The 10 Best Acne Scar Treatments That Actually Work
Some post-breakout good news: You survived, and your skin is pimple-free again. The bad news: You’re left with hyperpigmentation that manifests itself as red or dark spots, which can last weeks or even months. And no one is spared from this frustrating skin condition. Scars can affect complexions of all ages and colors, and if you’re a chronic pimple picker, the odds are even more against you.
The only way to immediately get rid of dark spots is through in-office lasers and prescription retinoids, but there are some non-prescription products that do a good job at fading marks faster. You won't see results right away, but with continued use, over-the-counter acne scar treatments can help even out your skin tone. There's a myriad of spot treatments, serums, gels, and creams out there, so we've done the work for you by rounding up the absolute best acne scar treatments you can use at home.
Keep reading for the 10 dark spot correctors that actually work.
VIDEO: Which Anti-Aging Serums to Buy for Your Skin Concerns
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
Slow and steady is the name of this dark spot treatment's game. You won't see results from this serum overnight, but you'll be happy if you stick with it. Clinical trials showed improvement in acne scars, along with sun and age spots, in four weeks.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel
If adding another step to your skincare routine seems like way too much effort, opt for these easy AHA and BHA acid-soaked pads. The first pad gently exfoliates skin to promote cell turnover, which helps fade dark marks. Follow up with the second pad to soothe and hydrate skin.
Renee Rouleau Post-Breakout Fading Gel
Part of the struggle with treating acne scars is picking the right product. A lot of them don't have "fading" in their names, which makes it tough to know whether or not they're doing to even out skin tone. Luckily, this gel does what it says, and says what it does. Specifically formulated for post-cystic blemish recovery, this spot treatment is a mix of exfoliating acids and brighteners that lift discoloration.
PCA Skin Pigment Gel
It may technically be a serum, but this PCA product is best used a spot treatment. Safe for all skin types, it treats leftover inflammation and hyperpigmentation from past breakouts.
Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum
This lightweight serum zaps post-breakout marks while simultaneously improving skin texture. The hero ingredient is a small, but mighty peptide that kick starts the skin's renewal process, which is exactly what needs to happen in order to lift dark spots.
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Bright Dark Spot Correcting Night Mask
Sleeping off acne scars might seem too good to be true, but this treatment is meant to be used overnight. Origins' sleeping mask is enriched with brightening and hydrating ingredients including rosa roxburghii and vitamin C.
Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector Serum with Retinol
Yep, you don't have to spend a ton of money to get an effective dark spot treatment. This drugstore staple is formulated with two powerhouse ingredients: retinol and vitamin C. Since this is a potent combo, dab it only on your acne marks so you don't experience any dryness or irritation.
Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector
While this lightweight cream is expensive, the results it delivers make it worth the price. It targets current discoloration from breakouts while preventing future hyperpigmentation.
Paula's Choice Resist Triple-Action Dark Spot Eraser 7% AHA Lotion
This spot treatment doesn't just work on your face. The exfoliating and nourishing lotion works on acne discoloration on your neck and chest, too.
Burt's Bees Renewal Dark Spot Corrector
For anyone looking for a natural option, this Burt's Bees serum is your best bet. it contains brightening backuchiol, a gentle alternative to retinol, plus vitamin C.