Having acne can be a very sensitive and stressful experience for a lot of people. But what’s even more distressing, is the fact that sometimes, when the acne goes away, we are left with the telltale signs, of the Acne in the form of spots that are left behind by the acne.
Acne spots are difficult to get rid of, perhaps even a little bit more difficult to manage than the acne itself, because it takes a very long time to actually clear sometimes depending on how deep within the skin the scar is.
Therefore, while healing acne is a very important step towards clear skin, it’s important to remember, that most times, especially with people of colour, we are prone to having acne scars, and this is a natural consequence of healing acne.
Why acne spots happen?
As we know, acne is a form of inflammation. When the skin is inflamed, it triggers the melanocytes in the skin to produce more melanin, to be sent to the site where you have inflammation.
Inflammation can be in the form of trauma to the skin, injury or acne. Acne is also a form of inflammation . So when we have acne. This influx of melanin cell causes a darkening of the skin around the acne site by transfer of melanin pigments to the surrounding skin cells .
When we pick, or poke at acne, this can actually make the inflammation worse and increase the level of hyperpigmentation that we experience with acne. Unfortunately for black people. Most times, even without touching the acne there might still be hyperpigmentation that is left behind, just as a result of the inflammation itself,
Gradually , especially if you don’t have recurring bouts of acne, the pigmented surfaces of the skin can begin to fade away , however, it does take time.
There are some ingredients that you can use to hasten the process. However, if you’re not undergoing some clinical procedures, it usually takes a while for the spots to disappear . Some other times it could take years before you eventually notice the acne spots fade away.
Exposure to the sun makes the acne spots get darker. The more that area of the skin is exposed to the sun, the darker, the spots become, so it’s important to get adequate sun protection by wearing sunscreen to prevent further darkening.
Apart from using, natural products that can help to fade the spots, over time, for faster results you can use skin lightening /bleaching ingredients that have the potential to lighten or bleach the spot quicker than the natural ingredients. (I would however, prefer to use natural products and allow them the time it takes to get the job done.)
How do we treat dark spots.
Our skin is our interface with the external environment which contains an abundance of external stressors that affect the skin negatively both in the way it looks and feels.
It’s okay to allow our skins to adapt to its environment, it’s okay to allow our skin to heal itself naturally. Sometimes, a few spots on the face is also okay.
This is because using chemicals or other aggressive methods to deal with acne spots might actually not be beneficial in the long run. So personally I suggest that we allow those acne scars, to fade gradually over time.
However, there are instances where this is not possible, especially if those scars cause phsycological issues, make us feel uncomfortable, affect our level of self esteem and social interactions with other people. At such point, it’s okay get proper advice on how to remove the spots in a safe and effective way.
How to fade acne spots naturally
At-home acid peels
Exfoliating the skin using alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid and glycolic acid, is a good way to gradually slough off the upper layer of the skin. Over time, as the skin continues to shed itself, we might be able toget rid of those spots on our skins.
However, using a hydroxy acid only work if the sports are just on the surface of the epidermis. Sometimes the spots, or the inflammation that appear on the skin surface, have their root cause in the deeper layers of the skin, therefore you would have to totally exfoliate your entire skin for those acne spots to disappear.
So for such deep rooted spots, at home physical and chemical exfoliation methods might not be able to do much, because the spots are deep within the layers of the skin to make any visible difference.
Using more clinical methods such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, micro dermabrasion etc might be more effective. However, at home physical and chemical exfoliation can be a good first step towards fading acne spots and would fade the spots out over a period of three to six weeks.,
Azelaic acid & Tranexamic Acid
These two are acids can help to deal with dark spots on a slightly deeper level than at home exfoliating acids when delivered effectively.
They are not exactly exfoliating acids so they don’t work in quite the same manner as lactic and glycolic acid, but they may be more effective for spots deeper into the skin layers.
Now while sunscreens don’t exactly remove dark sports , they help to prevent the sun from darkening the the already pigmented areas like the acne spots.
Remember that excessive sun exposure can lead to further darkening of the spots therefore by protecting those areas with sunscreen, you’re preventing direct exposure of sun rays to that area, thereby preventing those spots from getting even darker.
Also the process of protecting the skin, provides a conducive environment for the skin to heal itself naturally , as well as enhance the effectiveness of the products that you’re using to lighten the area. This is because most skin lightening products increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun . Therefore, wearing sunscreen would help to ensure that while the products are working, the effects are not being countered by the skin’s enhanced sensitivity to the sun.
Therefore using the effective, spot removing skincare products , while not protecting your skin from the sun will actually slow, or diminish their effectiveness.
Suggested Skincare products that can help lighten acne spots naturally..
Active ingredient 2% Tranexamic Acid with Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is effective for treating acne scars and treating pigmentation issues.
Active ingredient 10% Azelaic acid helps to deal with acne and acne scars and improves complexion and skin tone
With exfoliating acids 10% Lactic acid, this provides a gentle and yet effective way to slough off top layer of the skin, to reveal brighter looking skin.
Natural Zinc and Titanium oxide sunscreen tinted with iron oxides for added blue light protection. Protects the skin from damaging UV rays. Offers UVA/UVB protection, SPF 30 . Gives no white cast, non greasy formulation.