This $20 Cream Has Worked Actual Miracles on My Acne Scars

Photo: Getty Images/Tim Robberts
On November 18, 2020, I woke up with a pimple. I remember the date vividly because this was the type of pimple that you just don’t forget. It was one of those painful, red suckers with roots planted deeply under the surface of my skin. I’m not proud to admit this, but I was propelled to do some questionable things to try and get rid of it. I won’t get into the gory details, but I will tell you that it left me with a scar the size of a nickel on my right cheek, and well, whoops. I spent a month using an arsenal of pricey products in an attempt to remedy the situation, but nothing seemed to work until I stumbled on a $20 bottle of Differin Resurfacing Scar Gel Treatment.

Experts In This Article
  • Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital

Pimples can leave behind five different types of scars, which all require slightly different treatments. “When a pimple forms, collagen is damaged, and abnormal healing of that collagen and leads to scarring," Joshua Zeichner, MD, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Well+Good. Though all five types of scars have unique properties, they all come along with some sort of textural or pigment change to the skin, and that's where Differin's scar gel comes in.

The team behind the best drugstore acne treatment out there—Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% ($12)—now has the best drugstore acne scar treatment for all of those post-pimple needs. It's formulated with an action-packed formula of antioxidant oils, which help to protect and hydrate the skin, bakuchiol, which stimulates cell turnover to retexture skin, and peptides, which firm up the divots that scars tend to leave behind.

My scar is best characterized as a rolling scar, which means that it's shallow with an uneven appearance, and came as a result of an inflammatory pimple. It's also slightly darker than my skin tone, and the discoloration and textural abnormalities make it really hard to hide under even the best concealer and foundation. The Differin gel works to target both of those issues at the same time, and after four weeks I can already see a significant difference on both fronts. According to the brand, the more I use it over time, the more effective it will be. So while November 18, 2020, may go down in history as the day the worst pimple of my life appeared, it will no longer have to be etched on my face for the rest of time.

Differin Resurfacing Scar Gel Treatment, $20

Photo: Differin

Shop now: Differin Resurfacing Scar Gel Treatment, $20

For more intel on how to deal with acne scars, check out the video below. 

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