We all know how frustrating breakouts can be--not only because of the unsightly bumps but the scarring we know that follows. Dark marks and acne scarring--all issues of discoloration can linger for months if not treated properly. Here we're going to discuss how to help your skin recover from discoloration and scarring as a result of breakouts.
Causes of Dark Marks and Scarring
You may notice dark or red marks on your skin that linger after a breakout. These marks are caused by active pigment cells in the skin brought about by inflammation. While the scarring is a natural process after a breakout, it can be intensified by several factors including the severity and type of breakout as well as how the skin is treated during and after the blemish forms.
- Type and Severity: Depending on the type of blemish that forms, scarring may be more or less intense. If the infection within the skin causes the blemish to break the skin's surface (such as a whitehead), it will lead to a darker, more noticeable mark. If the infection stays within the skin as it does with a cyst and does not break the skin's surface, you may not have a much scarring at all.
- Treatment: The way you handle a blemish can dramatically affect the intensity of the scarring you experience. I'm sure we've all heard the advice to not pick at your skin or pop pimples. Well this advice proves to be very effective when it comes to avoiding the worst types of acne scars. Picking at the blemishes can further damage the surface of the skin and spread bacteria, intensifying the breakout and resulting scarring. The less you touch your skin and allow the blemish to undergo it's natural healing process, the less likely you are to experience excessive and long lasting scarring.
- Skin Color: The amount of the scarring you experience is directly affected by the levels of melanin in your skin. Darker skin tones have more melanin the skin and therefore scar more easily and the scarring may be darker.
The best thing you can do to prevent unnecessary scarring is to leave blemishes alone and let the skin heal in its own time. Once the blemish is gone and the skin is healed, you'll need to incorporate a few practices in your skin care routine to help fade the scarring and even out your skin tone.
- Start Early: Incorporate these steps as soon as possible once the blemish has faded. Melanin grows deeper into the skin as time passes. Therefore it's easier to get rid of dark marks if you don't wait too long to start treatment.
- Exfoliate: Exfoliating is key when it comes to fading scarring and dark marks. Just as it works to lift dead skin cells, it also helps to lift the damaged, discolored skin cells, allowing the skin to regenerate faster. Try using a physical exfoliant such as a facial scrub a couple of times per week along with an acid exfoliator that contains glycolic or lactic acid. These will really work to move the fading process along.
- Treat: A brightening serum in combination with exfoliation works to get deep within the skin to calm melanin activity and brighten existing dark spots. Vitamin C is a very effective ingredient at brightening the skin and evening out skin tone. Retinols are also effective at fading dark areas. I recommend exfoliating at night and using a brightening solution during the day to keep pigment cells at bay. We recommend the Fracora Placenta Extract as a light, yet effective daytime serum.
- Protect: You don't want to work against the treatments you're incorporating by not protecting your skin properly. UV rays can actually intensify discoloration and activate pigment cells in the skin. Always use a sunscreen over your moisturizer and choose a foundation that contains some SPF.
Dark marks and acne scarring are hard to avoid, although there are practical steps you can take to decrease the amount and severity of the scarring you experience. Remember, don't pick at blemishes! And be sure to start treating the skin sooner rather than later. Last but not least, don't forget your SPF!