If you’re dealing with acne scars, Neutrogena has a variety of products that can help diminish their appearance. Prior to jumping into the best Neutrogena products for acne scars, it’s important to go over the different types of acne scars – and what you can do to treat them. 

Topical products – like the ones mentioned below – work best to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (also called post-acne marks). This refers to the dark spots left behind after a pimple has healed. These spots are flat and don’t have any unusual texture.

Indented and raised acne scars, on the other hand, typically require professional treatment in order to minimize their appearance. Topical products generally won’t have much of an effect on these types of scars. If you’re dealing with these types of acne scars and want to learn more about the best treatments for your specific needs, you can check out this comprehensive article.

The Best Neutrogena Products for Acne Scars

Best Exfoliating Cleanser

Best Neutrogena Cleanser for Acne Scars

Neutrogena Bright Boost Resurfacing Micro Face Polish with Glycolic and Mandelic AHAs

This brightening cleanser contains super fine physical polishers and alpha hydroxy acids (chemical exfoliators) that help promote a smoother and more even skin tone and texture.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Exfoliating and Cleansing
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Wet your face with lukewarm water, and then gently massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water. Use one to three times per week.
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This exfoliating cleanser contains two super effective alpha hydroxy acids: glycolic and mandelic acids. These chemical exfoliators promote the production of collagen and speed up skin cell renewal. This helps not only lighten post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but also smooth the skin and fight signs of aging[1][2]. While these ingredients are most effective in leave-on treatments, they do help provide gentle exfoliation for the skin in this formula.

Pros

  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Brightening

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

This cleanser should only be used one to three times per week, as overuse can lead to over-exfoliation and irritation. When not using this cleanser, opt for another cleanser suited for your skin type.

Best Serum

Best Neutrogena Serum for Acne Scars

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Serum Capsules

This serum is one of the best Neutrogena products for acne scars, because the potent vitamin C helps lighten dark marks and even out the overall skin tone.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Brightening and Lightening Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: Twist and pull the tip of a capsule, and then squeeze the serum into your hands. Apply it to clean and dry skin.
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This serum contains a potent 20% concentration of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a powerful ingredient known to boost collagen production. This in turn minimizes the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while also fighting the signs of aging[3].

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin types

In addition to the vitamin C, this serum contains raspberry leaf extract, which is rich in protective antioxidants. Since this serum is potent, if you’re new to using vitamin C, you may wish to start by using it two to three times per week, and building up usage from there.

Best Retinol Treatment

Best Neutrogena Retinol for Acne Scars

Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment

The star ingredient in this treatment is retinol, which diminishes post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation while also keeping breakouts at bay.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Fighting Acne and Diminishing Post-Acne Marks
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: After cleansing and drying the skin, apply a pea-sized amount over the face. Follow up with a moisturizer.
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While retinol is often associated with anti-aging, it is also an excellent ingredient for preventing acne and lightening the appearance of post-acne marks[4]. It increases cell turnover rate, which helps lighten dark marks while also preventing pores from clogging.

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • May irritate more sensitive skin
  • May be drying

If you’ve never used a retinol, know that it can cause irritation and dryness, especially as your skin adjusts. As you are first introducing this product to your routine, it may help to apply two to three times per week, and then build your usage from there.

Best Moisturizer with SPF

Best Neutrogena SPF Moisturizer for Acne Scars

Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

This moisturizer is one of the best Neutrogena products for acne scars. It not only protects the skin from harmful UV rays, but it also contains ingredients that promote a more even skin tone.

Skin types: All Skin Types
Best for: Daily Sun Protection and Moisturization
Tested on animals: Yes
How to use: In the morning, as the final step of your skincare routine, apply the moisturizer all over your face, neck, and chest.
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Daily sun protection is crucial for those with acne scars, because the sun can darken hyperpigmentation and decrease its likelihood to fade quickly[5]. Additionally, this moisturizer further helps even out the skin tone because it contains soybean seed extract, which has been shown to stimulate collagen and lighten the skin[6].

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-greasy
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Contains fragrance

This SPF moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t contain ingredients known to clog pores. This makes it a great option for those who are still prone to acne, because it won’t contribute to breakouts.

FAQs

What is the best face wash for acne scars?

Neutrogena’s Bright Boost Resurfacing Micro Face Polish with Glycolic and Mandelic AHAs is a great cleanser for acne scars, because it contains chemical exfoliators that help lighten post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. That said, leave-on treatments will elicit the best results when it comes to fading acne scars.

How can I lighten acne scars fast?

If you’re dealing with mild to moderate post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the quickest way to lighten these marks is to stick to a consistent skincare routine with products that target these dark marks (like the best Neutrogena products for acne scars mentioned above). This includes wearing sunscreen daily to prevent these marks from getting darker. For more severe post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or raised or indented scars, you may wish to meet with a dermatologist to discuss professional treatment options.

What are post-acne marks?

Post-acne marks (also referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) are the flat and untextured dark spots left behind from acne. They are often also called acne scars, but acne scars are actually either raised or indented, and typically aren’t discolored. 

The Bottom Line

Neutrogena has great products that will effectively help lighten the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Using these products (or any product targeted towards acne scars) consistently is key, as it takes time to fully fade these dark marks.