As if acne isn't terrible enough to deal with, from the initial flare up to the please-pop-me whitehead stage, when a pimple finally clears up it can still leave its mark. Whether red, pink, brown, or in between, these spots, AKA post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, can become unsettling, and even permanent reminders of what came before them. But they don't have to be scars...or at least not obvious ones thanks to a slew of topical healing and lightening elixirs. Here, treatments that have their users literally eulogizing about the difference they've made in their complexions.
This lovely-smelling, oil-free serum has a high concentration of viniferine, a natural, active ingredient extracted from grapevine sap that's been proven to be 62 times more effective than Vitamin C when it comes to fighting dark spots and boosting radiance.
What one woman said: "After using up the first bottle of Caudalie and onto my second, my post-acne scars have faded tremendously and my skin tone is A LOT better than before. This serum makes my skin glow, [and] it looks especially good after I wake up in the AM."—PrimpingPrincess, L.A.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, $79; sephora.com.
If you're preferable to a while-you-sleep treatment, this brightening cream, which can be worn like a mask, capitalizes on the skin's nighttime cycle to address marks. The magic ingredient? Sakura from Japanese cherry blossoms, which helps minimize the appearance of discolored spots while brightening the complexion all over.
What one woman said: "I don't ever write reviews for products. But this cream has helped me fade my hyper pigmentation left behind from acne and brightens my complexion. When I see my bare face in the mirror, I look radiant and my skin feels so smooth, soft, and silky. I can't live without it."—Danielatech
Shiseido White Lucent MultiBright Night Cream, $90; sephora.com.
With a blend of brighteners and exfoliating acids, this citrus-y gel treatment works to fade marks while promoting an even-toned complexion. Key ingredients, like anti-inflammatory white tea extract, will also soothe the skin and help clear up redness.
What one woman said: "For good measure, I'll regularly apply the Post-Breakout Fading Gel after the pimple has healed. Because there's always some sort of not-so-nice trace left behind, especially if you're dealing with a monster-sized mother*&ker."—Meets Obsession
Renée Rouleau Post-Breakout Fading Gel, $30.50; [link href="https://www.reneerouleau.com/products/post-breakout-fading-gel" target="_blank" link_updater_label="external"]reneerouleau.com.
The most wallet-friendly of the bunch, this drugstore spot treatment can treat fresh pimples, as well as help fade post-acne marks thanks to a healthy amount of glycolic acid.
What one woman said: "I love this stuff. I can see my acne scars fade faster and it also dries out current breakouts/helps prevent new pimples."—Adult Acne
Clean & Clear Advantage Mark Treatment, $5.69; amazon.com.
This rollerball serum formula works on both old and new scars to flatten and minimize their appearance using DS-7, a microencapsulated peptide that increases cell turnover for smoother, more even skin texture.
What one woman said: "I have bright red acne scars on my cheek. I tried many products to fade my scars, but they instead would LOOK like they're faded in the morning but turn bright red again throughout the day. I have only been using this for a week and I am EXTREMELY impressed! This product is seemingly healing my scars from the inside-out!"—AnnieLizT
Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum, $48; sephora.com.
With its gel-like texture, this lightening serum smoothes on easy (you can totally wear it under makeup) and gently works to *drastically* improve the appearance of discoloration in all forms.
What one woman said: "[It's] very decently priced and very effective. If you are not sensitive to Hydroquinone (a depigment agent), than this is your skin brightening treatment. Works very fast and very well."— Andreea_si_beni_mogovan
Proactiv+ Advanced Dark Spot Correcting Serum, $47.45; amazon.com.