A. This is a very common skin care question. In fact, we hear it on a daily basis. The good news is that there are some really good options for helping to fade acne marks—those red marks or spots that are left behind after an acne breakout. These marks are otherwise known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
It’s important to note that there is a difference between acne marks and acne scars.
The term ‘acne marks’ refers to the above-mentioned PIH. Acne marks are the red or brown areas of hyperpigmentation caused by inflammation. During the healing process, this inflammation triggers the production of melanin, which darkens the skin.
‘Acne scars’ happen when a serious acne breakout destroys skin tissue. This destroyed tissue is then replaced with too much or too little fibrous tissue as it heals, causing either hypertrophic or keloid scars (which are raised) or atrophic scars (‘ice pick’ scars that are small depressions in the skin).
The main difference between these two categories is that marks typically respond well to daily care and skin-brightening strategies; they are often temporary whereas acne scars involve a change in texture and are harder to alleviate.
The good news? Many of the strategies that are used to fade acne marks will also help (to some degree) with scarring.
Here’s what you’ll want to do to help get rid of scars and marks:
- If you’re not already, start using a daily sunscreen with a sun protection factor (spf) of at least 15. Sun exposure is a major way to darken acne marks and other types of hyperpigmentation.
- Choose skin care products with ingredients designed to brighten up the skin—including Kojic Acid and Licorice Extract. [We recommend: Whitening Mask]
- Also, consider using a Vitamin C Serum to help brighten your acne marks.
- Exfoliate! If you are not currently experiencing an acne breakout, feel free to use an exfoliating scrub. If a scrub is not your thing—or your acne is currently active—choose an exfoliating cleanser with an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (such as glycolic acid),
- Prevent future acne occurrences by sticking to an anti-acne skin care regimen. The less acne you have, the lower your risk of getting future scarring. [We recommend: Anti-Acne Serum]