Battling acne can be a long and arduous task. It takes maintenance and patience, plus a lot of trial and error. And the worst part? When your acne (opens in new tab) is finally healed, it can still leave evidence of its unwanted presence behind. Enter acne scars, the pain-in-the-ass leftovers you can get stuck with after harsh bouts of breakouts. They come in many forms: boxcar, icepick, rolling, keloid...the list goes on. The good news is that they can be managed and improved through treatments from the pros (opens in new tab) and at-home maintenance. You just need to know what you're looking for.
If you're able to see a derm, you have a handful of options—think chemical peels, microneedling, dermabrasion, and even filler (your doc will tell you which type of scarring you have and the best way to treat it). But if you can't head to an office, or just need something to supplement your professional treatments, you can start to tackle those scars and spots at home. That means you'll need an updated arsenal of serums, creams, and targeted formulas made specifically for correcting those persistent little problems. Luckily, there are more potent actives and innovative products out there than ever before that'll help smooth your skin's surface and lift unwanted discoloration so your scars will fade away—right along with the acne that left them there. Here, we're rounded up the latest and greatest in banishing acne scars for good.
Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment
For Pitted Scars
If you have deep scarring that's too stubborn for other products, Murad's targeted treatment is proven to minimize the scars' depth and discoloration in just two months using BHAs and Vitamin C.
Lumene Valo Vitamin C Overnight Bright Sleeping Cream
Cloudberries, the Finnish export you've probably never heard of, are a potent source of vitamin C. This night cream will help lift dark spots and hydrate textured skin while you snooze.
Differin Differin Dark Spot Correcting Serum
Differin's retinoid is the over the counter go-to for derms everywhere. and the brand's dark spot serum another anti-aging all-star. It contains hydroquinone, which lifts melasma, age spots, and dark spots caused by scarring to even tone.
L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum
For a Budget
Retinol is king when it comes to reversing signs of aging and skin damage, and we love a steal. L'Oréal Paris' serum will perk up skin overnight without breaking the bank.
Eminence Organic Skin Care Bright Skin Targeted Dark Spot Treatment
For Tough Spots
Sometimes, swiping a serum on your whole face just won't cut it. Targeted treatments can help treat those extra stubborn spots, and dabbing this licorice and turmeric-infused formula on twice a day can clear a discolored complexion.
Terraform Baku Anti Aging Serum
For Dry Skin
Bakuchiol is an all-star natural alternative for retinol, and this silky serum combines it with hemp-derived cannabinoids and fatty acids to treat uneven tone and sooth the skin at the same time.
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
For A Deep Clean
Cleansing offers another opportunity to lift spots and exfoliate scarring. This cleanser offers a potent combo of surface buffing AHAs and pore clearing BHAs.
Renée Rouleau Post-Breakout Fading Gel
For Post-Pimple Redness
You know that annoying red spot that lingers after a pimple heals? A potent spot treatment like this one can target the inflammation that's causes it. Dab a little on and watch that stubborn spot fade away.
ZO Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads
For Oily Skin
Sweeping a pad over your face and seeing all that gunk on it afterward? There's almost nothing more satisfying. Glycolic acid give these pads an exfoliating kick that improves texture in acne-prone complexions.
Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Creamy Bubbling Cleanser
For Dry Skin
Creamy cleansers give skin a thorough clean without that uncomfortable tightening sensation, and the fruit acids inside this formula exfoliate away dead skin cells for a lit-from-within glow.
SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator
For Uneven Texture
Texture can make scars more noticeable, so smoothing them out can make a big difference—even underneath your makeup. SkinCeutical's lightweight serum contains kombucha and hyaluronic acid to keep skin bouncy while it works its magic.
Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask
For an instant glow
Lifting dark spots and smoothing scars takes time, but for a quick dose of brightness before a night out, layer on this pretty purple mask.
Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.
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