True fact: Acne loves to invade everyone’s skin, regardless of the color. Unfortunately, this could be more problematic if you have darker skin. African-American women haveenough melanin that makes theirskin more resistant to aging. This means you have better protection against the sun. This makes you look younger than your fair-skinned girlfriends when you all turn 50.
Before you shout with joy, you should know that melanin will not protect you against dark spots and scars brought on by acne. You might say that it is easier to hide these blemishes, since you have darker skin. Apparently not.
Surprisingly, black skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation, or the darkening of the skin, and hypo pigmentation or the loss of skin color. The buildup of dead skin cells is also more noticeable on dark skin since the dead ones are grayer and paler than the healthy ones.
Still, this doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about spots and scars. It may take some time before you see noticeable results, but it won’t hurt if you follow these 10 tips.
1. Know The Difference Between Scars And Spots
These two share a common denominator: they don’t look good on your face. However, acne scars and acne spots are two different things.
Acne spots are most likely called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This happens when your skin makes more melanin in response to an injury, which in this case is the acne.
The good news is dark spots will fade eventually, though it could be a waiting game since it will take months before you are able to get rid of it.
On the other hand, acne scars change the texture of your skin. It creates craters on your face that are there for good. The good news is there are new treatments that could help get rid of acne scars.
2. Choose The Right Facial Products
Your facial products including facial wash and cream play a major role in the health of your skin, specifically your face. Therefore, make sure to choose a product that suits your skin type and at the same time, addresses your acne condition.
Hydroquinone, also known as the ultimate bleaching agent, may be your first choice when it comes to dark spots. However, too much of this could damage your skin. It may be tempting to go for facial wash with granules to scrub your face, but these can cause micro-tears and signals your skin to create more melanin as a form of defense.
To be safe, go for products that are safe and gentle on your skin.
3. Always Wear Sunscreen
Keep this in mind: Sunscreen is a must. In fact, it should be part of your skin care routine because you need adequate protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The UV rays from the sun excite your melanin-producing cells, which could worsen discoloration issues. The sun’s harmful rays won’t help either, just in case you want to avoid scars on your face.
Regardless of the weather, make sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher at least 30 minutes before going out. This makes sure that your skin absorbs the protection offered by the sunscreen. This prevents further damage to your skin, as well.
4. Try Black Soap
Have you heard or even used black soap? Black soap is a West African soap made from the ash of various plants, such as palm leaves, cocoa, shea bark and plantain skin.
For years, African women have usedblack soap to remove dark spots not just in the face but also on the body. Believe it or not, black soap is successful in getting rid of blemishes.
Aside from this, black soap has moisturizing agents that helps keep your skin smooth. It also provides natural protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thereby preventing your melanin to act up and minimizing further discoloration.
Black soap also works best for sensitive skin, a characteristic you can’t find in most commercially produced products these days.
5. Stay Away From Benzoyl Peroxide
When you hear the word acne, some of the treatments people think of are glycolic acid, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
This is because these ingredients are excellent, not just for fighting against acne, but also in treating its aftermath, aka the spots and scars.
Benzoyl peroxide is one of acne’s worst enemies. Did you know it could cause irritation and dryness to your skin? Even if it can get rid of acne, benzoyl peroxide may contribute to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Worse, it could lengthen your skin’s healing process too, a situation you want to stay away from as much as possible.
You can still use benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. However, it is advisable that you use it only when directed by your doctor.
6. Pigment-Proof Your Skin
A major reason why your skin develops dark spots is because you allow it to happen. When you expose your body to a harmful environment, the pigments inside your body activate defense mode.
When that happens, more pigments are produced and this results in hyper-pigmentation.
Therefore, take some time to pigment-proof your skin. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, helps correct uneven complexion. Hydroquinone is also capable of stopping melanin from forming, thereby an effective way to protect your skin against darkening. Soy is also a natural antidote that gets rid of dark spots.
A piece of advice: only use a pea size amount, and apply it on the affected area on your face. Also, use pigment-proof creams alternately to avoid possible irritation and over-drying.
7. Consider Natural Ingredients
Why use ingredients with hard-to-pronounce names when your kitchen cabinet is full of anti-acne spot and scar fighters, right? Going to your cupboard may not be your first choice for getting rid of blemishes; however, there are still effective kitchen favorites that could help clear your face.
Grated potato juice is an effective home remedy to diminish dark spots on your face. Indian women swear by turmeric when it comes to evening out their skin tone. Lemon juice is also effective in treating hyperpigmentation. You can even make your own chemical peels without worrying about the side effects.
However, you need a truckload of patience when you decide to go for natural methods. It may take some time before you see the results, but these are surely effective in removing dark spots and acne marks on your face.
8. Laser Treatment
One of the popular methods in getting rid of scars and spots is laser treatment. This method uses light energy to specifically target the affected areas and allow new and healthy skin cells to emerge.
Laser treatment is effective and has a proven track record when it comes to acne and dark skin.
However, it’s not just any laser treatment. Laser also comes in various types and depends on your skin type, skin condition and treatment goals. When it comes to acne and dark skin, the Nd-Yag laser is also a popular choice. Compared to other forms of laser treatments, the Nd-Yag is most effective on women with darker skin tones.
Apparently, everything comes with a price, including laser treatments. Despite its guaranteed results, you need more than one session before you can see changes to your skin.
9. Consult A Dermatologist
Who would know better about skin, skin conditions and appropriate treatments than a dermatologist? Instead of putting everything on your own hands, scheduling that trip to the dermatologist is a better idea to make sure that your skin is in good condition.
Plus, you are sure that your skin is getting adequate treatment, thereby preventing further damage.
Most women will only go to a skin doctor when the situation is out of hand. If you want to avoid any blemishes, spots and scars on your face brought by acne, then treating it in the early stages is advisable. Scars are beyond your control, but dermatologists are best equipped in providing an appropriate solution.
10. Establish Your Anti-Acne Regimen
One of the most important things you could do to prevent or remove scars, spots and blemishes on your face is to establish an anti-acne routine. All those skin-lightening creams are useless if you don’t know how to use them properly or if you don’t even bother to take care of your skin. Some of the things you could do include:
- Never leave your home without a sunscreen on. It protects your skin against the sun’s UV rays and prevents the possibility of scarring.
- Avoid picking, pricking or popping your pimples. This could contribute to scarring.
- Use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer on your face. Products with harsh ingredients can over-dry your skin and trigger your melanin to produce more, which could lead to hyper-pigmentation.
- Improve your diet. There is an ongoing debate on the connection between diet and acne. To be safe, stick to a healthy one since it is good for your body, too.
Why suffer when you can do something about your scars and spots today? Go ahead and say hello to clearer and younger-looking skin.