Acne affects nearly 60 million Americans annually. In fact, it’s the most common skin condition in the US. And while many skincare brands offer acne-clearing products, they often fail to provide viable solutions for the aftermath: post-acne marks.
Has your breakout ever cleared only to leave behind a visible reminder of its unwelcome visit? Even after the acne is gone, there’s a good chance a dark or red mark will take its place. For consumers with breakout-prone skin, this can be even more frustrating than the actual acne.
What are post-acne marks?
Post-acne marks are the dark or red spots that often trail a cleared blemish. Dark or brown marks are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, whereas red marks are a result of inflammation. These spots are temporary and will fade when treated consistently with proper ingredients. To prevent these marks entirely is a lofty promise—but by implementing effective acne-clearing treatment into your routine, you can target the root of the problem head-on.
Post-Acne Marks vs. Acne Scars: The Difference
There's a lot of misconception involving post-acne marks and acne scars. While marks or dark spots are temporary, scars, on the other hand, are indentations in the skin that you can physically feel when you run your finger across them. Acne scars are very difficult to treat with topical, over-the-counter products and the only viable solution to treat them is in-office treatment from the dermatologist. This is why it’s so important that when you do have a breakout, that you leave it alone—picking is what typically leads to scarring.
The Dermatologist Solution
Post-acne marks that are either brown or very dark can be treated similarly to dark spots because they are both the result of an overproduction of melanin. Conversely, marks that are red can be treated with a combination of potent antioxidants like Vitamins C & E, botanical seed extracts and other naturally derived nutrients.
If you’ve ever done research on the internet, you may have found a plethora or home remedies or all-natural suggestions. But we’re here to offer a dermatologist's perspective:
1. Targeted Treatment
Dark spots are a result of an overproduction of melanin, and using a product like Dark Spot Corrector helps to regulate that production. Further, when combined with a high-potency Retinol or Retinoid, it works better than any other ingredient—yes, that includes those natural DIYs.
This brings us to Retinol—this is the #1 most clinically researched ingredient in dermatology. With incredible multitasking benefits, Retinoids are effective for both acne and aging concerns. It accelerates skin cell turnover, which will further improve the results of your post-acne mark reduction and help prevent breakouts. It’s truly an all-in-one ingredient. Both Citrus-C Healthy Complexion and Healthy Complexion Booster are formulated with potent Retinol for for the best results.
Exfoliation is a key step to further accelerate dark spot reduction results because it helps slough away the top layer of dead skin cells. When dead cells accumulate on the surface of your skin, your complexion not only looks dull but this build up also encourages acne.
To get professional exfoliation results, incorporate an at home-peel (like Bright & Smooth Exfoliating Treatment) into your skincare routine once or twice a month. This step will not only help reduce the appearance of dark spots and marks but will also help maintain a clear, healthy complexion overall.
4. Salicylic Acid
This Beta Hydroxy Acid is an exfoliating ingredient due to its natural exfoliant properties. It penetrates clogged pores by breaking down the fatty material which can bind dead skin cells together. Our Clarifying Cleanser is formulated with Salicylic Acid for this reason—it’s gentle on acne-prone skin, but also very effective in the acne-clearing process.
5. Potent Antioxidants
Restoring and replenishing the skin with rich vitamins and nutrients not only supports a clear, healthy complexion but will improve the fading of post-acne marks. Despite the absurd myths you might find online, combining Retinol with Vitamin C is the dermatologist protocol for boosting results and achieving beautiful skin. Healthy Complexion Booster is a one-of-a-kind serum infused with Pure Retinol and the best variant of Vitamin C formulated specifically for acne-prone skin.