Updated: Jun 10
Having a pimple is bad enough, but the scar that stays behind for weeks or months after the spot has healed just really takes the biscuit.
Despite the fact that you treat your pimples quickly, and you definitely don’t pop your spots, is a mark always left behind? I understand that it is so frustrating that even though your original pimple has gone, it has left hyperpigmentation which can make your skin look like it has way more active pimples than it actually does. I used to suffer from acne scarring on my face quite badly, but I have now figured out how to make those pesky marks go away quickly! My skin has never been clearer and so I want to help you achieve the skin you dream of!
Prevention is better than cure
Before treating the hyperpigmentation caused by pimples, try tackling the source of the issue. There are many causes of spots, such as hormones, medication, oily skin, cystic acne, and clogged pores or your skin could be reacting to a particular product. Clogged pores are a normal thing but can be exacerbated by inefficient washing of the face, and makeup traces being left on the skin.
In order to combat clogged pores, it is helpful to exfoliate and use a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) such as salicylic acid which will help to keep your pores clearer.
Additionally, treating your pimples as soon as they come up is important to avoid hyperpigmentation. The most important factor in avoiding spot scarring is to not pick or pop your spots, no matter how tempting it is! Instead, use a drying solution like Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, or use a pimple patch such as Cosrx’s to protect your pimple from your attempts at popping it and to help heal it.
Wear your SPF
When a spot scars, if you don’t wear SPF it will get darker with sun exposure, meaning it will become more and more difficult to get rid of! Ensuring you wear SPF everyday (no matter the weather or the season) is a fantastic way to ensure that any hyperpigmentation isn’t becoming more pronounced.
Exfoliation is key for removing acne scars. This is because when you exfoliate you remove the outer dead layer of the skin, revealing the fresh layer underneath. Over time, it increases skin brightness and fades spot scars, allowing your clear skin to shine through! I prefer to use chemical exfoliators, or alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) as I find them to be gentler on my skin. Don’t worry though, chemical exfoliators are not going to peel your skin; they are different to the chemical face peels that you could only get done from a doctor.
My favourite chemical exfoliator is glycolic acid (I use this one from The Ordinary), but you can also use lactic acid, malic acid and mandelic acid. For more information on what chemical exfoliators are, what they do and how they differ from physical exfoliators, see my previous blog post on my updated skincare routine.
Try incorporating a serum or solution into your skincare routine that will help to lighten your scars.
Alpha arbutin will lighten hyperpigmentation gradually, allowing for a more even skin tone. I use The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin 2% for lightening, and I saw effects even after just two weeks.
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is also a fantastic way to lighten spot scars. As well as lightening, Vitamin C will brighten the overall skin tone of the face!
Azelaic acid is a chemical that is produced naturally from the yeast living on our skin, which will also have a similar lightening and brightening effect.
Hydroquinone is an effective solution for treating acne hyperpigmentation. It can also lighten freckles, melasma and age spots, by interrupting the process of excessive melanin production, causing dark spots to fade over time.
Chemical face peel
If you are looking for something stronger, either because your scars are pitted or because you want fast results, you can have a chemical face peel. For a chemical face peel, a strong chemical solution is applied to the face, which will cause several layers of the skin to peel off over the weeks following the peel. Chemical face peels produce dramatic results and will greatly improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, acne, and general skin texture. Only a dermatologist or doctor can perform a chemical peel due to their strength.
Using a combination of spot treatments, exfoliation and serums, you will be able to lighten your acne scars. My skin is so much smoother and clearer now that I am using these products (and not picking my spots anymore!), and my spots DO NOT scar as much as they used to as I am exfoliating and brightening the skin every day as part of my skin care routine.
Were you aware of all the chemicals and procedures mentioned in this post? Leave me a comment below letting me know what has helped you lighten your acne scars!
Bye for now,