The Ordinary Products for Acne Scars: 10 Must-Try Products in 2023

a hand holding 4 bottles from The Ordinary for article about the best products from The Ordinary for acne scars

As someone who has suffered from cystic acne for the majority of my life, I know the struggles of getting rid of acne scars. It’s a great feeling once your pimples have cleared up, but when you’re left with a scar it can be incredibly irritating. If you’ve dealt with acne and are left with surface-level dark marks and scars, please know that I get it! And that’s why I’m excited to bring you this article about my favorite The Ordinary products for acne scars.

The Ordinary is one of the best skincare lines for people looking to upgrade their skincare game without breaking the bank. Most of their incredibly effective products are under $15, which is a steal compared to other high-priced skincare lines.

Now let’s dive into it!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site! Read more about my disclosure policies here. All prices are accurate at the time of the article and are subject to change.

Please note I am not a dermatologist. All of the claims below are based on my own experiences and personal research. If you are struggling with acne or acne scars, I recommend consulting a dermatologist.

The Best Way to Preventing Acne Scars

First I want to quickly touch on the best way to prevent acne scars. Obviously, the best way to treat acne scars is to avoid creating them as much as you can in the first place. After years of dealing with acne and scars, I’ve found the best way to prevent them is by using pimple patches.

The second I feel a pimple coming on, I place a pimple patch over the acne and let it do its thing. This can sometimes take a few days of rotating pimple patches, but it helps significantly with the healing process and minimizes scarring.

My favorite pimple patches are the Rael Invisible Spot Cover for standard acne because it’s nearly invisible so you can wear it outside or even when you’re on a Zoom call at work. For cystic acne, I love the Rael Microcrystal Spot Cover which I prefer to wear inside or at nighttime. If you want to try both, you can check out this 2 piece set.

The Ordinary Products for Acne Scars

Real quick, I want to talk about the importance of layering your skincare products appropriately. There are specific ways to layer AHA’s, BHA’s, retinol, etc so you don’t overdo it and potentially harm your skin. Check out this article that explains the correct order of skincare products!

Now let’s officially jump into it!

1. AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

You’ve probably seen The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution on social media because of its instantly recognizable dark red hue. This peeling solution is a cult favorite and it can be used on normal, combination, and oily skin.

The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution is an exfoliating solution that helps fight acne and also improves the look of skin texture and radiance, which is why it’s perfect for acne scars.

P.S. I actually used this on my butt cheek when I had a folliculitis breakout and was left with a gnarly scar. After a few weeks of using this product, there was a clear difference in the darkness of the scar.

How to use: DO NOT use this product more than twice a week as it is very strong. Apply to a clean, dry surface and leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing with water. Ideally, this product is used in the evening.

Shop Peeling Solution Here ($8)

2. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Vitamin C is a great ingredient to reduce the appearance of acne scars. This Vitamin C Suspension product is perfect for fading scars with its brightening properties. According to current users on Reddit, this product is one of the fastest-acting scar reducers from The Ordinary.

How to use: This product has a little bit of a gritty texture, which is why it’s better to use at night than with your morning moisturizer. A little goes a long way, so be sure to dilute it with moisturizer or even water, especially if you have sensitive skin. Can be used in the AM or PM, but ideally at night. If you want to avoid the gritty feeling, you can check out the same product in their silicone formula.

Shop Vitamin C Here ($7)

3. Azelaic Acid 10 Suspension 10% Brightening Cream

Azelaic Acid is one of my go-to favorite The Ordinary products for acne scars. This brightening cream generates cell turnover, which helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and scars. It’s perfect for combating dullness, uneven texture, and acne. This product is also great for treating cystic acne.

How to use: This brightening cream doesn’t sit well under makeup so it’s better to use at night as the last step in your skincare routine.

Shop Brightening Cream Here ($10)

4. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

One of the questions I saw constantly during the research of this article was “Does The Ordinary Niacinamide work for acne scars?” The answer is YES 100%! This is hands down one of my favorite products from The Ordinary to help combat acne scars.

Niacinamide is perfect for brightening pigmentation as well as reducing redness. So if you have red/pink acne scars, this product is great for you. This high-strength vitamin-and-mineral formula is great for any skin type, and also helps keep oil at bay with consistent use.

How to use: Use during the day or night before using any heavier creams. Be careful using vitamin C with this product, as it should be applied at alternate times in the morning because it can affect the performance of pure-form vitamin C.

Shop Niacinamide Here ($6.50)

5. Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Toners help tremendously with acne scars! The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution is made up of scar-reducing ingredients including amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng, and Tasmanian pepper berry (fancy!). When used consistently, this product will definitely help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

How to use: This product should only be used MAX once daily. For sensitive skin, I recommend 1-2x a week to start. This is ideally used in the evening. It can be applied with a cotton pad, but be sure to avoid it around the eyes. This is a strong formula, so ensure you avoid any broken or compromised skin.

Shop Glycolic Acid Here ($10)

6. Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

Alpha Arbutin is perfect for skin tone discoloration. This product is specifically created for hyperpigmentation, which is a result of acne scars, sun damage, or even a change in hormones. This product is fast-acting for many individuals and helps brighten the skin while also fighting acne.

How to use: This formula is very concentrated so be sure to ween onto it slowly, especially if you have sensitive skin. You can use this morning and night when doing your skincare routine, but please remember to use SPF 30+ during the day.

Shop Alpha Arbutin Here ($10)

7. Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Exfoliating Serum

Lactic Acid helps immensely with acne! This Lactic Acid + HA Exfoliating Serum helps fade any unwanted dark spots and pigmentation. Not only will it fight discoloration, but it will make your skin feel so incredibly soft!

How to use: This product is best applied in the evening. If you have sensitive skin, start by diluting this serum until your skin develops a tolerance.

Shop Lactic Acid Here ($8)

8. Granactive Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

I’m a huge advocate for retinol. It’s helped me clear my acne, reduce scars, and it also has great anti-aging properties. This Granactive Retinol is great for long-term use when clearing acne scars.

The thing with retinol is that from my experience, you need to use it for a while to see any results. However, when you keep it consistent throughout your skincare routine, you will see amazing results. It’s definitely a great long-term product!

How to use: This product should be used in the PM. Apply a small amount after any water serums but before any heavier products. It’s also SO important to note that when using retinol, your skin becomes incredibly sensitive to the sun. That’s why it’s important to use this at nighttime and to ensure you apply ample sunscreen to your face throughout the daytime.

Shop Retinol Here ($10.50)

9. Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

Ascorbic Acid is great for dark spots and anti-aging. This product will brighten your skin while eliminating any dark spots and also targeting various signs of aging. Many people have reported this product is a bit oily but after your skin absorbs it, your face feels incredibly hydrated. This is another product that takes a bit of time to show results, so keep at it and you will see your dark sports reduce.

How to use: Apply a small amount to your face in the morning and evening. Be sure to use sunscreen with this product and reapply it throughout the day!

Shop Ascorbic Acid Here ($8)

10. Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

Last but not least, we have the Salicylic Acid Masque. This is hands down one of my favorite The Ordinary products for saving my face when I’m having a breakout or am dealing with acne scars. This masque will make your skin brighter and clearer, I’ve found it makes a huge difference even after one use but you definitely need to be consistent with it to see the best results.

How to use: Only use once or twice a week. Apply to clean, dry skin. Leave on for a max of 10 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Shop Salicylic Acid Masque Here ($12)

Acne Scar FAQ

Are acne scars permanent?

It really depends on the type of scar. I have a handful of scars that have been there for years, but I’ve also had many surface-level spots leave after a few months of proper treatment.

It’s really important to talk to your dermatologist if you’re looking to get rid of all acne scars. They will have better recommendations for your specific skin, whether that’s a prescription product or even laser.

How long does it take acne scars to fade?

This is something else that really depends on your skin and the scar. I’ve personally found that my scars will fade in about 3-4 months if I’m treating them properly.

Can you get rid of acne pit scars?

The products mentioned above are best for surface acne scars, dark and red spots specifically. If you’re dealing with acne pit scars, I highly recommend consulting a dermatologist who can help put you on the best course of treatment.

Let’s Wrap It Up

Thank you so much for taking the time to read all about the best products from The Ordinary products for acne scars! These products are affordable and highly effective, so definitely check them out.

If you want to read more about the facial cleanser that eliminated my acne and changed the course of my skin for the better, click here to read all about it!

With love or whatever,

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