How To Prevent Acne Scars When Struggling With A Bad Breakout

Dealing with acne is bad enough, but knowing it can produce acne scars is even worse. An acne scar occurs when inflammation breaks down the pore's wall, leaving behind an obvious mark. Acne scars range from unnoticeable to severely apparent. Many times, unnoticeable acne scars are simply shallow markings that fill in over time. However, other acne scars can appear sharper and with much more indentation. Each person's acne scarring can differ depending on their collagen production and the amount of tissue lost. Since repairing the skin from acne scars depends on collagen, those with lower collagen levels have a more challenging time getting their skin to recover from acne scars.


While acne scars aren't uncommon, they can hamper your skin goals. Almost 80% of those between the ages of 11 and 30 deal with acne. Of this 80%, an overwhelming 95% have at least a small amount of acne scarring. With so many people struggling with the condition, it's no wonder so many types of acne scar treatments, such as fillers, are available. However, the best way to get ahead of your acne scars is to prevent them by prioritizing your skincare regimen when breakouts occur to ensure they clear up without a hitch.

Treat acne from the start

The best way to prevent acne scars is to treat your acne from the very beginning. Of course, the ideal solution is to avoid acne altogether, but because that's not always possible, treating even the peskiest pimple can help avoid acne from spreading and creating havoc. Treating acne comes down to building an efficient skincare routine of ingredients that target acne-causing bacteria. The simplest ingredient to add to your routine is salicylic acid, which clears the pores from the oil and dirt clogging them. Clearing them out will rid that bothersome acne quicker than picking at it all day.


Even if you already deal with acne scars, the best course of action is to treat any acne remaining on your skin. Because new acne breakouts can interfere with treating previous acne scars, you'll want acne-free skin to treat any new acne scars that appear. Other skincare ingredients such as retinoids and AHAs can help clear those breakouts, deliver smooth skin, and treat and prevent acne scarring.

Pack on moisturizer

Keeping up with your skincare routine is key for treating acne early on and preventing acne scars from forming. Moisturizer is one skincare product that can help stop acne scars from forming due to those pesky breakouts. Moisturizing helps keep your skin plump and hydrated, which, in turn, keeps your skin healthy. A good moisturizer also aids in improving and evening out your skin's texture, even with bumps or scarring occurring. Keeping your skin moisturized helps the skin repair itself and gives it the hydration it needs to keep acne scars away.


If you're having difficulty preventing acne scarring from forming following a breakout, you're probably using harsh ingredients that can dehydrate the skin. While these ingredients help clear the pores, you need some hydration to keep your skin smooth. A good moisturizer helps soothe your skin after applying acne-preventing products. You also should avoid using moisturizers with fragrances or other ingredients that can aggravate the skin. Always opt for gentle moisturizers to deliver the needed nutrients and hydration your skin needs to repair itself.

Reach for sunscreen

Sunscreen isn't just for protecting your skin against harmful UV rays; it can also help prevent acne scars from forming. While sunscreen is essential to avoid various skin issues, such as skin cancer, it's also important to use if you have a breakout that's healing. Sunscreen not only keeps your skin free from sun damage, but it also gives your skin a barrier from hyperpigmentation. Exposing your skin can lead to acne scars darkening and becoming more apparent. Sunscreen also protects the skin, keeping it healthy as you age. And the healthier your skin, the better it is equipped to fight acne scars.


When choosing sunscreen, it's important to acknowledge the state of your skin. If you're recovering from a breakout or in the midst of one, you should use a simple sunscreen with no chemicals, oil, or fragrances to avoid further clogging of the skin. As we've seen, keeping your skin clean and fresh is the easiest way to prevent acne scars from forming post-breakout. Even if you aren't suffering from a breakout, sunscreen will help you avoid any insignificant acne scars you may have from worsening, as continued exposure to the sun darkens these spots.

Reduce inflammation

While everyone is concerned with whiteheads and pustules when it comes to acne breakouts, it's the inflammation you need to get under control. Since inflammation causes the wall of your pores to break down, it's the first factor to tackle. 


Treating inflammation will help lower your risk of getting acne scars. Applying a warm compress to your whiteheads and washing your skin helps reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. Avoid irritating the skin with products and chemicals that contain fragrances, and stick to proven ingredients and formulas instead. Inflammation can also be aggravated or become more intense from scrubbing your skin. While many might believe scrubbing can help rid skin of acne, doing so will only irritate inflammation and lead to more scarring. To target inflammation and control it in specific spots, consider trying ointments and creams.

For those struggling with cystic acne, reducing inflammation may be more challenging. Use a cold compress to help soothe the pain and inflammation that accompanies the deeper and more challenging blemishes. Apply the cold compress several times a day to continue attacking the acne. Soothing and caring for your skin with healing ingredients not only feels good, but it also reduces the appearance of redness and inflammation, getting you that much closer to avoiding overwhelming acne scars.


Don't touch

While it may be easier said than done, not picking or touching your pimples is the only way to ensure they go away before further issues occur. In general, touching your acne can transfer oils and dirt from your hands to your skin, further aggravating it. Even though it's difficult to resist, avoiding your acne ensures you don't further complicate it or spread it to other areas of your skin. If you're working to treat your breakouts, touching and picking them can remove any product you apply, making it less effective.


Touching and picking acne is directly linked to the production of acne scars. Popping pimples can cause your skin to become irritated and overstressed — this causes inflammation and the breaking down of the pore wall, causing acne scarring. Only let a dermatologist or other skin professional touch your skin, as they are aware of the correct procedures to practice to avoid scarring or further breakouts. So, while the sensation of picking pimples is satisfying to some, the consequences can last for a long time.

Look to topical retinoid treatments

When your typical skincare products simply aren't doing the trick, it may be time to consider the heavy hitters. Retinoids are known for their powerful ability to tackle acne. A retinoid product will help clear existing acne and prevent future breakouts from forming. Great news for those worried about acne scarring: Retinoids also help reduce inflammation in the skin, a direct cause of scarring. They are available over the counter at lower percentages but are also available by prescription in higher doses. Typically, these over-the-counter products should be enough to clear acne, unless you're suffering from a more challenging form.


Retinoids not only help clear the skin of current and future acne, but they also help treat existing acne scars. If you're suffering from hyperpigmentation as a result of previous scarring, retinoids can help accelerate healthy cell growth and lighten up dark spots. An all-around skincare savior, retinoids can prevent acne scars from forming by preventing acne from even crossing your skin. To get the most from retinoids, remember to follow the proper precautions before, during, and after using the product.

Consider a chemical peel

Although not suggested as the first solution for acne scarring, chemical peels can help reduce your risk for acne scarring while ridding the skin of any previous acne scars. Chemical peels remove the outer layer of skin and reveal the layer underneath, which is healthy and ready to repair the areas needing an extra boost. For those with minimal acne scarring, this also removes these marks and helps expose smooth and clear skin. Along the way, chemical peels can help clear pores and prevent future breakouts from forming. Chemical peels should only be conducted by a licensed professional and in a controlled area. 


Even though chemical peels are an aggressive action to take for your skin, they are a great solution for those who simply want extra help for their skin. Revitalizing collagen production, chemical peels give your skin a much-needed reset. The best chemical peel for you depends on factors, such as skin type and color or tone, which you'll discuss with your licensed professional. This communication is key to avoiding stubborn or deep acne scars from forming.

Head to your doctor

Not every acne struggle can be fixed using over-the-counter skincare products. Even though products such as retinoids are potent, they are still no match for deep acne struggles. These acne problems include cystic acne, which requires a closer look from a professional who has plenty more at their disposal to help combat your acne and prevent acne scars. Since mismanaged acne can lead to acne scarring, you'll want to see your doctor soon after noticing your breakouts aren't improving. If no skincare product or over-the-counter product helps, you may need the assistance of powerful products such as topical steroid injections. These are typically a last resort option reserved for specific situations. However, they can reduce the time it takes for your acne to heal and prevent deeper acne scars from forming.


Acne shouldn't be painful or create deep acne scars after it goes away. Seeing your doctor can help you learn whether you may be suffering from a related skin issue. A dermatologist can also get you access to more powerful creams not available for public use. Retinoids at a higher percentage can help clear up more stubborn acne and prevent acne scars. Since it all begins at your initial breakouts, you and your doctor need to tackle them to prevent deep and permanent acne scarring.