Clearing up breakouts is one thing, but it’s yet another to minimize any unwanted scarring that breakouts leave in their wake — to clean up the after party after the party, as I like to think of it. One way to do that (which is just a preference, by the way, not at all a necessity), is to pick up one of the best exfoliators for acne scars. All these products contain chemical exfoliants that “slough away dead skin cells, boost cellular turnover, and stimulate cellular renewal,” Dr. Mona Vand, Doctor of Pharmacy and Consulting Beauty & Wellness Expert for Bliss, tells Elite Daily. That all results in a clearer, more even-looking complexion overall.
In particular, both Dr. Vand and board certified dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, M.D. F.A.A.D., with whom I also spoke for this article, recommend glycolic acid for reducing superficial acne scarring. This AHA has the smallest molecules of all the major acids, so it can easily penetrate your pores and break down the “glue” between your skin cells that contributes to hyperpigmentation. On the downside, both glycolic and other acids — like lactic acid, a fellow AHA; and salicylic acid, a BHA — cancause some irritation, redness, and dryness, especially if you have sensitive skin. So look for products that also contain soothing and moisturizing ingredients like aloe, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and plant-based oils.
Some other words of advice (for exfoliating, but also applies to life): Take it slow, and be extra kind. Dr. Vand suggests starting out with a chemical exfoliant two or three times per week until your skin acclimates, and Dr. Ciraldo warns against mixing these products with other aggressive topicals, like benzoyl peroxide and more than 5% L-ascorbic acid. It should go without saying, too, that you shouldn’t use all these recommended products at the same time. Stick with one, and see how your skin fares.
Scroll on to shop eight of the best exfoliators for acne scars, from a “miracle” liquid to a luxurious toner to a surprisingly soothing overnight treatment and more.
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