Blemishes tend to leave a lasting impression… literally. That dark, stubborn post-acne spot lingers long after your pimple is healed. Why does this happen? For starters, hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase of melanin at the affected area. Melanin is responsible for adding pigment or color to our skin, which is why individuals with darker skin tones (and more melanin) are more prone to discoloration.
When we are faced with an inflamed blemish, the skin reacts by signaling more melanin, thus resulting in a long-lasting mark. Additional factors such as sun exposure, aging, and trauma can exacerbate the problem, allowing these unwelcome stains to remain on our faces for months or even years! However, there is hope. Though there is no overnight cure for acne discoloration, there are several things you can do to help the issue.
Perhaps the most important way to manage post-acne marks is through prevention. True, in some cases there is no way around it, but believe us, there are plenty of things you may be doing to make matters worse. First and foremost, don’t pick, pop, or scrape! Though it is tempting, the havoc caused by popping and picking at pimples will only further irritate and wound the skin, resulting in a signal for more melanin. Secondly, stay out of the sun and be certain to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every single day. Sun damage may not only cause dark spots of its own, it will also further darken existing spots. Finally, do your best to keep acne under control by sticking to a consistent natural skincare regimen. Once acne is smoothed out and under strict management, you can focus on healing, without being at risk for additional marks.
Now, what can we do to help speed the skin’s recovery from these unwanted marks? One way, is to exfoliate regularly. However, this needs to be done with caution. Opting for a harsh exfoliating scrub can cause further irritation to damaged skin, resulting in (you guessed it) more hyperpigmentation. Instead, try a naturally absorbing exfoliate 1-2 times a week. Create a naturally exfoliating mask made from pumpkin or papaya. The natural enzymes present in these fruits will actually eat away dead skin and promote healthy cell turn over to reveal clear and even skin once again. Also, adopting a naturally exfoliating cleanser like HappyMe’s Natural Wash is a great daily treatment for acne mark-prone skin. Other options for lightening marks are natural essential oils. Oils and extracts like kojic acid, licorice and mulberry extracts, and vitamins A and C have been known to help with lightening discoloration. However, it is always best to try a test patch first to see how your particular skin will react.
Truth be told, there is no quick fix to post-acne marks, but knowing how and why they appear can help in preventing them. The good news is they are usually not permanent and so perhaps the best cure for acne-marks is time. Keep your skin as healthy, nourished, and protected as possible, and most importantly, have a little patience.