As if breakouts weren't enough for you to cancel all foreseeable plans, now you have to think/worry about the red marks and dark spots that can be left behind—even if you don't pick at your zits. (PSA: Don't pick at your pimples! Make it a 2020 resolution and stick to it!) Thankfully, there are tons of over-the-counter products that can help fade lingering marks, but you have to choose the right one. That's where we come in.
Need some help learning how to get rid of acne scars for good? Try one of these 11 products—including a cleanser, retinol, and more—that'll let you say "see you NEVER" to your dark spots every single time you slather them on.
Avène Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser
This gentle cleanser
The last thing you need to be using when you have acne is a cleanser that also has a ton of harsh acne-fighting ingredients. This ultra-gentle soap-free one clears away any dirt and grime and helps keep your skin stay blemish-free with thermal spring water, sebo-regulating patented monolaurain, and anti-inflammatory zinc gluconate without stripping your face of its natural oils. Dhs77 on Amazon.
Urban Skin Rx 3-in-1 Even Tone Cleansing Bar
This spot-fading cleansing bar
This cleansing bar kinda, sorta, does it all: It dissolves dirt and oil on contact, it doubles as a spot-brightening mask (just leave the suds on your skin for three minutes before washing off), and it gently exfoliates dry patches and dark patches as you rub it around. With ingredients like kojic acid and niacinamide—two of the best, and most gentle, skin brighteners, this cleanser will help you fight dark spots from the moment you start your day. Dhs262 on Amazon.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
This brightening serum
Massage a few drops of this serum over your clean, dry skin every morning to boost your skin's natural protection against UVA/UVB rays and infrared radiation (heat)—both of which create dark spots and worsen acne scars. This cult-favorite serum also contains a huge dose of vitamins C and E and ferulic acid that work together to noticeably brighten your skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dhs433 on Amazon.
Beautycounter Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel
This skin-smoothing peel
This multi-acid AHA/BHA peel (it uses glycolic, malic, and botanically derived lactic acid to get the job done) is safe enough for sensitive skin and helps cells turnover faster, clearing away dead skin that can leave behind a dull appearance. Translation: You have a dark spot from that blemish you picked, you use this, and then you see the acne mark diminish within a week. PS: Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you can use this three times a week, but start once a week at first to ease into it. Dhs231 on Beauty Counter.
Cane + Austin Acne Retexture Pad
These resurfacing pads
Note: These pads are not for the sensitive skinned, so keep reading if your face routinely stings. These resurfacing pads, which contain five percent glycolic acid and two percent salicylic, not only help fade existing acne scars, but also prevent future blemishes from popping up and ruining your day. Gently swipe one of over your clean face, two to four times a week, for an overall brighter complexion. Dhs334 on Amazon.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen
this scar-preventing sunscreen
If you're trying to heal a scar, the sun is your enemy and sunscreen is your hero. Why? Because UV rays cause excess melanin (pigment-containing cells) to flood the area, causing spots to look more pronounced. To protect your face—and keep dark patches from getting, well, darker—try this sunscreen that's completely sheer and caste-free, making it perfect for every skin tone. Dhs259 on Amazon.
IS Clinical Pro-heal Serum Advance+
This healing serum
Any spots left behind from your stress- or period-induced pimples are no match for this healing serum. It uses anti-inflammatory zinc sulfate with time-released brightening vitamin C and acne-fighting kojic acid and regenerating vitamins E and A to leave you with the clear skin of your damn dreams. Oh, and, fun fact: it even heals bug bites.
Differin Acne Treatment
This all-in-one retinoid
It brightens! It kills zits! It smooths scars! It totally resurfaces your face to give you the skin of a baby! IT'S DIFFERIN! This over-the-counter retinoid (an umbrella term for all vitamin-A derivatives, including retinol) is the only active ingredient that's proven to speed up your collagen production to increase cell turnover, and, in turn, give you the skin of your dreams. It can be irritating at first, so start slow: Apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin one night a week for a week, two nights a week for two weeks, three nights a week for three weeks, and then every other night indefinitely. Dhs76 on Amazon.