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What's Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (And How Do I Get Rid of It?)

Say "bye-bye" to those last bits of breakout
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You've done it! You exfoliated like an expert, masked and moisturized like a maniac, and finally, finally banished those blemishes.

So... what's with all of the red spots on your face?

Acne is the gift that keeps on giving, unfortunately. While your dedication to your skin care routine may have gotten rid of the bumps, many times acne can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which typically appears in the form of dark spots and discoloration. Keep reading for some of our favorite tips and tricks for clear skin — once and for all.

Image via Imaxtree

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Vitamin C
Vitamin C works wonders for brightening the skin and lightening dark spots spots! It is a strong antioxidant that enhances collagen production and skin cell renewal.

Thankfully, there are a multitude of serums out there that pack the powerful punch of this vitamin. We're particular fans of the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, $45 — it even comes dermatologist-approved!

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Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, skin care products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (or AHAs) cause exfoliation — and by removing dead skin cells, they also induce skin cell regeneration, which can help to lighten and eliminate dark spots.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is always a good option. It's budget-friendly and we love that it also has BHAs (which are great for keeping your pores clear).

AHAs do come with one caveat, however: The FDA warns that they can cause sun sensitivity, so don't forget your sunscreen!

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Retinoids (often commonly referred to as retinols) are compounds of vitamin A. Retinoids prevent dead cells from clogging pores, stimulate red blood cell production, and enhance collagen production. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration approved retinoid acne treatment for over-the-counter use, making this powerful compound easily accessible. One of our current favorite retinoids is the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $49.

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Many of the aforementioned products will increase your skin's sun sensitivity, so be sure to lather on some extra sunscreen! Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from burning, harmful UV rays, and premature aging, it will also stop your dark spots from getting, well, darker. We recommend the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, $34, for the job: It's weightless and layers super well under makeup.

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