Everyone has their own acne story. It obviously varies from person to person, but I’ve found that even those of us who are blessed with the dewiest and clearest of skin have, at one point or another, fought the good fight against the Furious Zit.
Generally speaking, my combination skin is prone to spontaneous breakouts whenever I’m stressed or dealing with hormonal changes—two things that happen on the regular. I also find myself facing a handful of Angry Zits on mornings when I’ve gone to bed without taking off my makeup. I tell myself they’re there to remind me of why bad habits are bad.
While I’ve learned to quell the Pimple Army, I always,always, face the dreaded post-mortem signs of a hard-fought battle: Those dark marks that occur on your skin when a pimple has healed but caused discoloration. Dark spots run in my family and while I’m fairly light-skinned, I am still prone to an uneven skin tone.
That’s why I’m a fan of any products that help even out my skin. You can do this in a variety of ways, but I’ve rounded up some of my favorites below:
This product kind of fell into my hands. And by “fell into my hands,” I mean I snatched it from a friend who got it as a freebie during an awards show for makeup artists. The website for Bio-Oil states that it contains the “breakthrough ingredient PurCellin Oil™”, but if you read the actual ingredients list, it’s pretty much a combination of different oils like calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile along with Vitamins A and E.
It’s marketed toward pregnant women as cure-all for stretch marks, but I’ve found it safe enough to use on my face. I’ve read that some people find it can be irritatingon their skin, but I regularly count on Bio-Oil to speed up my skin’s natural healing process. When I use it, dark spots fade quicker and my skin is more supple. Since too much of it can leave a sheen on your face, use it on at-home days or when you have enough time to allow it to soak into your skin (after a shower or before bed is good).
Burt’s Bees Brightening serum$19.99
I’m always a fan of drugstore beauty products and this is one that I only recently discovered. I’d been hesitant to try Burt’s Bees skincare products, but I was curious about the daisy extract ingredient in this serum. Daisy extracthas historically been used for its medicinal properties. I’ve heard it’s a natural alternative to hydroquinone, a skin lightening chemical that can be found in other dark spot correctors.
The tiny bottle is deceptively small for its price, but I find myself reaching for it as part of a bedtime routine on the reg. Be sure to shake it before using, since the ingredients can settle and using too much can be a bit residue-y.
Murad Rapid Acne Spot and Pigment Lightening serum$69
Sometimes there are acne marks that I’ve neglected to tackle right away or that are simply far too stubborn to call it quits. That’s when I rely on Murad Rapid Acne Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum. It’s pricier than a lot of the other items on this list, but Murad has a bit of a cult following for a reason. It works.
To combat dark spots, Murad’s spot treatment includes two percent hydroquinone, the highest amount you can get without a doctor’s prescription for a pigment lightener. It also helps improve any dullness and overall unevenness thanks to Hexapeptide-2, which brightens skin and glycolic acid, which helps the ingredients seep into your skin by lifting away dead skin cells.
Aveeno Clear Complexion moisturizer$12.74
Aveeno is another drugstore beauty brand that I’ve always looked to as a moisturizer. The brand touts the healing effects of soy beans and I have to admit this isthe onefacial moisturizer that I’ve come back to year after year.
It’s a good way for me to lazily combat any creeping acne thanks to the inclusion of salicylic acid (the stuff you see in any acne spot treatment) and it’s gentle enough for everyday use. I’ve read great things about Aveeno’s other, popular Positively Radiant line of products, but if you’re acne prone like me, this is a good option.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery concentrate$123
Apparently our skin does a lot of its healing at night when we’re asleep. So, it only makes sense to take advantage of that and use some powerhouse skincare products just before we tuck ourselves into bed. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is another blend of oils (can you tell I love oils?) that combats dryness and dullness in your skin.
I consider it a little magic blue bottle, because any time I use it I wake up and my skin’s complexion is brighter, more even and healthier-looking. Win!