What causes acne scars and dark marks?
The spots that you are left on your skin after a pimple has healed are caused by a defective healing process. When you have a pimple or any other abrasion or wound on your skin it undergoes a healing process. When this healing process is defective the skin will heal with a dark spot (too much melanin) or depressed scar (like a crater in your skin). Picking, popping or even just touching a pimple can increase the risk of leaving a scar. The depressed, sunken, acne scars occur when normal tissue in the skin is destroyed and replaced with fibrous tissue. These scars start to form when the healing process results in vertical collagen fibers (scar tissue ) that pull down on the skin and cause a crater-like lesion.
Five factors that will make your acne scars deeper and darker
There are a few factors that determine the number and severity of acne scars.
- Acne severity: Deeper more severe acne will lead to more scars).
- How soon do you treat your acne? Pimples and acne cysts that stay untreated longer, have a bigger chance to leave scars. Early treatment of your acne, when it’s still mild is the best way to prevent future acne scars.
- Genetic tendency. Look at the skin of your parents and uncles. Some families have a greater tendency to have acne that heals with scars. In these families, even milder acne can result in long term scars.
- Squeezing pimples will increase the risk of scars.
- Spending more time in the sun will you acne scars to be darker and more prominent.
How to treat dark acne marks?
A small part of dark acne spots fades with time. Unfortunately, this takes many months or years. Fortunately, there are a number of few new treatment options to help speed up the process and fade dark acne spots faster.
Sun-tanning as a treatment for acne scars and dark spots?
Not a good idea. Excessive sun exposure or artificial tanning during an active breakout of acne will usually cause darkening of the acne pimples. Thus, if you have active acne or post-acne dark spots and scars your sun is your enemy. Using a dedicated oil-free sunscreen, SPF 30 will protect your skin and will fade your existing dark spots faster.
What the best creams and serums ingredients used today for the treatment and prevention of dark acne scars?
Hydroquinone is the gold standard in medical dark spot lightening. Extensively used by dermatologists, it can help fade the most stubborn brown spots in 4-12 weeks. Combined with salicylic acid, retinoids, and plant-based ingredients, this magical compound will show results even in people with darker skin types.
A naturally derived version of hydroquinone, slightly less effective than its medical grade relative (hydroquinone) the bearberry is a great addition to high-end dark spot correctors.
Licorice contains, glabridin a compound that disperses melanin and inhibits the production of new melanin in dark spots. It is less effective than hydroquinone but still a safe and effective anti-dark spot fighter. When added to active anti-acne treatment creams it helps prevent future darks post while active acne is still treated.
Another important medical grade ingredient that can be helpful both in treating active acne and post-acne dark spots. Derived from the bark of the willow-tree it provides a gentle peel off the outer layer of the skin. Removing some of the excessive melanin that causes the brown spots and enhancing the activity of other skin lightening agents – more specifically hydroquinone.
Acne medications with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can block abnormal pigment production and can brighten spots that have already developed. These creams can also help build collagen and promote normal healthy healing of your skin.
Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover which in turn helps fade hyperpigmentation. You can think of it as pushing the excessive brown pigment upwards, out of the skin. Retinoids come in different flavors. First generation retinoids, i.e; adapalene and retinoic acid are usually associated with significant irritation and sun photosensitivity. A better choice for people with acne and dark spots would be another member of the retinoids family, i.e.: retinol or retinyl palmitate that will usually be gentle on the skin and still provide the needed skin brightening effect.