Is there anything worse than waking up to a fresh, plump pimple? Yes. Yes there is. In due time, a zit goes away, but the acne scar it leaves behind can plague your skin for weeks, months, or even years. There are a few skincare products designed to banish these scars forever; one of them is Bio-Oil.

What Is Bio-Oil?

Bio-Oil was developed in 1986 after years of research by the German cosmetic scientist Dieter Beier. This oil-based product is designed to keep oxygen out of the skin but leave moisture and vitamins in, all while treating and eliminating all types of scars and evening out discolored skin.

Part of Bio-Oil’s effectiveness comes from its primary ingredient, PurCellin oil, developed in a lab to replicate the effects of the preen gland found in ducks. The gland secretes an oil that’s distributed all over a duck’s body, creating a non-greasy layer that repels water and helps the duck swim effectively.

Bio-Oil and Acne Scars

When used over time, Bio-Oil reduces redness and the appearance of acne scars. According to science, it actually works—but the product can only improve scar appearance, not eliminate it entirely. In 2005, the Photobiology Laboratory of the Medical University of South Africa conducted a clinical trial in which 24 panelists with different forms of scars were asked to use Bio-Oil twice daily. After four weeks, 65 percent of the subjects reported vast improvement of their scars.

Recommended Usage

For maximum effectiveness, massage Bio-Oil into the skin in a circular motion twice daily. Improvement takes time, so commit to using the product for at least three months. Users with younger scars tend to see the best results in the shortest period of time. However, users with older scars have reported great improvements, too.

Bio-Oil should never be used on broken skin. If your scar is fresh, wait until it’s done healing before applying the product.

Other Treatments

See your dermatologist if you’re wary about using Bio-Oil or if it doesn’t work for your acne scars. A dermatologist can evaluate your skin and determine the best course of treatment in healing your particular acne scars. Some of the latest medical procedures known to help include microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing. Your dermatologist can also prescribe topical creams with ingredients known to improve acne scars, such as alpha hydroxy acids and Retin-A.

Prevention

You can’t always prevent acne breakouts. However, you can be proactive by adopting a daily skincare routine that includes a medicated cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. Daily use of topical acne treatments containing active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzyl peroxide also work to heal pimples quickly and prevent new ones from forming.