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Which serum for acne scars is best?

If persistent pimples weren’t annoying enough, the scars they leave behind can be immensely frustrating. For people of all ages, getting rid of those acne scars can boost confidence and create more comfort in their skin.

However, clearing acne scars is easier said than done, and finding a serum that can do the job without causing further damage can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Clearstem CellRenew Serum can reduce acne scars, inflammation and fine lines in as little as a week while increasing collagen production.

What to know before you buy a serum for acne scars

Acne scar causes

While the causes of acne breakouts are complex and multifaceted, acne scars have a more direct cause: acne. Acne breakouts damage the skin, and your body rushes to repair the skin, causing abnormal collagen production in the affected area. This abnormal collagen production on the damaged skin gives the skin a bumpy or pitted appearance. Whether your acne scars are raised or depressed, they can be very difficult to treat. Popping and picking at pimples is the most common cause of acne scarring.

Acne scars types

Most acne scars look generally the same, but they actually come in a variety of types.

  • Rolling scars: These scars are typically wide, shallow depressions in the skin that have a rounded shape and sloping edges, causing the skin to take on a wavy texture. Rolling scars are typically the result of a prolonged period of inflammatory acne.
  • Boxcar scars: They’re similar to rolling scars in that they’re wide and shallow, but they have sharp steep edges and are well-defined. Boxcar scars typically occur from inflammatory acne.
  • Ice pick scars: Ice pick scars are deep and narrow indentations in the skin that have jagged edges. They make the skin look like it’s been punctured with a small needle, hence the name. They’re usually the result of hormonal acne.
  • Hyperpigmentation: This is the technical term for the dark reddish spots that are the most common aftermath of acne breakouts. Hyperpigmentation spots are not technically scars but the result of the skin’s natural healing process. These flat marks occur as inflammation in the skin causes an increase in melanin production. Post-acne hyperpigmentation often fades on its own, but over the course of months or even years.

What to look for in a quality serum for acne scars


When choosing an acne scar serum, ensure that you take your skin type into account. For oily or combination skin types, water-based formulas are usually best. These formulas tend to be oil-free so you don’t have to worry about an oily serum clogging your pores and causing more breakouts. For dry or normal skin, thicker oil-based formulas are better, as they hydrate your skin and keep it from drying out.


If you’re sensitive to potent smells, be aware when purchasing an acne scar serum. Some serums have a fairly strong medicinal scent, while others include artificial fragrances. If your skin is sensitive, opt for a serum without artificial scents, as they can irritate the skin. Fragrance-free serums are a safe option for most users.

How much you can expect to spend on a serum for acne scars

Acne scar serums can vary greatly in price, usually based on the number of active ingredients they contain but typically cost $6-$160. For $6-$30, you can find serums with only one active ingredient. For $30-$70, you’ll find two to three active ingredients. Acne scar serums with three or more active ingredients fall in the $70-$160 range.

Serum for acne scars FAQ

How long does it take to see results from my acne scar serum?

A. This depends primarily on what type of scars you have. Hyperpigmentation, for example, heals in 3-4 weeks. Textured scars take a lot longer, usually 3-4 months.

What type of acne scar serum should I use if I have both acne scars and active breakouts?

A. If you have both acne scars and active breakouts, opt for an acne scar serum containing salicylic acid, which can clean deep in pores to fade your scars and get rid of the dirt that causes breakouts in the first place. Make sure to avoid oil-based scar serums if you’re trying to prevent breakouts.

What’s the best serum for acne scars to buy?

Top serum for acne scars

Clearstem CELLrenew Collagen Infusion Serum

Clearstem CellRenew Serum

What you need to know: This straightforward serum produces results in only a week.

What you’ll love: Acne scars, inflammation, fine lines and wrinkles are all reduced in a week. Boosts collagen. The formula contains natural and organic ingredients and it’s cruelty-free.

What you should consider: Customers found that the packaging isn’t ideal for efficient use of the product.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top acne scar serum for the money

Instanatural Vitamin C Skin Clearing Serum

InstaNatural Age-Defying and Skin-Clearing Serum

What you need to know: It offers a bright citrus smell with powerful blemish reduction.

What you’ll love: This serum uses a blend of antioxidants to soothe and revitalize the skin, fading acne scars and fighting blemishes. It protects the skin against UV rays and comes at an affordable price.

What you should consider: It gets worse before it gets better, as the retinol clearing your pores may cause breakouts in the first few weeks of use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Good Molecules Blemish Scar and Discoloration Duo

Good Molecules Blemish Scar and Discoloration Duo

What you need to know: You can reduce scars and discoloration from blemishes with this toner and serum duo.

What you’ll love: In this set, you get a discoloration-correcting serum and niacinamide toner, which work together to reduce scarring and discoloration from acne. The formulas use clean ingredients and aren’t tested on animals.

What you should consider: They can dry the skin a bit, so use a good moisturizer.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Collette Bliss writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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