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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Acne marks products



Hi everyone,


I am looking for products that help fade acne marks and uneven skin tone, not too aggressive on combo , sensitive skin. Also. I dont have a skin care routine 😅. Im trying so many products at once and i think its affecting my breakouts and using tretnoin which is very drying on most days. . So, if anyone can help suggest a skin care routine for me, i would be forever grateful. 

looking for prducts that are acne and combo skin friendly.

Re: Acne marks products

Hi @alycia234 ! Couple questions for you:


  1. How long have you used tretinoin? 
  2. Did the doc who prescribed tretinoin give you any skincare routine advice? 


Since tretinoin's quite drying, consider this super easy routine: 



  1. Gentle cleanser (nightly) - what do you currently use to wash your face? You may need a hydrating cleanser that doesn't leave your skin feeling stripped, dry, or "squeaky clean." I use the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar on my face and body in the shower each night. That's the lathering bar version of the non-lathering cream CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Vanicream, Cetaphil, and Paula's Choice also make good gentle cleansers. 

  2. Moisturizer (nightly) - what do you currently use? Those brands I mentioned earlier also make good moisturizers. At night, I alternate a Paula's Choice and Vanicream moisturizer. (I use a different form of vitamin A called retinaldehyde each night.) Whichever one you use, always apply it to damp (but not soaking wet) skin to seal in hydration instead of dryness. 

  3. Tretinoin (whatever frequency works for you) - yes, it'll still work if applied over moisturizer. Well, unless your moisturizer is a thick petrolatum-based balm (CeraVe Healing Ointment, Aquaphor Ointment, Vaseline, etc.). Otherwise, a moisturizer can act as a buffer and reduce tretinoin's side effects without stopping it from working. Applying in this order also helps ensure your skin gets well moisturized before you add tretinoin. If you find your skin's still too dry using this method, consider using one of those balms I just mentioned: apply it after moisturizer and tretinoin. Or you can apply a second layer of your usual moisturizer after tretinoin instead. 



  1. Gentle cleanser (optional, as needed) - not everyone needs to wash their face in the morning. Try skipping the AM wash a few times a week and see if that helps reduce dryness. Most mornings, I just gently wipe my face down with a wet plush microfiber cloth (like a Makeup Eraser), and I only wipe where needed, usually around my eyes. If I do need a cleanser in the morning, I use either a very gentle cream cleanser by Paula's Choice or a cleansing balm ( The INKEY List Oat Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm 5 oz/ 150 mL or Paula's Choice Omega + Complex Cleansing Balm 3.5 oz/ 104 mL )—and again, only where I need it, like around my eyes. 

  2. Moisturizer (daily) - can be the same one you use at night. 

  3. Broad spectrum sunscreen (daily) - at least SPF 30, applied to all skin exposed to sunlight, all year long, regardless of weather or season. There's no point using anything to reduce acne marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and uneven skin tone if you don't also stop the sun from doing more damage. 🙂 Do you already use a sunscreen? 



Tretinoin (vitamin A in general) should help balance your skin tone and fade acne marks over time. Some hyperpigmentation-fighting ingredients that pair well with vitamin A are azelaic acid (also good at fighting acne), arbutin, kojic acid, and licorice root. Some folks have good success with vitamin C, especially ascorbic acid. But don't add any of that stuff to your routine until you've followed a simple routine for a month or so. Once you've done that, consider adding ONE of these products to your AM routine (between cleanser and moisturizer): 



See how your skin handles that product for a few weeks. Note that azelaic acid can make your skin itchy. I use it daily; at first, it made me itchy for 30-60 minutes after application, but my skin acclimated and I no longer have that issue when using it. You can also get prescription strength (15-20%) azelaic acid from your doctor, if you're in the US. 


Speaking of your doctor: feel free to pick your tretinoin-prescribing doc's brain for suggestions. You might as well get your money's worth from a medical expert, right? 😉 

Re: Acne marks products

@alycia234 Try paring down your skincare routine as much as you can. If you’re trying a bunch of products you won’t know what works and you could also cause more breakouts or compromise your skin barrier if you’re using too many actives.

I would go basic at first:


  1. Cleanser
  2. Moisturizer
  3. SPF


  1. Cleanser
  2. Tretinoin
  3. Moisturizer

Once you do that more a month (idk how long you’ve been on tretinoin) on the nights you don’t use it, you can start to incorporate an acid. You could try the Naturium Tranexamic Acid Brightening Face Serum or the The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment 1 oz/ 30 mL once a week to start. Give that a month or two as well. It’s important to allow your skin to adjust to products. For moisturizer I like the Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Deep Hydration Moisturizer but if you prefer a gel the belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb is nice, too. A gentle cleanser like Cerave or Cetaphil is great but if want something with some light exfoliation Skinfix Acne+ 2% BHA + Azelaic Acid + Niacinamide + AHA Cleanser 5 oz/ 148 mL would be a good one to use at night on days you don’t use the tretinoin. 

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