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Rescue Your Skin from Dark Spots and Acne Scarring

Dark spots, also known as acne scars or hyperpigmentation, are marks left behind after a pimple has healed. These dark marks occur when the skin produces too much melanin in response to an infection, resulting in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). While these spots can be cosmetically unappealing, they typically fade over time as healthy cells replace the darker pigmented ones.

Although acne scarring is not always preventable, proper acne management and treatment with products specifically designed for PIH can help reduce its appearance and speed up fading process.  It's important to note that everyone’s skin heals differently so there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to acne scarring.

Here are 10 ways you can take care of your acne:

1. Use a spot correction treatment that also contains acne-fighting ingredients:

For your regimen, choose spot correcting treatments, that contain acne-fighting ingredients like Triple concentrate formula (which is a combination of 3 key ingredients like Niacinamide, retinyl propionate & hexyl propionate), salicylic acid to help clear blemishes and prevent dark spots from forming.

It's important to understand that dark spots can linger for much longer than acne itself. With proper acne treatment, you can both remedy the dark marks and stop them from returning. By eradicating what causes these blemishes to form in the first place – namely, acne – you can restore your skin's natural beauty.

2. Wear protective clothing when going outside:

 The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can darken acne blemishes and make them more noticeable. Try to cover up your skin when outdoors by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts. Additionally, use sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher whenever you go out in the sun to protect your skin from UV damage and prevent any further discoloration caused by acne scarring or pimples. It's also important to remember to wash caps and hats frequently. Wearing anything on your head without washing (or dry cleaning) it regularly allows sweat, dirt, and oil to accumulate. This can cause acne to flare.

3. Exfoliate your skin with a gentle scrub:

Regularly exfoliating your skin can help to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of acne scars and dark spots by revealing brighter, more even-toned skin beneath the surface. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help to brighten acne marks or dark spots. Moreover, it’s essential to remember not to exfoliate more than once a week as over exfoliation can damage the skin’s natural barrier, which can lead to other prolonged skin issues.

4. Incorporate specialised ingredients into your skin care routine:

Ingredients like Retinyl Propionate can help to speed up cell turnover. This helps to reduce acne scars and dark spots by encouraging new cells to form more quickly, replacing the old ones. It's essential to find a product specifically designed for your skin type. Dermatologists suggest using treatments that include one or more of the following ingredients: retinoid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid. While this may mean buying different products, these ingredients have proven extremely successful and beneficial for Indian skin.  Niacinamide works to inhibit the transfer of excess melanin to the skin’s surface to help avoid pigmentation; and Salicylic Acid helps unclog pores by breaking down the bond between dead cells to curb excess sebum production.

5. Stop using heavy, oily makeups to cover dark marks:

While many people find this an effective way to hide blemishes, they often don’t realise that it’s also causing new acne breakouts and worsening existing acne scars or hyperpigmentation. Try not to wear make-up for some time when acne breakouts are active. It’s better if you wear mineral makeup if you choose to or need to. Mineral makeup can do a great job of hiding acne scars and dark spots without clogging pores. Even when acne breakouts have calmed down, continue to use a mineral based make-up which is noncomedogenic and light on skin. This will help hide acne scars or hyperpigmentation while not aggravating the acne further.

6. Be gentle with your skin when treating acne pimples and breakouts:

Harsh scrubbing, popping pimples, or using overly strong soaps will only worsen acne. Instead, look for acne treatments that are gentle and specifically formulated to treat acne-prone skin. These acne treatments will contain ingredients such as Thymol T essence, salicylic acid and tea tree oil that are designed to help reduce acne blemishes while protecting and soothing the skin. Studies reveal that the most effective way to clear acne is through gentle skincare. When dealing with spots and breakouts, seek out a mild cleanser that promises not to block your pores (look for labels like "won't clog pores" and "non-comedogenic"). To delicately cleanse your face, use only the tips of your fingers to massage the cleanser into your skin. Afterward, take a few moments to gently pat down with a soft and dry towel for best results.

7. Avoid touching your face:

To prevent acne breakouts, it is important to avoid touching your face with dirty hands as this can spread acne-causing bacteria and cause inflammation. It is also important to avoid squeezing pimples as this will only lead to acne scars or hyperpigmentation. If you do have acne, try to resist the urge, and seek professional help instead.

Look for products that have touch-free packaging.

8. Use a moisturiser regularly and maintain hydrated skin:

This can be done by applying an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser formulated for acne prone skin twice daily. Doing this will help reduce acne blemishes while keeping your skin feeling soft and smooth! You should also remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydrated skin helps acne-fighting treatments work more effectively.

The key is to always be mindful of how you're treating your Post-Breakout skin, so as not to further irritate it or cause more scarring. With the right approach and treatment plan, you can achieve clear, healthy skin in no time!

Written by,
Shalaka Dabholkar,
Consumer Insights Lead at Acne Squad

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