Breakouts are bad enough as it is, but anyone who suffers from post-acne hyperpigmentation knows that dealing with the aftermath is even worse. For some lucky people, spots will clear up straight away, but for others, they linger in the form of red or brown marks than can last for weeks (even months) and can lead to long-term scars if not treated correctly.
As someone from the unlucky category, I’ve tried just about every possible treatment that there is out there – from professional peels and laser treatments to microdermabrasion kits and superpower serums. Whilst clinical treatments are great, they’re not always easily accessible, and in truth, I’ve found many non-prescription at-home treatments to be just as good, if not better.
Scroll down to meet my favourites. Guaranteed do a good job of fading marks effectively in order to fast-track you back to clear, even-toned skin.
By BEAUTY BAY Soothe Paste
Sometimes, the key to preventing scars is in the way you treat a spot when it appears. Popping spots and using harsh spot treatments can cause trauma to the skin which makes the pigmentation worse, so although it feels counterintuitive, treating skin gently is super important. Skincare By BEAUTY BAY Soothe Paste is specifically formulated to help prevent breakouts from leaving marks. As well as blemish-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid and zinc, it’s packed with squalane, glycerin, and niacnamide to prevent skin from drying out.
Dermalogica Bio-Lumin C Serum
Vitamin C is a great ingredient for treating pigmentation from acne because it helps to increase production of collagen, the protein responsible for rebuilding healthy skin by promoting healthy tissue growth. Dermalogica Bio-Lumin C Serum can be applied twice a day and used even on sensitive skin without causing irritation. Plus, it will help to brighten dull skin in the process.
Everyday Humans Resting Beach Face
Wearing daily SPF is important for many reasons, but its benefit for post-acne marks is surprisingly underrated… UV exposure causes inflammation to the skin, so exposing your breakouts and scars to the sun will only worsen the pigmentation, which is why it’s super important to wear a high factor every single day. This light, serum-like formula from Australian SPF experts Everyday Humans won’t clog pores or leave skin looking greasy, and it makes a great base for makeup.
You’re probably familiar with the spot stickers applied to help treat existing breakouts, but Zitsticka went a step further and created Hyperfade, patches to help target the marks they leave behind. Miniature microdarts dissolve ingredients like vitamin C, alpha arbutin, niacinamide, and kojic acid into the skin to reduce redness and slow melanin production.
Acnemy Postzit Zit Marks Solution
Acnemy’s Postzit Solution resurfaces skin using salicylic acid and glycolic acid, which help to break down dead skin cells. As scars are typically on the top layers of skin, with each layer of dead skin that’s removed, they will appear more faded. What’s more, the formula contains niacinamide, glycerin, and ceramides, meaning that your skin barrier won’t be compromised by over-exfoliation. This is no overnight miracle worker, but it will make a difference if you use it frequently and consistently.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
Azelaic acid is one of those ingredients that crops up when it’s past midnight and you’re 543682 pages deep into a Reddit thread about treating acne scars (yep, I’ve been there). The ingredient is frequently prescribed to rosacea sufferers, due to its ability to decrease the inflammation that causes rosacea’s trademark redness. It works in the same way for post-acne marks, selectively targeting pigment-producing cells without impacting normal ones and has the added benefit of preventing the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
Freck Cactus Water Lactic Acid Toner
Freck Cactus Water heroes lactic acid, an AHA (chemical exfoliant) which removes dead skin cells and maximises the impact of other ingredients. By exfoliating away the surface layer of the skin, fresh new skin shines (literally) through and licorice root gets to work, calming inflammation and preventing future breakouts, thanks to its anti-microbial properties.
Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil
Rosehip oil has long been hailed as a powerful healing ingredient – it’s even used on burn victims in hospitals to treat and prevent scarring. It’s a powerhouse of fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, which work together to heal and fortify skin. I really love how rosehip oil makes my skin feel when I apply it – soft, nourished, and moisturised – I take the time to massage it in (the massage process itself helps with the healing by stimulating blood flow).
How To Prevent Acne Scars
- Don’t pick spots! Picking causes inflammation which can lead to longer-term scarring.
- Wear SPF! Sun exposure can make redness worse, so use a dedicated sunscreen on your face.
- Take supplements! Zinc is renowned for its ability to heal skin from the inside so pop a pill with your morning drink.
- Assess your diet! To prevent spots from marking in the first place, avoid food and drink high in inflammatory ingredients like caffeine and sugar.
- Moisturise! Skin is only healthy and able to heal and function at its best when it’s well-hydrated.
- Conceal! Follow our easy step-by-step makeup routine for covering acne scars.