Best The Ordinary Products For Acne Scars That Actually Work

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best ordinary product for acne scars and dry skin

Best The Ordinary Products For Acne Scars To Fade Hyperpigmentation & Dark Spots Fast

Acne scars are arguably worse than acne itself. You finally get rid of those pesky zits and you’re left with dark spots that stick around for months! So what do you do when you’re left with hyperpigmentation? Luckily, there are tons of products out there that help fade acne scars and you don’t have to spend a ton of money on the right products, either. Since its launch, The Ordinary has become one of the most popular skincare brands because their products are well-formulated and extremely affordable. So if you’re looking for the best Ordinary products for acne scars, here’s an ultimate guide on creating the perfect skincare routine to fade those dark spots fast.

The Ordinary has become a favorite among Reddit communities, influencers, and beauty-lovers alike. And what’s not to love? Their products are accessible, affordable and deliver results. Their products have quickly amassed a cult-following for all types of concerns: aging, acne, acne scars, rosacea, dry skin, etc. Any skin type or concern, The Ordinary has a product for you. However, with so many different products and ingredients, it can be hard to know what products are best for you. What Ordinary products are best for dark spots and scars? Here is a simple guide on the best Ordinary products for acne scars.

What Are Acne Scars?

If there’s anything worse than acne itself, it’s the acne scarring that’s left behind. Acne scars are the direct result of your skin’s inflammatory response to acne and can come in a variety of forms: ice pick scars, rolling scars and box car scars or simply post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Inflammatory acne uses causes more severe atrophic scarring like boxcar or icepick scarring. These types of indented acne scars occur when there’s damage to the collagen in your skin (because of the inflammatory process).

Types Of Acne Scars

There are a few different types of acne scarring, which we’ll outline below.

Atrophic Acne Scars:

  • Boxcar: These scars tend to be round or oval in shape but have sharp borders. They’re more common where the skin is thicker like the lower cheek, jawline and chin.
  • Rolling: These types of scars can vary greatly in their appearance. Their surface is usually depressed and wave-like in appearance. They tend to affect the upper face and can occur on parts of the body other than the face.
  • Ice Pick: Ice pick scars look very similar to an enlarged pore and the scar narrows the further into the skin it goes. They tend to be more narrow in diameter compared to other types of scarring but can affect the deeper layers of the dermis. As the name suggest, they look like you have pricked your skin with an icepick (think a V shape). They typically occur where the skin is thin like the cheeks or forehead

Hypertrophic Acne Scars

  • Keloid – also called hypertrophic scars, these types of scars are raise and are caused when the skin produces too much collagen in an effort to repair the scar/skin where the acne was

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-Inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or PIH, is one of the most common types of acne scars. Its simply the dark spots leftover after a pimple has healed. They can vary in color but are usually either brown, red or even purple.

Unlike hypertrophic and atrophic acne scarring, PIH is simply a discoloration of the skin. There’s no indentation or raised skin – the skin is flat, just discolored.

They are one of the easiest acne scars to treat.

How Hyperpigmentation Forms

best ordinary products for red acne scars

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is just a long way of saying acne scars. PIH is a type of acne scar that occurs when skin is healing from the inflammatory process. When you get a pimple, your skin will become inflamed and overproduce melanin, which is where the pigmentation comes from. PIH is generally a flat area of the skin that’s discolored and can be red, pink, brown or even purple. Hyperpigmentation will eventually go away without any treatment, but there are ways you can speed up the healing of these types of acne scars.

Another type of acne scar is what’s called an indented or pitted acne scar. These types of acne scars are textured and can appear as indentations or hollows in the skin. These types of acne scars are typically harder to get rid of and may require professional treatments, depending on how deep/severe they are. These scars result from the damage of the skin caused by inflammatory type breakouts. Indented acne scars are most common with cystic and nodular acne.

Best Ingredients For Acne Scars

**Disclaimer: if you have atrophic or hypertrophic scarring like mentioned above, topical treatments will only do so much. Although they can certainly help, professional treatments are often needed (especially in severe cases). These can include lasers, peels and microneedling.


If you have atrophic scarring, you need retinoids. No question about it. Atrophic scarring is hard to treat, so you need to pull out the big guns here.

Retinoids are one of the most powerful ingredients available to fight acne scarring. By increasing cell turnover, studies have shown that retinoids are able to reduce the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. But the real magic is that they can increase collagen and elastin production which is exactly what you need to fill in those indented scars.


Chemical exfoliants are known to be some of the most powerful ingredients when it comes to tackling acne scarring. AHAs help slough off dead skin cells in order to resurface your skin, creating a smoother appearance.

AHA’s like lactic acid are especially helpful for fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark spots. They can also help to stimulate collagen production and fill in indented scars (but are not as strong as retinoids).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another brightening ingredient that can help fade dark marks. Vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen production which will help to fill in scars like icepick, boxcar and rolling scars.

Vitamin C is a great ingredients to use for indented scarring and PIH.


Arbutin is often used in skin lightening products that’s commonly used to help fight acne scars. It inhibits an enzyme known as tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of melanin (the pigment that gives our hair and skin color). This will help to fade acne scars left behind (but it won’t help with indented or atrophic scarring).

Best Ordinary Products For Acne Scars & Dark Spots

Wondering what are the best The Ordinary products for acne scars and dark spots? Here are the top products to get you glowing skin fast!

best ordinary products for acne scars and dark spots

With so many different products, formulations and ingredients, it’s hard to know what to use to get rid of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Everyone wants to know “how can I lighten acne scars fast?” These are the best Ordinary products for acne scars that will deliver results fast.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin is one of the best products for acne scars, especially if your skin is sensitive to acids (chemical exfoliants). This product contains a powerful 2% concentration of Alpha Arbutin to lighten pigmentation, plus hyaluronic acid to plump skin, keep it hydrated and stimulate collagen production.

Alpha arbutin works by inhibiting an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Melanin is what gives our skin pigmentation. So, when you inhibit production of this enzyme, it helps to fade pigmentation (ie acne scars). While Alpha Arbutin works very well at fading acne scars, it’s best used along with other products like chemical exfoliants or vitamin c for best results.

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

If you like the sound of the brightening effect of Alpha Arbutin, but want something more powerful, look no further than this vitamin c and alpha arbutin combo. It has all the brightening effects of the plain Alpha Arbutin serum above, plus the added powers of vitamin c.

Vitamin C helps to fade pigmentation, brighten overall skin tone and stimulates collagen production. Collagen production can help with indented or pitted acne scars as well. Ascorbic acid is the most powerful form of vitamin c, so this product is a great option for those with stubborn scarring.

This serum feels slightly oily upon application, but sinks in within a few minutes. It can be used twice a day and is a great option for those with more sensitive skin that can’t use higher concentrations of ascorbic acid.

Related post: Is Triamcinolone Acetonide Good For Acne?

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

As one of The Ordinary’s best sellers, it’s also a great product for fading hyperpigmentation, thanks to its powerful concentration of 10% niacinamide that helps to fade acne scars, even skin tone and treat acne. Zinc helps treat and prevent acne and control oil production, making this a great serum for oily and acne-prone skin types.

Although this is a great product with many benefits, it should be used in conjunction with other products (chemical exfoliants) for best results. Another note about this product is that it should not be used at the same time with vitamin c as it can cause flushing and irritation, especially for sensitive skin types. If you want to use both ingredients in your routine, use a vitamin c in the morning and the niacinamide serum at night.

The Ordinary 100% Niacinamide Powder

A pure powder form of niacinamide offers lots of customization options that you don’t get with the Niacinamide + Zinc serum. The powder has all of the same benefits: fades acne scars and discolorations, minimizes pores, helps treat acne, controls oil production and brightens skin tone. The niacinamide powder is designed to be added to different serums to create a custom cocktail tailored to your skin concerns. You can even get higher concentrations of niacinamide with this powder, so if you need something a little more powerful, this is a great option.

This powder can be added to hyaluronic acid, peptide serums, moisturizers and many other skincare products. It’s not recommended to mix this with any kind of vitamin c or direct acid (aha, bha, etc).

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

If you’re looking for one of the best Ordinary products for acne scars, this is it. With 7% glycolic acid, this is a powerful toning solution that exfoliates dead skin cells away to reveal brighter, more even toned skin. With regular use, this product will help fade acne scars and dark spots without being too irritating like many chemical exfoliants can be.

What makes this formula so special is the addition of Tasmanian Pepperberry which acts as an anti-inflammatory to calm irritation. This product also has aloe vera to soothe skin, amino acids to strengthen skin’s barrier and ginseng to brighten overall skin tone. Glycolic acid is one of the best ingredients to use for overall skin health, acne scars, anti-aging and texture.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary Peeling Solution for acne scars is one of the most raved about products. With a blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids, this is a potent treatment that should be used with caution. The blend of acids work by exfoliating the top layer of skin to fade acne scars, brighten skin tone, diminish fine lines, reduce pore size, unclog pores and balance oil production. So all in all, it’s a dream come true for oily and acne prone skin and one of the best, if not the best Ordinary product for acne scars.

Like many of The Ordinary’s direct acids, this peel contains Tasmanian Pepperberry to help calm inflammation which can happen when using such a strong acid. It’s also got hyaluronic acid to plump skin with moisture so it doesn’t get dehydrated from the exfoliation.

When you apply this peel, it honestly looks like you smeared blood all over your face, but once you wash it off, your skin will be smoother, softer and brighter. With continued use, you’ll see a reduction in pore size, acne, fine lines and acne scars. If you search on Reddit ‘The Ordinary acne scars’ you’ll definitley see this mentioned at least a dozen times.Don’t pass this one up if you need help with fading acne scars and dark spots!

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Azelaic acid is a mild exfoliant that helps to brighten skin tone and fade hyperpigmentation. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is commonly prescribed to treat rosacea and acne. However, it also makes a great treatment for acne scars because of its ability to brighten skin, fade pigmentation and reduce redness. With continued use, azelaic acid can help treat acne and reduce inflammation in the skin.

This is a great product that can be used by all skin types, but is best when used with direct acids for best results. It’s more of a mild treatment, but can make a great addition to a routine for acne scars, especially if you have more sensitive skin. It has a very slippery texture and makes a great primer/base for makeup.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

Another one of The Ordinary’s direct acids, Lactic Acid is a mild exfoliant that works in the same way glycolic acid does, it’s just a little bit more gentle so it’s better for dry and sensitive skin types. 10% lactic acid provides mild exfoliation to fade acne scars over time while smoothing out skin texture, diminishing fine lines and brightening overall skin tone. Hyaluronic Acid and Tasmanian Pepperberry help to reduce irritation and dehydration that can happen with exfoliation.

If you’re new to acids or have very sensitive skin, they also have a 5% Lactic Acid + HA serum that’s just as good, just less intense.

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

One of the most gentle chemical exfoliants, this Mandelic Acid serum is one of the best The Ordinary products for acne scars and sensitive skin. For those that can’t handle glycolic or lactic acid, mandelic acid is much more tolerable. The molecular size of mandelic acid is much larger than that of glycolic and lactic acid, so the molecules penetrate the skin more slowly, which makes it less irritating.

You still get all the benefit of exfoliation: fading acne scars, improving skin tone and texture and diminishing fine lines without all the irritation from other acids.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

As one of the most powerful and potent vitamin c products on the market, it’s a great option for fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation. The typically unstable L-Ascorbic Acid is stable in this formula thanks to its waterless formulation. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about the product oxidizing and becoming ineffective. Tingling is common with this powerful brightening treatment and can be diluted with other products to help build up tolerance, if needed.

The Vitamin C will brighten skin tone, fade acne scars, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone and stimulate collagen production while hyaluronic acid spheres keep skin plump and hydrated. The only downside to this product is the texture – it feels very gritty on the skin, even after letting the product sit for a few minutes, you can still rub your fingers over your skin and feel little particles from the vitamin c.

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution

An incredibly stable Ascorbic Acid serum that helps to brighten skin tone, fade acne scars and dark spots even skin tone and stimulate collagen production. If you’re looking for a powerful vitamin c serum but the texture of the 23% Vitamin C Suspension is keeping you away, you’ll love the silky feel of this serum. Since it’s much closer in molecular weight to ascorbic acid, you’ll get faster and better results than many of the other The Ordinary Vitamin C derivatives, meaning this one is more potent than their other vitamin c’s.

This texture of this serum is unique – since it’s water-free, it feels slightly oily upon application, but sinks in and doesn’t leave an oily or greasy finish/residue.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

A granactive retinoid has all of the benefit of a traditional retinol or retinoid without all the irritation that typically comes with them. Retinoids work by speeding up cell turnover, so skin is brighter, clearer and healthier. They can stimulate collagen production moreso than vitamin c, so they can help with pitted or indented acne scars. Retinoids can fade acne scars, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, even skin tone, smooth skin texture, treat and prevent acne and help with anti-aging.

Retinoids are something I think everyone should be using in their skincare routine, and this granactive retinoid is one of the best Ordinary products for acne scars because it’s all the power of a prescription retinoid without all of the irritation, dryness and flaky skin. Since this product has Squalane in it, it does feel slightly oily when first applied, but after a few minutes it sinks in and doesn’t look or feel greasy.

Best The Ordinary Products For Acne Scars: Wrap Up

what ordinary products are good for acne scars

If you’ve ever gone on The Ordinary’s website, you’ve probably wondered “which Ordinary product is best for dark marks?” These are the best Ordinary products for dark spots that will help you fade acne scars quickly and even help treat and prevent future acne from forming (that way you don’t get new acne scars!). You can even create a regimen of The Ordinary products for dark spots and scars which can help to speed up the process.

With these best The Ordinary products for pitted acne scars, you’ll be able to fade that hyperpigmentation and get even, clear skin in no time. Although fading acne scars does take time (oftentimes several months), these products will help speed up the process so you can kiss those acne scars goodbye! Do you have a favorite skincare product from The Ordinary that helps with acne scarring?

best ordinary skincare products for acne scars

Best The Ordinary Products For Acne Scars

These Best Ordinary Products for acne scars and marks will help with fading hyperpigmentation and general skin tone and texture issues. What’s your favorite Ordinary skincare product for acne scars?

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