It’s a hell of a paradox: Zits certainly pop up overnight, but their shadows — dark or red scars — seem to last an eternity. In an era in which we can plump lips, erase wrinkles, brighten complexions, and fix loads of other skin concerns in a matter of days, shouldn’t we be able to diminish acne scars with a swiftness, too? It’s a question we took to New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, who immediately corrected us on one major technicality.
It turns out, the stuff we’re calling acne scars (red or dark marks that fade over time) aren’t even scars to begin with. “A brown or a red spot is not permanent and usually resolves in several weeks to months,” Dr. Zeichner explains. “A true scar, on the other hand, is permanent and caused by collagen damage that leaves behind a depressed or raised bump in the skin.”
We’re feeling better already. If you're looking for instant results, Dr. Zeichner tells us that in-office treatments like Fraxel, can help blast away pigmentation. But those of us with lighter wallets are also in luck. From mattifiers and primers to active serums and creams, find the MD’s ultimate guide to stamping out acne scars once and for all, ahead.