Active acne might be short-lived, but the dark sports and scars it leaves behind are often long-lasting. They stubbornly refuse to go and TBH, there isn't any magic wand that knows how to remove dark spots caused by pimples overnight.
Luckily, there are ways to handle these stubborn post-acne scars and treat them for a smoother skin texture.
Acne Scars Are Different From Acne Marks
To treat acne scars and marks, the first thing you need to know is the difference between them. Yes, they are not the same. A dark pink or reddish mark on your skin isn't an acne scar. It's a mark left by skin inflammation.
As dermatologist and Acne Awards 2018 judge, Dr. Joshua Zeichner" tells Teen Vogue, "What many people don’t realize is that a dark or pink mark on the skin is not actually an acne scar. Inflammation in the skin often leaves behind a stain as part of the natural healing process. The inflammation revs up pigment production, creating the mark that fades on its own over several weeks to months."
Unlike acne scars, these red inflammations or marks are smooth to touch. They do not have any indentation and that means collagen production in that area is not damaged.
Acne scars, however, are a result of damage to the skin. They occur when normal tissue is destroyed and replaced or healed over by fibrous tissue. Dr Zeichner notes, "There are two types of acne scars: depressed and raised. Depressed scars may look like pits or craters, and raised scars may be firm and tender."
Unfortunately, acne scars are permanent.
What Type Of Acne Scar Do You Have?
Typically, there are three broad categories of acne scars. The first are called the hypertrophic scars. These are raised and might stick out from the rest of your skin.
The second are the keloids. These are usually over-healed and appear dense and have a rubbery layer. The body reacts to acne by overcompensating and producing too much tissue.
And the final ones are the atrophic scars, which are common in many people. These create depression in your skin and are usually very tough to treat. Incidentally, atrophic scars have three further differentiations.
- Ice pick scars: These scars are deeper than they are wider and their edges are rough. They appear to be scooped out.
- Box scars: These types of acne scars are usually broad and proportionate and also quite deep.
- Rolling scars: These scars have broad depressions with sloping edges.
Now these acne scars, are usually created after a lingering pimple. Or, when you pop the zit.
How Acne Scars And Dark Marks Are Formed
When you pop a zit and remove the gunk, it leaves behind a crater (in case of bigger pimples) or legion that closes back. However, it doesn't go back the same way. You may notice that skin on top of your now healed pimple is textured or red.
If, however, you don't pick on your zit (super strong will-power), it will leave behind a red or brown mark that will automatically heal after some time. And it also depends on the type of skincare routine you follow.
Although, at this point its important to note that the way acne scars and marks are left behind varies from one person to the next.
Except, in the case of a particularly aggressive pimple, that just won't leave without a deep scar. Or genetics. Sorry!
So if you are left with acne scars and marks, how do you deal with them? How to remove dark spots caused by pimples? Well, we've readied a run down of how to remove dark spots caused by pimples.
How To Remove Dark Spots Caused By Pimples
Acne scars that are too deep and have changed the texture of your skin, will have to be treated by a dermatologist. But those that are not as deep or the dark spots that are left behind can be treated at home. In fact, you can speed up the process with the following at-home treatments.
We cannot emphasise the importance of wearing sunscreen more. It protects you from sun exposure, which is the primary cause of breakouts and darkens the inflammation on your face. So lather yourself up with a sunscreen, even if its cloudy.
The Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (S$42.50) is a highly-recommended dermalogically approved sunscreen because it contains niacinamide. This reduces the redness caused due to inflammation.
2. Vitamin C serums
Another saviour of your acne scars and marks is a quality vitamin C serum. "Vitamin C serums block abnormal pigment production and can brighten spots that have already developed," Dr. Zeichner tells Teen Vogue. "They can be layered underneath your sunscreen in the morning," he adds. You can try the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (S$150) vitamin C serum.
Adding retinol to your daily skincare regimen can also save your face from post-acne scarring and spotting. As we mentioned in our previous article, vitamin A takes on many forms and retinol is just one of them.
This powerful compound promotes skin cell renewal. It also boosts collagen (which starts to decline when you turn 30). In addition, retinol can remove fine lines, wrinkles, and reverse some effects of sun damage.
We recommend that you apply a weak retinol serum (0.1-0.3 percent) twice, in the first two weeks. Within the next fortnight, apply it every night. Try the La Roche-Pochay Redermic R Eyes, 15ml (S$63.90) and Glow By Dr Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme (S$88) for your eyes and face, respectively.
4. Chemical peels
If you've been wondering how to remove dark spots caused by pimples quickly, chemical peels might just be the answer. However, a disclaimer: this is not for everybody and should ideally be done under supervision of a dermatologist.
Products that contain glycolic acid, remove dead skin and encourage the production of new, youthful skin. You can try the Peter Thomas Roth 40% Triple Acid Peel to start your at-home chemical peel journey.
Those rollers you see on Instagram are not just for posing, they are also great for your skin. Especially, if your are trying to get rid of those stubborn crater-like scars. Microneedling or dermarolling essentially pierces through your skin, which can eventually increase collagen and elastin.
But remember to read the instructions on sterilising the roller before you apply it to your face. Post the treatment, you will need to apply a serum to calm the inflammation caused due to the piercing.