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There’s nothing more annoying than acne, right? Well, no, actually, you’re wrong. What’s more annoying than acne is the fact that even after you’ve managed to get rid of it, there remains a pernicious reminder, right there on your face. I’m talking acne scars, and I’m talking about them right now.

Well, actually, I’m technically not talking about acne scars. I’m talking about post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, or PIH as a nickname. These are the red, or sometimes darker purple or even brown scars left behind after messing about with a pimple. Guilty as charged. They’re annoying as hell – but there are ways to fade them. Here’s how.

A gentle but effective daily exfoliate is key. I’ve recently been loving the Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant. It combines scrubbiness with an AHA blend, so does the manual and chemical exfoliation in one. Skin has never felt so clean. Plus, it’s powder, which makes it perfect for travel.

AHAs are generally the way forward when it comes to fading PIH. They gentle exfoliate the top layer of skin, and, over time, reveal the fresh, new, un-PIHed skin beneath. I’ve been loving the Sarah Chapman Liquid Facial Resurfacer. It has a thicker, more gel-like consistency, so I like to dab it on with my hands. It’s gentle, thanks to its aloe base, but gets the job done. Even gentler, and perfect for acid beginners is the CosRX AHA BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. This feels like it might not be doing anything – but don’t be fooled. Over time skin is noticeably both smoother and more even-toned.

Hydration is also key – particularly if you’re dealing with textural issues related to scarring. Hyaluronic acid will become a good friend of yours. It’s one of the only plumping ingredients that actually works immediately. The Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum is a great choice, and not just because of its fantastically compact packaging and fun blue tint.

Vitamin C, though, is truly the holy grail in terms of PIH. Two of the very best are the Dennis Gross C Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum and SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. A few drops in the morning will not only help minimise current discolouration, but it’ll crucially prevent it from getting any worse.

Speaking of Skinceuticals, another star product is the Advanced Pigment Corrector. It’s a light lotion which gentle exfoliates, whilst hydrating at the same time. Overnight is when I find using this most helpful.

If you’re into getting intense with your skincare regimen, I point you in the direction of microneedling. The science goes, by gently and safely causing very shallow pinpricks on your skin, you’ll promote faster healing. While it is one of the most effective ways of reducing PIH, it can also be dangerous – so please, for the love of God, be careful with it. Acting as the devil on your shoulder: pssst, Swiss Clinic do a great one.

Oils can also be helpful in reducing discoloration. For the bargain hunters, Black Cumin Seed Oil is a fantastic option – incredibly cheap, doesn’t stink, absorbs nicely and doesn’t clog pores. However, for those with a more lackadaisical attitude to their finances, the Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is king. Although I’m sure you already knew that.

Two other treatments I’ve been loving are the Facetheory Retin-C Scar Treatment Oil and Yuli Cell Perfecto PM. They both cleverly combine the (sometimes harsh) actives needed to speed up cell turnover with exceptionally soothing, hydrating ingredients. If you need a one product wonder, go for one of these.

Finally, for goodness’ sake, wear SPF. If you don’t, any PIH you have will get worse every time it sees the sun. The Zelens Daily Defence, though pricey, is wonderful – non-greasy yet hydrating, a perfect base for makeup, and has the best sunscreen smell ever.

Follow the anti-scar regimen with these editor-approved products

Featured images via Getty Images

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