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ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

Kay-Paris Fernandes/Getty Images

Acne scars, go away. Don't come back another day.

It's already annoying enough when a blemish rears its ugly whitehead—but then you have to deal with hyperpigmentation and skin tone inconsistency for months, maybe even years, after. Sure, these buggers eventually fade, but there are things you can do to expedite process—and some don't even require the fancy lasers or hard-to-pronounce prescriptions models and celebs use to clear up their skin.

We tapped leading dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler, skin guru to stars like Rita Ora and Georgina Chapman, to give us the low down on acne scars.

How Scars Become, Well, Scars: According to the New York-based dermatologist, there are several ways acne can leave a mark, including severe inflammation, skin manipulation (we're all guilty of trying to pop or pick at a pimple), bacteria and sebum production (from oil glands). "The best way to prevent acne scarring is to stop the acne before it starts, as it starts," noted the expert. So, don't forget to wash your makeup off at night, exfoliate when needed and hydrate!

They Have Names, Too: These pesky marks are not created equal. "Once you get a scar, you have to evaluate the scar before you can treat it," said the good doctor. There are three types that can be identified with even an untrained eye: ice pick (deep, firm but typically small in diameter); boxcar (wide with sharp edges and rectangular in shape); and rolling (very common, soft scars that, sometimes, if you stretch it, you can make it look less noticeable).

Beauty Aisle for the Win: Before you spend tons of money on lasers and facial treatments, try skin-care products with specific ingredients to treat any hyperpigmententation or a slight loss of pigmentation. Here are a few of Dr. Wexler's favorites below.

ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, $49.50

Not only does it help with current pigmentation problems, but this serum helps prevent future dark spots as well. You can thank the activated vitamin C and peony extract, which stimulate cell turnover.

ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

Proactiv+ Advanced Dark Spot Correcting Serum, $34.95

This gentle, lightweight formula features 2 percent hydroquinone, which is used to lighten dark skin patches.

ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

SkinMedica Age Defense Rentinol Complex, $62

By now, you know retinol works wonders for skin—even with over-the-counter products, the ingredient can increase collagen production, help soften depressed scars and improve pigmentation.

ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector, $64.22

OK, you may not know what ellagic, hydroxyl or phenoxy propopia acid are, but know these ingredients help regulate melanin production, which create those dark patches on your skin. 

ESC: Acne Scar Sollutions

Wexler Resurfacing Microbrasion System, $35

From the celeb dermatologist herself comes a resurfacing cream that taps medical-grade alumina crystals to exfoliate the skin, while ingredients like niacinamide and mulberries improve pigmentation.

When You Need the Strong Stuff: In the case of severe scaring, the over-the-counter stuff may not cut it. According to Dr. Wexler, two topical brands are often prescribed for scars that won't seem to go away: Tri-luma (which features Retin-A, hydroquinone and anti-inflammatory hydrocortisone) and Aczone (which is often used to combat acne but can be prescribed for scarring, too, since it has "growth factors that will spur collagen," explained the skin pro).

In Case of Significant Scarring: If topical creams and gels don't work, it's time to consult your dermatologist. "Pigmentation, products, peels and lasers—it's not a small topic," said Dr. Wexler. There are multiple routes a client can take when it comes to their personal scars. For just one scar, your dermatologist may simply suggest Trichloroacetic acid, or a TCA peel, to generate new skin. For deep ice pick or boxcar scars, radio-frequency micro-needling might be the solution. For pitted, depressed scars, perhaps a combination therapy of filler, micro-needling and fractionated laser resurfacing (when little tunnels are made in the skin to rejuvenate it) will help. "It really depends on severity," she added.

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