During quarantine life, I have become obsessed with my skin care routine. I almost never wear makeup, and have become more focused on having great, glowing skin, without covering it up with products! One of my biggest struggles is the marks left behind by acne. Its bad enough to have a breakout, but its even worse when the mark is left on your skin for months!
I’ve tried a lot of topical treatments from the dermatologist, but also a lot of skincare products that promise to fade those marks. I’m constantly making suggestions to friends, and thought I would share all the secrets before you shell out money on any products!
Salicylic Acid: I use Clinque’s Clinical Clearing Gel with salicylic acid as an acne treatment. Its one of the best treatments that I have found, although its a little pricey and I go through a ton of it. But the best way to stop acne scars is to not have acne in the first place! The salicylic acid exfoliates old skin cells that can clog your pores. It also has witch hazel which helps tighten your pores. I use the product morning and night, and it does tighten up my skin and reduce the visibility of pores. It can be irritating and cause a little redness though.
Prescription Retinol: In addition to the salicylic acid, I use a prescription retinol to treat acne. You can buy over the counter retinol products, but the prescription is going to get you the highest dose and most powerful treatment. Retinol exfoliates your skin, which removes the top layer of skin. This helps keep your pores from clogging, but also helps diminish scar marks over time by removing layers of your skin. My prescription is definitely the best exfoliant that I have tried, and will basically peel a layer of skin off each night that I use it. It does make my skin much more sensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is a must! Although it works to help fade acne marks, this is a slow process, and doesn’t give you the fastest results. The cream is a little chalky, so you only want to use it at night.
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment: If you don’t want to go through the process of seeing a dermatologist for treatment (which I recommend as your first stop, but it can be expensive!). The best over the counter exfoliant that I have found is Sunday Riley Lactic Acid treatment. This treatment works similar to the retinol and will remove a layer of my skin by the next morning. The treatment also includes licorice, lemongrass, and prickly pear extract, which brighten dark spots and even tone. The product looks and feels nice on your skin, so you can use it in the morning or at night.
Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Seurum: I’ve had mixed results with this product. I feel like it has helped for minor red marks, but not the more stubborn ones. It’s also pretty irritating to my skin and leaves it red after use. This product contains Hydroquinone, Glycolic Acid, Hexapeptide-2 and Vitamin C. These ingredients are supposed to lighten skin and help exfoliate. I won’t say that it doesn’t work, but it is not a miracle treatment. It also has a very strong chemical smell, and leaves your skin greasy and filmy, so it really only works to use at night.
Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment: This is the first product that I used in hopes of getting rid of my acne scars. I saw minor improvements, which is better than nothing, but I have found better products since. I would say this is the gentlest of all of the treatments that I have tried, so it would be a good place to start if you have sensitive skin or don’t want to try anything too aggressive. It does leave your skin with a nice texture and no redness, so you can use it before applying makeup. The treatment includes Glucosamine and Salicylic Acid to exfoliate, TECA Centella Asiatica to help your skins natural moisture barrier, Hydroxytyrosol and Pure Vitamin C to help tone and brighten skin.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel: The latest treatment that I have tried is this 2-step at home chemical peel. This peel includes Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Lactic Acid, which in combination will exfoliate and support cell renewal. This is one of the more powerful at home treatments that I have tried, but it had almost immediate results. After one use, my acne scar marks looked more faded, and overall, my skin looked firmer and smoother! It did leave my skin a little dry and sensitive the next day, so it is something I use weekly instead of daily, especially in combination with the other treatments that I use! This treatment isn’t cheap, but if you are looking for immediate results, I recommend it.
Olehenriksen Truth Serum: Vitamin C is supposed to help fade dark spots and acne scars. I’ve tried a few different vitamin C products from Olehenriksen, but haven’t had the best of results. They are okay treatments to use to make your skin look dewy and feel nice, but I haven’t seen any actual changes to my skin after using them. If you are looking for major results, I wouldn’t recommend this.
Sunscreen: A lot of the products that I have shared will make your skin extra sensitive to the sun, so you want to use sunscreen whenever you’re outside. The sun will also cause any existing dark marks to appear darker as you tan! The product I have been using this summer is Murad Essential C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30. I like this product because its gentle on my skin, and is a sunscreen and moisturizer in one. Most days, I just wear this on my face!
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still are not happy with your skin, a dermatologist can always help with more aggressive treatments like chemical peels and lasers. While costly, they can offer greater results and a more permanent solution.