13 Best Acne Scar Treatments Recommended by Dermatologists

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The bad news: There’s no secret ingredient or miracle gadget that makes scars totally disappear. Don’t get discouraged, though. A lot of what you think of as acne scarring is really just post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or erythema — brown or red spots — rather than an actual change in the texture of the skin. 

“Scars and discoloration occur as a result of injury to the skin, and in the case of acne, the injury is related to excess oil production, inflammation, and bacteria,” says board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, who says that when the skin tries to repair itself after, it can leave a red, pink, tan, or brown mark behind, depending on the breakout and the individual’s skin type. 

Because of the inflammatory and bacterial aspects, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after acne is in its own category. “This differs from sunspots or hyperpigmentation that is the result of an increase in melanin resulting from UV exposure and environmental stressors that lead to free radical damage that can manifest as brown spots.”

Luckily, there’s a bevy of gels, creams, and treatments that can bring this kind of discoloration down. We asked top dermatologists to recommend the most effective products for lessening the marks left behind by breakouts. Here’s what the experts recommend.

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