Acne scars come in many different shapes and sizes. Scars with pits (indented into the skin) and raised keloid scars often require professional treatment – in these cases topical aloe vera will not help heal these scars. However, for another type of acne residue, aloe vera can offer some benefits. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is technically not an official scar, but it often occurs after outbreaks and many people find it just as bothersome as outbreaks themselves. They can appear dark brown, brown, pink, or red.
Also known as dark spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation often manifests itself in the wake of pimples, pustules, and cystic outbreaks. Aloesin, a compound found naturally in the aloe plant, has been shown in certain studies to help lighten things up. One study showed that aloe, when applied to the skin four times a day for two weeks, can effectively fade the post-acne hyperpigmentation. Another study showed that topical application of aloesin can directly prevent hyperpigmented skin from producing more melanin, which is the natural pigment in the skin that causes dark spots to form.
If your hyperpigmentation is severe, combining aloe vera – or skin care products infused with aloe vera – with a prescribed topical (like a retinoid or retinol alternative) may be your best bet to lighten things up. In other words, if your dark spots are particularly stubborn, don’t rely on aloe vera alone. Instead, combine it with another topical recommended (or prescribed) by dermatologists to double the scar fading power.