As if acne itself isn’t bad enough, it often leaves behind a reminder of its dreadful presence after it is gone. This reminder can take the form of deep-seated scars (otherwise known as atrophic scars) and/or pigmentation (Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)).
While we need a dermatologist to eliminate the former, we can improve the appearance of both by looking at products which even out the resultant discolouration.
This discolouration can take anywhere from a couple of months to over a year to fade away. There’s really no telling but thankfully, we have a whole plethora of products available to help speed up the process.
Here are 24 best products to improve your acne scarring!
(By the way, if you’d like to see more options, you can also consider the winners for best scar treatments at the Daily Vanity Beauty Awards 2020.)
- 1. Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Expert Soin Emulsion
- 2. Bio-Oil
- 3. Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter
- 4. CosRx Centella Blemish Cream
- 5. CosRx Triple C Lightning Liquid
- 6. Dr. Wu Daily Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid
- 7. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
- 8. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
- 9. Farsali Volcanic Elixir
- 10. Hiruscar Post Acne
- 11. Kate Somerville D-Scar Diminishing Serum
- 12. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
- 13. Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop
- 14. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+]
- 15. Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence
- 16. Naruko Tea Tree Post Blemish Corrector
- 17. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum
- 18. Shiseido White Lucent Microtargeting Spot Corrector
- 19. SK-II GenOptics Spot Essence
- 20. Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment
- 21. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
- 22. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
- 23. Vichy Ideal White Meta Whitening Essence
- 24. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
1. Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Expert Soin Emulsion
Formulated specifically for acne-prone skin, this emulsion reduces redness and treats inflammation, while maintaining a matte complexion. Influenster reviewers, even those with sensitive skin, wrote that despite it being matte, it moisturised well, was not drying and it really resolved their acne scarring issues.
Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Expert Soin Emulsion (40ml) retails for SGD29.90 at Watsons.
Bio-Oil is a drugstore favourite that contains a mixture of natural ingredients like Vitamins A and E, Calendula Oil, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil and Chamomile Oil and of course, their breakthrough PurCellin Oil to help improve the appearance of scars with an easily-absorbed formula.
Influenster reviewers noted that though their scars were still present after using Bio-Oil, the scarring had faded significantly.
3. Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter
Made for almost all skin types (except sensitive skin), this serum provides a two-pronged approach to lighten pigmentation while soothing the skin to prevent any future formation. Influenster reviewers love the gentle formula that melts into skin and how it reduced their discolouration within a few days of usage while also treating their skin’s texture and overall skin tone without any irritation.
Clinique Even Better Clinical Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter retails for SGD115 (30ml) and SGD150 (50ml) on sephora.sg.
4. CosRx Centella Blemish Cream
This gentle and soothing cream’s key ingredient is the Centella Asiatica Leaf Water. It comes from a herb that is chock-full of Vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, Carotene, Niacin and antioxidants which help to reduce redness, brighten skin and boost the production of collagen. It also contains Madecassic acid that is known to stop inflammation and prevent acne scarring.
CosRx Centella Blemish Cream (30ml) retails for SGD30.90 at Watsons.
5. CosRx Triple C Lightning Liquid
This serum contains a 20.5% concentration of Vitamin C. It prevents the production of melanin and evens out skin tone by lightening pigmentation. Formulated for all skin types, it is also-fragrance free.
Soko Glam customers love its efficacy on acne scars – claiming it helps eliminate appearance of scars as soon as 2 weeks! – while being gentle and how affordable it is.
Side note: Some skin types are sensitive to Vitamin C, so remember to do a patch test first and load up on the sunscreen, which will also help with the pigmentation problem!
CosRx Triple C Lightning Liquid (30ml) ietails for approx. SGD37.65 (USD27) on Soko Glam.
6. Dr. Wu Daily Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid
With a potent formula of 5% Mandelic acid, 2% Salicylic acid and 1% Pyruvic acid, this serum speeds up the skin renewal process, lightening acne discolouration, clearing clogged pores and reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
People with sensitive skin will be glad to know that this is formulated for them. There aren’t many online reviews but MakeupAlley reviewers commented that though this took longer to show results, it was very gentle and they did not encounter any irritations at all.
Dr. Wu Daily Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid (15ml) retails for SGD43.90 on Watsons.
7. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
One of cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant’s star products is the C-Firma Day Serum. With a potent mixture of 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (the scientific name for Vitamin C), 0.5% Ferulic Acid (works together with Vitamin C to lighten pigmentation by clearing away dead skin) and 1% Vitamin E, it is little wonder that it has a 4/5 star rating on Sephora.
Sephora shoppers love how quickly it fades pigmentation without any irritation and there was a significant glowiness added to their overall complexion.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (30ml) retails for SGD114 on sephora.sg.
8. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Another star product from said brand is this night serum that contains a 12% concentration of an AHA/BHA blend. It gives a gentle chemical exfoliation to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and wrinkles while you sleep. Sephora shoppers love how it evens out skin tone, reduces redness and notice that it even gets rid of acne.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (30ml) retails for SGD128 (30ml) and SGD190 (50ml) on sephora.sg.
9. Farsali Volcanic Elixir
This elixir is basically a bottle of Calophyllum Tacamahaca Seed oil, or also known as Tamanu oil. This ingredient comes from the Tamanu Nut Tree and is filled with fatty acids to help seal moisture in the skin. It is known to help reduce inflammation and can help lighten the look of acne scars.
Though it is meant as an overnight hydrating treatment for skin, Sephora shoppers thought it smelled weird but raved about it anyway because it helped clear their acne scars while keeping acne at bay, as well as improving their overall skin condition. Some also said that it helped with their eczema problems!
Farsali Volcanic Elixir (30ml) retails for SGD82 on sephora.sg.
10. Hiruscar Post Acne
This scar gel is formulated specially to target dark spots left behind by acne and depressed scars. Its key ingredients are:
- Mucopolysaccharide Polysulphate: Increases skin’s hydration level and boosts cell regeneration;
- Allium Cepa: Reduces infection and speeds up the healing of wounds;
- Pionin: Stops bacteria growth;
- Allantoin: Boosts skin renewal process while increasing hydration; and
- Vitamin B3: Repairs skin tone and diminishes dark marks.
There aren’t many online reviews but MakeupAlley reviewers felt that it really helped with the appearance of depressed scars though one needed to be very diligent and religious with the application.
Hiruscar Post Acne (10g) retails for SGD22.90 on Watsons.
11. Kate Somerville D-Scar Diminishing Serum
With a user-friendly roller applicator, this serum tackles both old and new scars. Its key ingredients are the brand’s own DS-7 and botanical extract which help to boost the skin renewal process and smooth out skin texture. It is formulated for all skin types. Sephora shoppers thought it took a little long for the serum to sink in the skin but were still happy with it because of how quickly it cleared acne scars.
Kate Somerville D-Scar Diminishing Serum (20ml) retails for SGD73 on sephora.sg.
12. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
This serum contains Vitamin C, Peony Extract and White Birch Extract to treat dark spots while preventing future ones by keeping skin hydrated and elastic, and increasing collagen production. Sephora shoppers mentioned that though diligent and regular applications are needed, the results are significant enough for them to repurchase this.
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution (30ml) retails for SGD92 at all Kiehl’s stores and online.
13. Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop
This serum contains a concentration of 5% Vitamin C to help even out skin tone by fading away pigmentation and preventing any future occurrence. Bonus: It also helps with the appearances of enlarged pores and wrinkles, Fragrance free, this is suitable even for sensitive skin.
Influenster reviewers with very sensitive skin appreciated the lower concentration of Vitamin C and how it helped heal blemishes faster and lightened redness and pigmentation. Remember to keep it in the fridge though to prevent oxidation!
Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop (35ml) retails for approx. SGD32.07 (USD23) on Soko Glam.
14. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+]
This treatment contains effective ingredients that don’t just treat the appearance of acne scarring, but also help skin tone look more even and fight inflammation. It promises to lighten the appearance of red or brown marks while fighting acne bacteria in just 12 hours.
MakeupAlley reviewers said it cleared their acne scars and acne, though people with sensitive skin might want to steer clear from this.
15. Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence
Another Vitamin C product at a pocket-friendly price, this Japanese essence contains skin-loving ingredients to improve blood circulation, fight acne, prevent redness, moisturise skin, and even out skin tone.
Amazon reviewers like that it didn’t oxidise quickly, was affordable and most importantly, that it worked.
Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence (20ml) retails for SGD16.90 at Guardian.
16. Naruko Tea Tree Post Blemish Corrector
This serum contains 0.5% salicylic acid to clear away skin debris and 3% Tranexamic Acid and Niacinamide to stop the production of melanin and pigmentation, as well as treat existing ones. It also helps to moisturise skin while regulating the production of oil.
Naruko Tea Tree Post Blemish Corrector retails for approx. SGD27.20 (USD19.50) on Amazon.
17. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum
This serum contains a powerful blend of 20% THD Ascorbate (a gold-standard form of Vitamin C that’s 50 times more potent than the traditional Ascorbic Acid), 3% Vitamin C, 2% Ferulic Acid (an antioxidant that works well with Vitamins C and E), and Hyaluronic Acid to boost hydration and improve the appearance of key age markers such as uneven skin tone and texture, firmness as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
Influenster reviewers loved its effectiveness on balancing out uneven skin tone and lightening dark spots, as well as how it made their skin smoother and look more radiant and glowy, despite the strange odour that takes a while to get used to.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum (30ml) retails for SGD149 on sephora.sg.
18. Shiseido White Lucent Microtargeting Spot Corrector
This corrector provides an intensive treatment on dark spots for a complexion that is clear and translucent. Influenster reviewers baulked at how pricey it is but felt it was worth it because it applied smoothly and diminished their dark spots significantly.
Shiseido White Lucent Microtargeting Spot Corrector (30ml) retails for SGD155 at all Shiseido counters and online at sephora.sg.
19. SK-II GenOptics Spot Essence
Meant to target dark spots specifically, this serum is powered by GenOptics Spot Resist Complex and the brand’s signature Pitera ingredient to treat and prevent pigmentation while rebalancing skin’s natural function.
Influenster reviewers mentioned the high price point but were willing to repurchase because of how effective it is at getting rid of pigmentation gently while keeping the skin soft, radiant and hydrated.
20. Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment
With lactic acid, liquorice, lemongrass and aloe as its key ingredients, this treatment gets rid of dark spots by providing a gentle and soothing chemical exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and lighten the skin.
Though rather pricey, Sephora shoppers gave this a holy grail status because it faded away acne scarring while reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and smoothing out wrinkles, giving a youth complexion.
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment (30ml) retails for SGD130 (30ml) and SGD186 (50ml) on sephora.sg.
21. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
This serum contains Niacinamide that helps strengthen skin’s barrier and reduce pigmentation and Zinc that helps to boost collagen and elastin productions.
MakeupAlley reviewers of course loved how affordable it is, its high concentration of Niacinamide (people with sensitive skin should definitely do a patch test first!) and its efficacy in lightening dark spots and improving their skin condition.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% retails for approx. SGD8.23 (USD5.90) on Beautylish.
22. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
This rosehip oil has at least 80% essential fatty acid (Omega 3 and 6) and fatty acid (Omega 9) to help heal wounds and scars, while effectively hydrating the skin.
MakeupAlley reviewers noted that it made their skin soft and that it had definitely helped improve the appearance of their acne scars.
23. Vichy Ideal White Meta Whitening Essence
This essence is formulated with a meta whitening complex that boosts and works together with the skin’s metabolism to disrupt the melanin life cycle for a flawless and radiant complexion. Influenster reviewers liked how quickly it is absorbed into the skin and how effective it is a lightening discolouration.
Vichy Ideal White Meta Whitening Essence (30ml) retails for SGD78 at Guardian.
24. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
Formulated with four potent anti-discoloration ingredients, this award-winning serum is clinically proven to tackle post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (acne dark spots) melasma and other discoloured skin patches within three months’ time.
We previously reviewed the formula here, and Influenster reviewers noted that it had helped dramatically improve the appearance of dark spots while treating overall uneven skin tone and improving skin radiance.
(By the way, if you’d like to see more options, you can also consider the winners for best scar treatments at the Daily Vanity Beauty Awards 2020.)