10 Best High End Products for Lightening Acne Scars

Despite being spoiled for choice when it comes to budget-friendly options to address our skin concerns, sometimes we just like to splurge and treat ourselves with a more luxurious experience.

High-end products come in nicer, more aesthetically pleasing packaging; they have a nicer texture and tend to have a mild fragrance to seal the entire experience.

But besides that, they most often contain more than one beneficial ingredient besides the main active, which makes them excellent for targeting more than one skin concern at the same time.

So, if you have been on the hunt for a luxurious formula to erase the aftermath of acne but you don’t know where to start, here is a list of the ten best high-end skincare products for lightening acne scars well worth the splurge.

  • SkinCeuticals – Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
  • Alastin Skincare – Renewal Retinol .25
  • SkinCeuticals – Retinol 0.5
  • SkinCeuticals – Discoloration Defense
  • Replenix – Brightening Boost Pigment Correcting Cream
  • Vivant Skincare – Derm-A-Renew
  • PCA Skin – Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum
  • iS CLINICAL – Brightening Serum
  • iS CLINICAL – Brightening Complex
  • SkinMedica – LYTERA 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum

Best Products for Lightening Acne Scars - The Skincare Culture

NB: If you’re someone with oily/acne-prone skin, you need my new book “The Ingredients Handbook for Acne-Prone Skin“. Download it here.

SkinCeuticals – Glycolic Renewal Cleanser – $38

SkinCeuticals – Glycolic Renewal Cleanser – The Skincare Culture

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Gel Cleanser is a foaming gel cleanser that removes impurities, dirt, oil, and long-wearing makeup from the skin, without overly stripping or dehydrating it. 

Its star ingredient is glycolic acid, an exfoliating AHA that dissolves the bonds between the dead skin cells and promotes natural shedding.

Additionally, it also contains 1% phytic acid, a plant extract with antioxidant properties, and 2% aloe leaf extract to calm and soothe any existing redness on the skin. 

Besides being a great cleanser for aging skin, this can also be an excellent cleanser for younger, acne-prone skins or someone dealing with post-acne hyperpigmentation.

Best for all skin types.

RELATED: Best Cleansers for Aging Skin.

Alastin Skincare – Renewal Retinol .25 – $55

Alastin Skincare – Renewal Retinol 0.25 – The Skincare Culture

I haven’t been able to shut up about the Alastin Renewal Retinols lately, but there are several reasons why I love these two so much.

First of all, both the .25 and .5 strengths are beginner-friendly and will help improve skin’s elasticity, tone, and texture.

They contain encapsulated retinol, which means the active ingredient will be released slowly into the skin and won’t cause irritation.

Besides, the products also contain ceramides and niacinamide to strengthen and repair the skin barrier, as well as antioxidants to neutralize free-radical damage, and oat extract, which is a powerful soothing and calming ingredient that prevents irritation.

Both retinol serums will help normalize your barrier function while also brightening and evening out uneven skin tone and bumpy texture, which usually remains on the skin after acne has healed.

Best for all skin types.

RELATED: Best Retinols That Contain Niacinamide.

SkinCeuticals – Retinol 0.5 – $76

SkinCeuticals – Retinol 0.5 – The Skincare Culture

SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 is an ideal product for oilier and more resilient skin types dealing with acne breakouts, enlarged pores, and acne scarring.

This retinol will promote cellular turnover to help the skin cells travel to the surface of the skin faster and shed rapidly to achieve a healthier, clear, and evened-out complexion.

Retinol 0.5 contains 0.5% pure retinol and is enhanced with the latest stabilization and delivery technologies to ensure a steady, even release and less irritation during the adjustment period.

Best for oily/acne-prone skin and enlarged pores.

SkinCeuticals – Discoloration Defense – $98

SkinCeuticals – Discoloration Defense – The Skincare Culture

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense serum is a very good option if you are dealing with leftover hyperpigmentation, redness, and those purplish-brown spots you don’t know whether they are hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory erythema.

This multipurpose serum is a powerful treatment using a combination of tranexamic and kojic acids as well as niacinamide.

Tranexamic acid is a promising ingredient when it comes to diminishing post-inflammatory redness due to its ability to interfere with blood clotting.

The studies are not quite there yet, but it may be worth a try since it’s already a great melanin inhibitor that brightens dark spots and evens out the skin tone.

Additionally, the serum also contains a 5% concentration of HEPES, also called sulfonic acid, to provide even exfoliation, breaking up the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface.

Best for all skin types.

RELATED: Best Serums for Hyperpigmentation in Dark Skin.

Replenix – Brightening Boost Pigment Correcting Cream – $98

Replenix – Brightening Boost Pigment Correcting Cream – The Skincare Culture

Replenix Brightening Boost Pigment Correcting Serum is a treatment utilizing natural skin brighteners inside a lightweight emulsion formula to promote an even and brighter skin tone.

Its key actives include hexylresorcinol, a molecule naturally present in the bran of rye that has been used in the food industry as an anti-browning agent for fresh-cut fruits.

In skincare products, hexylresorcinol can also help correct the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even out the skin tone.

Besides, the Pigment Correcting Serum also contains arbutin, which is another natural skin brightener with antioxidant properties naturally found in the leaves of pear trees, wheat, and bearberry.

Lastly, the product contains a botanical extract blend of natural antioxidants to brighten and tone the skin, as well as glycerin to help hydrate and retain moisture in the skin.

Best for all skin types.

Vivant Skincare – Derm-A-Renew – $111

Vivant Skincare – Derm-A-Renew – The Skincare Culture

Vivant’s Derm-A-Renew is a gentle, resurfacing serum combining the transformative properties of vitamin A with the added boost of oligopeptides, which are small amino acids that stimulate the skin’s natural production of collagen and elastin.

Besides that, the serum also contains lactic acid, a mild exfoliating acid that removes built-up dead skin cells to reveal a healthier and more luminous layer of skin.

Lastly, the serum also contains niacinamide and kojic acid, which are two brightening ingredients with anti-inflammatory and protective properties.

Best for all skins, including oily, acne-prone, and sensitive.

PCA Skin – Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum – $117

PCA Skin – Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum – The Skincare Culture

PCA Skin’s Vitamin B3 Brightening Serum is a powerful treatment infused with damage-fighting antioxidants and soothing botanicals that work to reduce fine lines, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, dryness, and calm sensitive skin.

The gel-like serum contains brightening and barrier-strengthening niacinamide alongside hydrating glycerin and plankton extract, which is an advanced ingredient derived from microalgae actives with the ability to brighten and even out the skin tone.

Besides, the brightening serum also contains an advanced ingredient blend of antioxidants and brighteners, including mulberry extract, green tea extract, and oligopeptides that help even out skin’s irregularities, soothe irritation, and promote a clear, healthier complexion.

Best for all skin types.

iS CLINICAL – Brightening Serum – $130

iS CLINICAL – Brightening Serum – The Skincare Culture

iS CLINICAL’s Brightening Serum is a powerful pigment-inhibiting formula that reduces the appearance of uneven skin tone, brightens hyperpigmentation left from old acne, and provides controlled exfoliation without peeling.

The lightweight and easily absorbed serum contains brightening agents such as alpha arbutin, mushroom extract, and sugar cane extract, all working to even out the skin tone and promote a more uniform complexion.

Additionally, the serum also contains mild exfoliating agents such as Norwegian kelp extract, which increases the activity of more powerful exfoliating agents such as white willow bark extract which unclogs the pores and prevents acne bacteria from spreading.

Best for oily/acne-prone skin.

RELATED: Best Serums for Textured Skin.

iS CLINICAL – Brightening Complex – $145

iS CLINICAL – Brightening Complex – The Skincare Culture

The Brightening Complex is a treatment that can be used as an addition to the Brightening Serum mentioned above or on its own to target skin issues such as hyperpigmentation left from old acne, uneven skin tone, and rough, bumpy texture.

The Brightening Complex is a slightly thicker emulsion packed with antioxidant protection to reduce inflammation and free radical damage while simultaneously exfoliating dead skin cells and strengthening the skin barrier through lipids like squalane and fatty alcohols.

Norwegian kelp and bearberry extract are also fused into the complex for their potent naturally lightening properties, while humectants such as hyaluronic acid keep your skin comfortably moisturized.

Due to the thicker emollients and lipids, the Brightening Complex is a better option for anyone with dry, damaged, or dehydrated skin.

Best for dry/damaged/dehydrated skin.

SkinMedica – LYTERA 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum – $154

SkinMedica – LYTERA 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum – The Skincare Culture

SkinMedica’s LYTERA 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum is another potent brightening serum containing a blend of tranexamic acid, niacinamide, and resorcinol, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, brighten, and even out the skin tone.

The pigment correcting serum also has signal peptides which are a combination of amino acids that inhibit melanin production but can also help improve redness on the skin.

The highly targeted formula reduces and prevents dark spots and helps strengthen the skin barrier, making it one of the best brightening products on the market.

Best for all skin types.

OILY SKIN PRONE TO CONSTANT ACNE-BREAKOUTS?

simone sydel licensed esthetician

I've coached hundreds of clients just like you helping them tame their oily and acne-prone skin.


I've had my battle with acne. I know what it's like when your skin seems to be conspiring against you


The good news is, I can now show how to manage it!


My new book will help you understand your skin better so you can make informed decisions about what products would work best for your specific needs.

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