Have you ever gotten a pimple as big as your fist then finally get rid of it only to find that now you have a dark spot or scar in its place!? This is so frustrating and I often see patients who are more bothered by the scars left behind then they are of the acne.
If this is you, don’t get discouraged. Most of the time, what you think of as acne scarring is really just hyperpigmentation or erythema — brown or red spots — rather than an actual scar. The good news is that with a little TLC and patience, you can even out those annoying spots and change applying makeup to a choice not a must!
1. Vitamin C
This powerful ingredient has been shown to brighten dull skin and lighten brown spots. It may also be helpful in lightening a dark scar so it is less noticeable. Choose a good quality Vitamin C serum. My current favorite is Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. It has a top notch vitamin C concentration and is not oil.
2. Salicylic acid
This BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) is known for treating acne but I can also exfoliate pigment buildup leaving your skin tone more even. You can find salicylic acid in many acne products but one of my favorite for scars is Murad Invisiscar resurfacing.
3. Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid promotes cellular turnover to remove the top layers of the skin revealing a brighter, fresh complexion. This easy to find acid is the smallest acid in size which allows for deeper penetration into the skin- great for targeting those older, deeper marks. It is very effective in breaking down skin cells and removing dead particles as well as boosts collagen production and elastin production with the removal of waste and dead skin cells. You can get a professional peel with glycolic acid or try an at home treatment such as one by The Ordinary 30% glycolic acid. Just be careful about overuse of this at home.
4. Retinol serum
The benefits of retinol seem limitless and I am always recommending this in my office. From smoothing fine lines and easing the visible effects of sun damage to improving the evenness of skin tone — This Vitamin A derivative is a must have for any skin care regimen. I love Retinol so much that I am working on my own customized formula utilizing a patented micro encapsulation (for time released delivery).
5. See your Dermatologist
For more stubborn dark spots, there are other options such as micro needling, dermal fillers (for deep scars) and laser treatments.
No matter what you decide to try BE PATIENT, it can take several months to improve. I usually advise taking a before and after photo to capture more subtle changes.
Last but not least, don’t forget the daily sunscreen. When you have dark spots, any amount of UV exposure can make them darker and harder to treat.
Here’s to your perfect skin!