Acne can be a major source of frustration. Not only are zits painful, embarrassing and downright unsightly, they also like to leave little "reminders" of the time you've spent together. Here's our quick guide on how to prevent and fade acne marks and scars, so you can feel confident and complexion-clear.
Post-acne marks: what are they?
The humble pimple is a hotbed of inflammation. The skin reacts by increasing blood flow to the area, carrying "soldier" white cells to fight off bugs and repair the damage. Unfortunately, this intense reaction can persist even after the blemish itself has gone, leaving a red mark (more commonly seen on fair complexions).
On darker complexions, the inflammation can provoke melanin production within the skin, creating a persistent brown mark. Doctors call this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH.
Untreated, these marks can hang around for months. Luckily, help is at hand. Effective dermocosmetics solutions are available at your local pharmacy, plus prescription options include retinoids to chemically exfoliate skin, which brings the pigmented cells to the surface. Above all, some simple tips can help keep marks and scars from forming - see our 5 Golden Don'ts below.
Acne scarring occurs where a deep blemish has become so inflamed that enzymes have eaten away at the skin's inner building blocks, such as collagen and elastin. The skin produces scar tissue to heal the damage, but the result is a not-so-pretty pitted appearance: you might call it a crater, dermatologists call it atrophic scarring.
Fading darks spots and scars
When it comes to acne scars, prevention is better than cure, since getting rid of them is a lengthy and pricy business. We're talking lasers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion... The best policy is to make sure your acne-care regime is on-point so they don't form in the first place.
Your 5 Golden Don'ts to prevent acne marks and scars:
Don't pick, pop or squeeze - this amps up inflammation and spreads infection.
Don't use harsh cleansers or abrasive scrubs as anything aggressive on skin will worsen the inflammation responsible for scarring and marks.
Don't skimp on hydration, instead opt for an oil-free moisturizer. Hydration is essential for optimal healing.
Don't shun SPF because you think it's greasy or clogs pores. UV radiation worsens the appearance of scars and dark marks so be sure to apply a mattifying, non-comedogenic sunscreen daily.
Don't hesitate to consult a dermatologist for expert advice on how to tackle any acne-related issue.