Red and Dark Acne Marks: What You Need to Know About Preventing and Treating Them

Many people will experience acne in their lives. Acne is simply a condition in which the skin’s pores get clogged with oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and related contaminants. This can result in pimples.

Although a few pimples may not be a problem, people with acne tend to have several. Although most people associate acne with the face, it can also develop in other areas of the body, like the chest and back.

Acne tends to develop most often during puberty. That’s because hormonal changes which occur during puberty can cause the body to naturally create more of the oil that clogs up your pores.

However, it’s important to understand that acne can still develop at other times in a person’s life.

Additionally, a number of lifestyle factors can make some people more likely to develop acne than others. Thus, if you know about risk factors that make you more prone to it than other people, you may want to take steps to mitigate them.

Luckily, no matter when it develops in a person’s life, acne tends to go away eventually. Sometimes treatment is necessary to limit the effects it has on a person’s appearance, but often, it will diminish over time.

Unfortunately, this does not always mean its effects will have completely gone away. Sometimes people who have had acne in the past are left with unsightly acne marks. These can have a negative impact on their appearance.

Even if the pimples themselves are gone, the marks they leave behind can remain for several months. They’ll eventually go away in their own.

This doesn’t mean that anyone struggling with acne marks has to live with this problem until the acne marks disappear naturally.

There are plenty of ways to reduce the appearance of unwanted acne marks. While time is still necessary for the marks to completely diminish, there are ways to make them less noticeable in the meantime.

In this article, you’ll find methods you can use to conceal and/or treat your acne marks and restore your good looks. That said, none of what you read here should be mistaken for professional medical advice.

If you believe your acne scarring is severe, and none of the methods listed here have been effective at addressing the problem, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist to learn more about what you can do to fix the issue.

In the meantime, before learning about what you can do to prevent or get rid of acne marks, it helps to learn a little more about what they are and why they develop in the first place.

What Are Acne Marks?

It’s important to point out that there is a difference between acne marks and acne scars. Acne scars usually involve some degree of harm to the skin’s collagen. They can impact the texture of the skin in the affected area in a number of ways.

Acne marks are slightly different. They develop because pimples tend to naturally cause inflammation of the skin. When they heal, the inflammation leaves behind what appears to be a stain around the area where the pimple originally was.

To further determine whether or not a blemish is an acne mark or an acne scar, simply touch the affected area. The skin around acne scars will typically be raised. The skin around acne marks, on the other hand, tends to be smooth.

It’s also worth mentioning that the tone of your skin can have an impact on the appearance of an acne mark.

If you have darker skin, the “stains” that acne leaves behind will usually be brown or similarly dark in color. However, if you have fair skin, the marks are more likely to look red or purple.

Types of Acne Scars?

Here is a useful video on types of acne scare, which would help you differentiate what scars or marks you have on your face.

28 Effective Tips to Treat Acne and Acne Marks

Of course, knowing what acne marks are doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to prevent them. That’s why you should keep the following points in mind.

If you’re currently struggling with acne or believe you may experience a breakout in the future, some of these tips will help you reduce the odds of marks developing after the pimples are gone.

If you already have unwanted acne marks, you’ll also find tips in here for successfully concealing them.

Luckily, experts agree that acne marks tend to go away on their own over time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should be content with having them in the first place.

By remembering these points, maybe you won’t have to.

1. Don’t Pick at Your Pimples

If you have an acne breakout, it can be very tempting to pick at the pimples. This is something many people do without even realizing it. However, it’s a habit you should try to avoid.

That’s because picking at your pimples boosts the odds of acne marks forming. Because they form as a result of the body’s natural healing process, they are more likely to develop if someone picks away at their acne, causing unintentional damage.

While experts can’t guarantee that refraining from picking at your acne will successfully prevent marks from developing, for the most part, the consensus is that you are more likely to avoid scarring if you can avoid picking.

2. Use the Right Skin Care Products

You can also reduce your chances of developing acne marks by using the right products when treating your acne in the first place.

Although there are certainly many effective acne treatment products on the market, there are also many that contain chemicals or other ingredients that may be too abrasive for some skin types.

This can cause the kind of damage that results in marks. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of acne treatments available to you.

Finding the right one may take a little more time and research than simply grabbing the first item you find at the store, but you’ll be more likely to avoid long-term consequences if you put in this kind of work ahead of time.

3. Cleanse

Experts recommend cleansing your skin with a strong but safe product at least twice a day. Doing so is key to keeping your pores free of the contaminants that would otherwise lead to pimples and/or inflammation.

Although this tip won’t likely help you get rid of acne marks that have already formed, it can reduce their odds of developing in the first place.

4. Use the Right Makeup

Wearing makeup can obviously have a positive impact on your appearance. That said, it’s important to look for makeup that is labeled as non-comedogenic.

This simply means that it does not contain the kinds of ingredients that are more likely to trigger an acne breakout.

This is important to keep in mind, as preventing acne breakouts is typically one of the better ways to prevent acne marks from developing.

5. Stay Out of the Sun

No, you don’t need to avoid the sun completely. In fact, you shouldn’t. Spending a certain degree of time in the sun is necessary for your wellness.

After all, the sun provides the body with a natural source of vitamin D. You need vitamin D to maintain your overall health in several different capacities.

That said, there is spending enough time in the sun to get enough vitamin D, and then there’s spending so much time in the sun that you damage your skin.

This is something everyone should strive to avoid. It’s particularly important to avoid excessive exposure to the sun if you are worried about developing acne marks. This is a major risk factor that is likely to make any acne marks that develop look more noticeable than they ought to.

Thus, it’s a good idea to wear strong sunscreen every single time you’re going to be spending an extended period of time outdoors.

Keep in mind, this is important even if clouds are blocking the sun. Many people don’t realize that the sun’s harmful UV rays can actually penetrate cloud cover.

Additionally, if you do know you’ll be outside for a few hours, try to identify shady spots beforehand. Take breaks in the shade throughout the day. If you’re going somewhere with limited shady spots, like a beach, consider bringing an umbrella along with you.

Even better, wear clothes that cover up as much of your skin as possible when spending time outdoors. If you have acne on your face, you can even wear a hat with a large brim to protect it from the sun.

You should also identify any times when you’ll be more exposed to the sun than you initially may have considered.

For instance, it’s easy to forget that driving often puts people in direct contact with sunlight for long periods of time.

Thus, if you are going to be driving for a while, or if you have the kind of lifestyle that requires a lot of time behind the wheel, consider upgrading to UV-absorbing auto glass. 

This will help protect your skin during long drives.

6. Stay Hydrated

No matter what skin care issue you’re trying to address, staying hydrated is important. Hydration is key to your overall health in many ways.

It’s particularly important for maintaining skin health. The healthier your skin is, the faster skin issues will heal.

Thus, it’s a good idea to drink eight glasses of water a day. Of course, for some people, this can be difficult. If your lifestyle involves being busy and on the run during an average day, remembering to drink enough water can be a challenge.

That’s why you should consider getting the kind of water bottle you can easily bring with you throughout your daily tasks. Having this on hand will make drinking enough water throughout the day much easier.

7. Moisturize

You now know that staying hydrated is key to skin health. That doesn’t mean simply drinking enough water throughout the day.

To enhance the effects of being hydrated, it’s also a good idea to regularly apply moisturizer to your skin. Just make sure you understand the ingredients in the product you choose.

Some moisturizers, like other cosmetic products, may contain ingredients that can actually have a negative impact on your skin in the long run.

8. Treat Dark Marks with a Skin-Lightening Serum

Again, acne marks can be dark brown, red, or purple, depending on the tone of a person’s skin. This particular remedy is for people who have begun to develop the darker kind of acne marks.

Find a skin-lightening serum product and apply it to your acne marks on a regular basis.

Dark marks form as a result of hyperpigmentation in the skin. By applying a lightener, you can often reverse this process, reducing the appearance of dark marks in the process.

Although they will go away on their own in the long run, taking this step now can prevent them from looking too noticeable.

9. Use a Vitamin C Serum

This is another remedy that is exclusively for people with dark acne marks. It involves leveraging the power of vitamin C to reduce their appearance.

This method works because vitamin C guards against hyperpigmentation. Like the method listed above, it will make acne marks that would otherwise be very dark look relatively light.

This prevents them from having a major impact on your looks as they fade away naturally.

Look for a vitamin C serum skin product and apply it to your acne marks according to the directions on the bottle. Over time, this should help you lighten your dark marks.

10. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Obviously, eating nutritious foods is always important, whether or not you have acne marks. However, it can be particularly beneficial to people struggling with this issue. They should specifically stick to a diet that involves avoiding inflammatory foods.

Inflammation is one of the main factors that contribute to the development of acne marks. Thus, choosing foods that are less likely to trigger inflammation in the body is key to addressing this problem.

Experts recommend avoiding processed foods, dairy, and alcohol when trying to prevent acne marks. They also suggest eating more foods that contain nutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants.

By avoiding the wrong foods and eating the right ones, you’ll be much less likely to develop marks that are particularly noticeable.

11. Use a Product with Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in many acne treatment creams and products. However, it can also be effective at preventing or reducing the appearance of acne marks.

That’s because salicylic acid offers a wide range of benefits that are particularly useful for people who struggle with this problem. This ingredient clears up pores and exfoliates the skin.

That means it helps to clear away the top layer of dead skin cells, so the healthy skin beneath is more visible. On top of that, this ingredient has been shown to reduce redness and swelling.

Thus, incorporating a product that contains salicylic acid into your skin care routine can go a long way towards treating your acne marks.

12. Try Aspirin

If you’re having trouble finding a cosmetic or skin care product with salicylic acid, you can find it in a much easier to locate source: aspirin.

Aspirin contains enough salicylic acid to help reduce inflammation that may be worsening your acne marks.

For this remedy;

  • Simply crush up enough aspirin and mix it with enough water (a couple of drops should be sufficient) to create a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the affected areas,
  • wait five minutes, then rinse yourself off with mild water.

Because this is a temporary solution designed to reduce the redness of acne marks by reducing inflammation, you can repeat it on an as-need basis.

13. Try Honey

As you may be realizing, you don’t always need to undergo major treatments to address these kinds of issues. Often, treating your acne marks is as easy as grabbing the right ingredients from your kitchen.

Honey is one more natural ingredient that can help you treat acne marks. Like many of the other items on this list, it boasts a mixture of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can reduce the redness of acne marks and prevent acne from developing again in the future.

Best of all, using honey to address acne marks is a simple process. All you need to do is dab a cotton ball in some honey and apply it to the affected areas.

The longer you leave it in place, the greater the odds you’ll get the kinds of results you’re after.

Some experts recommend applying honey to your acne marks and leaving it on overnight. Just make sure you rinse yourself off thoroughly when you’re ready. Walking around with sticky honey on your skin throughout the day can be very uncomfortable.

Click to Tweet

14. Use a Microneedler

You may have seen microneedler products growing in popularity in recent years. These skin care products, which you roll over affected areas of skin, can be very effective at reducing hyperpigmentation.

As a result, they’re useful at protecting the skin from acne marks. Consider purchasing one and using it as part of your nighttime skin care routine.

It’s best to use a microneedler after cleansing and toning your skin.

Experts also recommend making sure your microneedler is kept clean and sterile before using it on your skin in order to avoid exposing your pores to bacteria.

14. Treat the Marks with Lemon Juice

Some people prefer to use natural ingredients as much as possible when treating their skin. Luckily, you can definitely rely on natural ingredients to lighten up your acne marks.

For example, one remedy involves dabbing lemon juice onto your acne marks and waiting 20 minutes before rinsing it away. This helps because the acid in lemon juice naturally lightens the skin over time. Repeat this process on a daily basis for the best possible results. 

However, it’s important not to leave the lemon juice on overnight. Although some people may think this will boost its effectiveness, in truth, leaving lemon juice on your skin for that long can actually result in irritation.

In fact, there are some people whose skin may actually be more sensitive than others to the acid in lemon juice. Thus, if you find that this kind of remedy actually results in too much irritation, it might be best to rely on another method.

15. Use Products Designed for Other Purposes

It’s worth noting that some products that may not have been specifically designed for skin care purposes can still be useful at reducing the appearance of acne marks.

For example, eye drops that are used to reduce redness in the eyes can also reduce redness on your skin.

That’s because these drops are typically designed to prevent or reduce inflammation. The fact that they work for your eyes doesn’t mean they won’t work for your skin.

All you have to do is apply the drops to your acne marks on a regular basis. Doing so can have a beneficial impact by reducing inflammation and making the redness of your marks less severe.

Keep in mind, this is a temporary treatment. Remember, acne marks go away on their own over time. This treatment is simply helpful at making them less noticeable in the meantime.

16. Try Concealer

You should always research the ingredients of any cosmetic products you apply to your skin before using them.

There are many that contain too many oily ingredients. These can actually have a negative impact on your appearance in the long run. The oil from the products will clog up your pores, making pimples more likely to develop.

That being said, using concealer can be a simple way to hide acne marks as you wait for them to fade on your own.

Choose a concealer without harsh ingredients that matches your skin tone, and apply it to the affected areas whenever you want to hide your acne marks.

17. Give Tomato a Try

Yes, tomatoes can be delicious when used in certain meals. However, that isn’t the only benefit this vegetable offers. Many have found that tomato can also go a long way towards boosting the health and appearance of the skin.

This remedy is simple. All you have to do is mash up some tomato and apply it to your skin in the affected areas.

If you’re having trouble keeping the tomato in place, consider mixing it with honey. You’ve already learned that honey can have beneficial effects on your acne scars.

On top of that, it will serve as a binding agent, keeping the tomato in place. Leave it there for several minutes, then rinse yourself thoroughly.

Repeat this process on a daily basis for the best results.

18. Apply Cucumber

Remember, your skin needs more vitamin C to guard against hyper-pigmentation and reduce the appearance of acne marks.

Keeping your skin properly hydrated also helps to maintain its overall health. That’s why it’s a good idea to incorporate cucumber into your skin care routine.

Cucumber is often used in this capacity. Even though it is merely a food item, it can also be very effective at boosting the appearance of your skin.

Take advantage of the benefits it offers by;

  • Slicing some fresh cucumber up and applying the slices directly to your acne marks. 
  • Wait for about half an hour, then remove them and rinse off any moisture or residue that was left behind. 
  •   Repeat this process on a daily basis for the best results.

19. Apply Ice

This is another temporary fix that is nonetheless very valuable to people struggling with acne marks.

Do you know why people often recommend applying an ice pack to an injury or wound? It’s because cold temperatures help to guard against inflammation.

Thus, ice can be very useful at reducing the redness of acne marks. Because inflammation makes the redness more noticeable, applying ice can be a simple way to treat the problem.

An ice pack is the best way to go about taking advantage of this remedy. However, if you don’t have one on hand, don’t try to hold the ice against your marks directly with your own hands. This can be uncomfortable. You’ll be less likely to hold the ice against your marks for a long time if you’re holding it in your hands.

Instead, wrap the ice up in a few papers towels and apply it as needed. Eventually, you should see the redness go down as the inflammation goes down.

20. Try Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another natural ingredient that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil also has natural antibacterial properties. This means that using it to treat acne marks can also help prevent future acne breakouts.

For this remedy, just apply the tea tree oil to your acne marks and leave it in place for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.

You can also mix it with a facial cleanser you already use in order to reduce the amount of steps in your skin care routine.

21. Try a Retinoid Cream

Ask your physician or dermatologist to recommend a retinoid cream that’s ideal for your skin. Use it as directed to help acne marks heal more quickly than they might on their own.

This type of product is effective because it stimulates the skin’s cell division process. This process results in discolored skin cells being removed as new, healthy skin cells take their place.

Thus, incorporating a retinoid cream into your skin care routine can potentially help get rid of acne marks faster.

22. Give AloeVera a Try

Aloe vera is yet another amazing natural ingredient that boats both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

In fact, aloe vera is so effective at reducing inflammation that many people recommend keeping it on hand when you’re going to be spending time outdoors. By applying aloe vera gel to a sunburn, you can limit its severity.

Luckily, aloe vera gel is often used in acne treatment programs as well. By reducing inflammation and fighting against bacteria, aloevera can reduce the redness of pimples while also preventing others from forming in the future.

This means aloe vera gel can also be useful at treating red acne marks that have formed due to inflammation.

For the best results; 

  • Mix aloe vera gel with honey and rose water until you have a paste-like mixture.
  • Apply it to the affected areas of your skin the same way you would apply a face mask.
  • Leave it in place for 20 minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly with mild water.

Repeating this process three times a week can help reduce the redness of your acne marks while also helping you avoid more acne breakouts in the future.

23. Use Some Olive Oil

Olive oil isn’t just an ingredient used in cooking. It can also play a major role in your skin care routine. It may be particularly useful at boosting the health of your skin as acne marks clear up naturally.

Olive oil may be effective because it’s rich in antioxidants. These are crucial in maintaining skin health and potentially speeding up the healing process.

For this remedy,  

  • All you have to do is apply a few drops of olive oil to your acne marks.
  • Leave it in place until your skin has absorbed the oil, then rinse yourself off. 
  • Repeat on a daily basis for the best results.

24. Apply Turmeric Powder

Turmeric is yet another natural ingredient that has long been celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, incorporating turmeric more often into your cooking can have a beneficial impact on your acne marks by fighting against inflammation.

That said, to get the full benefits this ingredient offers, it may be better to mix turmeric powder with water until you have a paste.

Apply the paste to the affected areas of your skin and leave it in place for about half an hour before rinsing it off. Repeat as needed to keep inflammation at bay.

25. Use Hydroquinone for Dark Marks

Using 4% hydroquinone to lighten dark acne marks can be helpful. This ingredient is a natural bleaching agent.

Thus, if you have dark acne marks, applying it to the affected areas can keep them light. This will make them less noticeable as you wait for them to completely go away on their own.

26. Try Glycolic Acid or Alpha Hydroxyl Acid

Experts point out that these ingredients may be effective at treating acne marks in several ways. First, they can reduce pigmentation problems in the skin.

Second, they may be able to speed up the process of cell development. This means that healthier skin cells are more likely to take the place of the damaged cells sooner rather than later. Thus, your acne marks may clear up more quickly than they would naturally.

Look for skin care products which contain these ingredients, or simply incorporate them into your regular skin care routine on your own. Doing so may help you get rid of acne marks fast.

27. Relax

It can be very difficult to simply let time do its job as you wait for acne marks to go away.

While the remedies here will definitely help you reduce their appearance, at the end of the day, time is the key factor that determines when your acne marks will disappear completely. 

People who are unhappy with the impact that acne marks are having on their looks may therefore become impatient and start to stress out as they wait for this time to come.

This is an understandable reaction. No one likes walking around feeling like acne marks are detracting from their personal appearance. However, while this may be an understandable reaction, it’s also one you should try to avoid or limit as much as possible.

That’s because stress has been linked with acne breakouts. The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to develop more acne (and, as a result, acne marks) in the future.

That’s why it’s a good idea to focus on tactics you can use to reduce stress in your daily life. Obviously, this may involve addressing personal or professional issues if they are contributing to your anxiety and worry.

However, there are also general steps you can take to keep stress at bay.

1.

For instance, you might take up a practice like yoga or meditation. Both of these have been shown to be very effective at helping people manage stress levels.


Best of all, in the age of the internet, it’s easy to learn how to practice either one. Sites like Youtube contain plenty of videos on the subject. They can guide you through the steps.

2.

Focusing on hobbies is another good way to prevent stress. Hobbies give you something to focus your thoughts on besides your feelings of worry.

3.

Exercise in general is also an effective way to reduce stress. The fact that it’s good for your health in general is almost an added bonus.

4.

Getting enough sleep is also very important for your health and stress levels.


In general, people who don’t get sufficient amounts of sleep at night tend to be more likely to struggle with feelings of anxiety and tension throughout the average day. Although it can be difficult for some to get eight hours of sleep every night, doing so is important.

5.

Finally, experts also recommend maintaining contact with family and friends in order to reduce stress levels.


An active social life can go a long way towards addressing this problem. Just make sure your social life doesn’t become so active that it deprives you of sleep. It’s necessary to strike a proper balance.

Yes, it’s easy to stress when you’re unhappy with your acne marks. Unfortunately, giving in to stress and worry can have long-term consequences.

Rely on these methods to keep stress from triggering future acne breakouts. The results of lowering your stress levels will also boost your health in other ways.

28. Consider In-Office Treatments

Again, the remedies listed here can be very effective at helping you get rid of acne marks more quickly. Even if they don’t go away completely after following the steps listed here, your acne marks will typically go away on their own over time.

However, there are instances in which people find their acne marks are stubborn. Despite waiting, they don’t appear to be going away fast enough.

In cases like these, it may be a good idea to consult with a dermatologist about more involved treatments. These procedures can be expensive and typically aren’t necessary for your health.

That said, if you’re not happy with the impact that acne marks are having on your appearance, they may be worth the investment in your opinion.

There are several different treatment options available to people interested in getting rid of their acne marks. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are two popular options. Chemical peels stimulate a change in pigmentation, while dermabrasion treatments remove unwanted layers of skin. New, healthy layers will then develop in their place.

For more thorough and permanent results, you may want to consider laser treatments. However, it’s important to understand that such treatments are typically very expensive, and they can in fact leave the skin red for up to a year after the procedure has been performed.

That’s why it’s important to thoroughly discuss your options with an expert before going this route. The more you understand your treatment options, the more likely you are to select the right one for your needs and budget.

Conclusion

That said, most people probably won’t need these kinds of treatments. These remedies are often enough to help reduce the appearance of acne marks as they heal naturally.

Additionally, some of the tips listed here can be helpful at preventing acne marks from developing in the first place.

By applying these tips and being a little patient, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to address this problem on your own without shelling out a lot of cash for a major medical treatment.

If you know any other remedy that works best, please share it with our readers.

Resources

If you would like to dig deep into searching more about acne and acne marks. You can check the following resources; 

2 thoughts on “Red and Dark Acne Marks: What You Need to Know About Preventing and Treating Them”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I’ll try some of the advice given before seeking professional help that is often quite expensive. I haven’t used masks before so hopefully they have the desired effect 🙂

  2. I have been suffering from pimples and acne marks since my teenage years and it would be a great miracle to finally have a clear face. Thank you for the information! This is really helpful!

Leave a Comment