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You were probably thrilled once your acne finally cleared -- unless it left some unwelcome parting gifts in the form of dark spots and acne scars. Sadly, these types of lasting reminders are pretty common. But over-the-counter products do offer you options when it comes to erasing your dark spots and acne scars. Use them correctly -- and repeatedly -- and you should start seeing results.
The best creams or lotions to reduce dark spots and acne scars include some pretty potent active ingredients. Head for your local drugstore and have a look at what's on the shelf. You may see some scar reduction products with labels that say "all natural" and "organic." Ignore those and reach for a product that includes hydroquinone, which the American Academy of Dermatology says can treat those dark spots. New York City dermatologist Judith Hellman recommends the Murad line of products, as well as MD Formulations, for getting your hydroquinone. In December 2009, she told "Teen Vogue" beauty blogger Laurel Pantin to opt for products with at least 8 percent hydroquinone for the best results. For those scars? Reach for products containing retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid. San Antonio plastic surgeon Minas T. Chrysopoulo recommended vitamin C-rich InviCible Scars cream to the "Teen Vogue" "Beauty Blogger" for a June 2010 post.
Always follow directions when you use these products. Products with vitamin C, glycolic acid or retinol work by causing your skin to peel and renew itself. So the last thing you want is massive peeling from product overuse. Hydroquinone, meanwhile, can actually bleach surrounding skin white if you use too much of it. Be careful, and err on the side of caution, not excess.
It won't do you any good to clear up a bunch of old scars only to see new pimples erupt in their place. Stick with your tried-and-true skin care routine. If the scar cream or lotion you've chosen seems to irritate your skin, use it less frequently or switch brands. Skin irritation can lead to new acne rapidly if you're not careful.
Not everyone manages to erase their acne scars and dark spots on their own, even with the use of the best scar treatment cream or lotion. Fortunately, those dark spots will fade on their own over time, but the scars will be permanent unless you ask for help from a dermatologist. Doctors have access to more powerful prescription creams and lotions that can help fade those dark spots and acne scars, and they also can perform laser resurfacing and other treatments to help make them disappear.