The struggle isn't always over once you land an acne treatment that works. Spironolactone has helped get my hormonal breakouts under control, but the dark spots that are all over my chin and jawline from past blemishes is the acne hangover I never asked for.
Bad news is that no product is going to make dark spots fade overnight—no matter how many potent ingredients it has or the promises listed on its back label. You have to be patient, and diligently use it for at least a month before you're able to really tell if it's making any difference. (Related: I've Tried Dozens of Products to Treat My Eczema, and These Are The 5 Best)
It took a few years to figure out how to get rid of my acne, so I didn't want to waste even more time trying products that weren't doing to clean up the aftermath. After a few false starts with some other serums that irritated my sensitive skin, I decided to give Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum a shot. Despite its $90 price tag, the serum is a cult-favorite product from the brand that's regularly raved about by skincare-obsessed people on the internet. (Related: Shape Beauty Awards 2018: The Latest and Greatest Skin-Care Products)
This serum gets people going because it's formulated with a mix of all-star AHA/BHAs including glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartic acids, plus raspberry. Together, these chemical exfoliants resurface the skin by lifting all of the dead cells so that over time, your complexion will become smoother, even, and clear in tone. These acids can also do wonders for fine lines and wrinkles, too.
While chemical exfoliants can be uber-effective, using them can be dicey if you have temperamental skin like mine. They can cause redness and dryness—two things you don't want when you're trying to get rid of discoloration. That's why Drunk Elephant added soothing horse chestnut, bearberry, and white tea to this serum to keep skin calm and prevent irritation.
What also sets this serum apart is its gel-like texture. It dries down seconds after I massage it on my face, and doesn't feel heavy or sticky on my skin. But, not only are my pillowcases stain-free, my skin hasn't gotten dry or flaky since I started incorporating the serum into my nightly routine. (Related: The Best Moisturizers for Every Skin Type)
Like I said before, don't expect your dark spots to fade after using this serum once. Luckily, four weeks into using Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, it's starting to live up to all of the hype. The discoloration I have on my jawline is lighter, and becoming easier to cover without having to use both concealer and foundation on the area.
What I did notice the first time I used it is how instantly smoother my skin felt. The serum is great if you're looking for a product that will quickly improve your overall texture, too.
There's definitely cheaper serums or spot treatments out there that probably work, but the fact that this one has saved me time and the skin irritation, plus the added anti-aging and smoothing benefits, makes it worth the re-stock once I finish my current bottle.
This story originally appeared on InStyle.com by Erin Lukas.