How to fade dark spots
When it comes to trying to fade those pesky post-acne spots, I’ve tried everything you can imagine. Creams, lotions, scrubs, peels, derma rollers, serums, you name it.
At one point, I spent about $200.00 on a bottle of serum which I read about in Allure magazine. It was supposed to be an amazing product that brings quick and mind-blowing results (the article was written by a renowned NYC dermatologist). After I finished the entire bottle, I noticed absolutely no difference in the appearance of my dark marks. That was when I finally decided that instead of wasting money on products that sound too good to be true, I’ll try doing some research.
Rather than looking at what the product promises, I started paying closer attention to active ingredients and rather than relying on one particular product to solve my “spot” problem, I used a few that worked together: Chemical exfoliants, Vitamin C treatments, and retinol. Unfortunately, having acne-prone skin means that you’re either in the process of trying to clear up your skin, keep it under control, or dealing with hyperpigmentation. At one point my skin was really horrible, so horrible that it would literally stop me from leaving the house. The thing about acne is that once you finally get rid of it, you’re often left with scarring and in my case, it was A LOT of scarring.
I’ve been going through this cycle for a few years now and I have a few trusted products that never fail to disappoint me when it comes to dealing with those dark spots. In this particular post, I’ll talk about post-acne marks, but all of these products also work nicely for fading age and sunspots.
While usually, post-acne marks fade over time (depending on severity) there are few things you can do to speed up the healing process. Probably one of the most important things that you can do is use sunscreen. Sun exposure will darken your marks and make them more visible and prominent, this is why it’s important to protect your skin against those UVA and UVB rays- even on a gloomy day. Prevention is always the best treatment and daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen helps to prevent brown spots and skin discoloration.
If you want to find a good sunscreen for your face check out this article. You should always use 1/4 teaspoon on your entire face, applying it AFTER your moisturizer. The earlier you start incorporating sunscreen into your skincare routine, the better, but it’s never too late to start. Use of sunscreen is especially important when using AHA/BHA or Vitamin C products (pretty much anything that helps fight hyperpigmentation, promotes skin renewing- not wearing proper sun protection while using these products can leave your skin vulnerable and produce reverse results e.g. your acne scars will get darker, instead of getting lighter).
Products containing chemical exfoliants like BHA (salicylic acid) and AHA (glycolic acid) help fade dark spots by accelerating cell turnover and revealing brighter, radiant-looking skin. I personally love using exfoliating pads, and have a few that have worked very well for me. My absolute favorite exfoliating pads are Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Alpha Beta® Peel, Extra Strength Daily Peel (one). They are soaked in a formula containing Glycolic and Mandelic Acids and Willow Bark Extract (natural alternative to Salicylic Acid). I’ve been using them for years and in addition to helping fade dark marks, they also help to keep my acne in check and always leave my skin feeling and looking smooth and radiant (they’re also great for anti-aging). I also have two budget-friendly alternatives: St. Ives Exfoliating pads (six- these have been sadly discontinued but I get them on amazon right here) formulated with lactic acid, AHAs, and Vitamin E and Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads (eight) formulated with glycolic and hyaluronic acids and blue daisy. Also worth mentioning is my favorite AHA moisturizer: Acne.org 10% AHA. Containing 10% Glycolic acid means that it does tingle quite a bit, but it works like magic, fading dark spots within weeks of continued use.
Vitamin C helps build collagen and promotes your skin’s healing. Two of my favorite Vitamin C treatments are REN Flash Rinse 1-Minute Facial (four) and Paula’s Choice 25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment (five) (you can still save 20% Paula’s Choice by December 31, 2015, find out how right here).
This form of Vitamin A is commonly used in over-the-counter skin care products- it is clinically proven to improve discoloration and age lines. Two retinol products I love (which are also great for anti-aging) are RoC Retinol Correction Cream (three) and Arcona Advanced A Serum (seven). If you find that over-the-counter retinol products don’t bring desired results, you can also talk to your dermatologist about prescription retinoid (like Retin-A). It’s much stronger than over-the-counter treatments, and it does take quite a while for your skin to get used to it (I’ve been on Retin-A since March and my skin is still a bit dry and irritated), but the results are well worth it. I find that prescription-strength retinoid also helps to keep my oiliness at bay.
I use every single product mentioned in this post and I absolutely love them!
Do you suffer from dark spots? What treatment did you find to be most effective?