blocked pores, thereby removing excess sebum and dead skin cells. With severe acne, a regular treatment at the beauty salon can reduce symptoms.

What influence does UV light have on acne marks?

Occasionally, when you ask the question “What helps with acne marks?”, the answer you hear is “Sunbathing”. This is only true to an extent. Your skin will probably get a nice tan through the influence of the sunlight and existing acne marks may possibly look as if they have disappeared. But the influence of UV light can darken the colour of acne marks and so make them stand out more. If even more melanin collects in these areas through sunbathing, it can possibly take even longer for the acne marks to disappear on their own. A similar effect can be observed with pigment spots and freckles.

To avoid this, you should use a good SPF sunscreen when you’re out in the open air. Either apply a sun cream for the face or a day cream with SPF. Choose a product that is non-comedogenic so that it does not make your acne spots or symptoms of impure skin worse. For example, sun creams that provide plenty of moisture and are suitable for sensitive or oily skin would be the perfect choice. With consistent sun care, not only do you prevent pigment spots and acne marks, you also protect yourself from premature skin ageing.

Which products get rid of acne marks faster?

Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

If you want to lighten acne marks, it is quicker to use highly concentrated skincare products that stimulate the regeneration of your skin. Begin your skincare routine with a serum with effective active ingredients like retinol. The Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Treatment from Kiehl’s offers you anti-ageing properties in combination with optimal skincare. Ingredients contained in the formula like retinol and ceramide accelerate skin regeneration and reduce the signs of skin ageing. Acne spots, pigment spots and other areas of hyperpigmentation on the skin are gradually faded.


Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum


€ 63,95

Blue Pro-Retinol Multi-Correct Cream

You can also combat acne marks with creams. The Blue Pro-Retinol Multi-Correct Cream from the Blue Therapy range from Biotherm promotes an even skin tone. The **retinol cream** creates visibly younger skin with its anti-ageing properties. Fine lines and wrinkles are also reduced along with acne marks and pigment spots.


Blue Pro-Retinol Multi-Correct Cream

Blue Therapy

€ 63,95

Baby-Smooth Glycolic Peel + Caring Oil

Along with your daily products for acne spots, use a chemical peel from time to time to boost skin renewal and promote an even skin tone. Opt for gentle products like the Hello Results Baby Smooth Glycolic Peel + Caring Oil.

it Cosmetics

Baby-Smooth Glycolic Peel + Caring Oil

Hello Results

€ 75,95


You can say goodbye to unattractive acne marks quickly with the right skincare products like highly effective serums or with a chemical peel. You should also consider the prevention of acne marks in the first place when selecting your skincare. You can improve your complexion in the case of impure skin and acne with intensively moisturising skincare. In this way, the occurrence of acne marks can be moderated in many instances or even prevented. At parfumdreams, you will find numerous high-quality skincare products that are suitable for putting together the perfect beauty routine for these skin concerns.

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