These 7 Products Will Fade Your Acne Scars In Record Time
How to Fade Pesky Dark Spots
Whether you call them acne scars, dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, the discolored marks left behind by acne are no fun to deal with. Once you've solved the battle of getting rid of those pesky pimples, working on fading the signs they left behind can feel like yet another puzzle. While pitted scars—the ones that leave divots in your skin—can only be treated with medical procedures like fillers or microneedling, hyperpigmentation, aka "dark spots," have plenty of over-the-counter solutions. We've rounded up the seven best skin-care products to help you fade acne scars, with picks from SkinCeuticals, Pond's, Murad, and more. Scroll through to see the fast-acting solutions that will wipe away your dark spots in no time.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Vitamin C is a crucial ingredient in the journey to clear, spot-free skin, but not any old product will work. This vitamin C-vitamin E-ferulic acid blend is formulated to be as shelf-stable as possible, with the precise pH to be most effective. In fact, Skinceuticals holds the patent for this particular chemical composition, so you won't find an equally effective alternative anywhere else. Yes, the price tag might make you gulp, but it's high for a good reason—maintaining a patent while conducting R&D can get expensive.
Pond's Dark Spot Corrector
Right up there with vitamin C, niacinamide is a gold standard spot-fading ingredient, but (luckily) it doesn't have to cost as much as your mortgage. This popular cream by drugstore brand Pond's lists niacinamide as its third ingredient, meaning it makes up a significant percentage of the blend. It's under $7 a tub, so feel free to apply this product liberally and kiss those scars goodbye in no time.
Peace Out Microneedling Dark Spot Brightening Dots
These next-level pimple patches just launched in February and they already have a cult following, selling out within four days. (But don't worry, they've since been restocked!) The sticky-backed dots have microneedling-inspired prongs, each thinner than a hair, that work to deliver brightening ingredients like niacinamide and licorice root. Further proof they really work: More than 10,000 "hearts" on Sephora.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
Lactic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that helps your skin cells turn over and reveal the fresh (unscarred) tissue underneath. This treatment can be used several times a week and, over time, you'll notice a brighter, clearer complexion. Since there's a chance your skin can become irritated with use, this blend from The Ordinary includes hyaluronic acid to help mitigate that risk.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
The first step to fading acne scars is making sure your dark spots aren't darkening further. UVA rays exacerbate hyperpigmentation, so a sunscreen or SPF-containing moisturizer is crucial. This top-rated sunscreen by EltaMD is not only a consumer favorite, it's dermatologist-recommended, too. Plus, it contains additional ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid that will proactively fade marks while it protects.
Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum
Retinol is another proven ingredient for promoting skin cell turnover, but its higher-grade version, retinoid, is only available with a prescription. This new product by Sunday Riley offers the highest amount of retinol available over the counter. It's perfect for those wanting to upgrade from a drugstore retinol, but not quite ready to make the jump with a physician-administered prescription.
Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
Hydroquinone is something of a controversial ingredient in the skin-care world for its categorization as a "skin bleaching" agent. The ingredient works by blocking the overproduction of melanin, which causes skin damaged by sun, acne, or injury to darken. Whatever your opinions on skin bleaching agents, the ingredient is highly effective at reversing hyperpigmentation. This serum by Murad also contains alpha hydroxy acids and plenty of conditioning agents.