Even if you’re not a picker, sometimes acne scars are unavoidable, resulting from skin tissue being stretched from within. It’s important to take steps to expedite the fading and healing process so you can get your skin clear and even-toned. Acne scars can actually be two things — actual scars/divots in the skin, and post-inflammation hyperpigmentation, which is what I’m focusing on here.
Here are some of my tips on caring for acne scars:
Wear sunscreen faithfully.
If the affected skin is exposed to daylight, the UV rays can stimulate the melanin cells — even if it’s cloudy outside — and make the scar darker and redder in color and visible longer. Wearing sunscreen will protect the damaged skin cells from the harmful UV rays, allowing the scars to properly heal and recover. Be sure to use a sunscreen formulated for acne-prone skin to avoid causing any further problems.
Use a gentle exfoliant.
By increasing your use of exfoliants (glycolic acid, salicylic acid, enzymes, and scrubs), you will help encourage new and healthy skin-cell growth while removing the damaged, scarred cells. (Out with the old, in with the new!) However, be sure to go easy and be gentle since the scar is very sensitive, and you do not want to cause additional inflammation.
Use soothing, anti-inflammatory products.
Since a scar is basically just inflamed skin, using calming, soothing, and antioxidant ingredients on it will help to sedate the irritated skin tissue and encourage a faster healing process. Use products with the following ingredients: white tea, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant; green tea, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant; and licorice extract, a wound healing formula.
Use a skin brightening product.
Introducing a skin brightener into your daily routine will dramatically help expedite the fading and lightening of dark, acne marks. Look for a product with vitamin C, which can help even out skin tone and lift discoloration from post-breakout scars.
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble, stabilized, time-released vitamin C supplement, is a proven melanin suppressant. Salicylic acid is is a BHA exfoliator and brightener that can also help with fading. Finally, look out for retinol, an ingredient that encourages cell turnover to reveal even-toned skin.
While the best defense against an acne scar is to avoid picking at a blemish, if you do experience a post-breakout scar, these tips will help ensure it heals properly and quickly.