November 25, 2013

Dealing With Acne Scarring & Hyperpigmentation

Since I specialize in adult acne, just about all of my clients, all of whom are in their late 20s all the way up to mid 50s, suffer from the lasting effects of pigmentation issues from healing acne blemishes, commonly called "scarring". 

So how can you get rid of the scarring on your face from acne?  Well, we first have to be specific on what we mean by "scarring".

There's scarring where the skin collapses after a cost has healed, which are called "pock marks" in lay vernacular, but are known professionally as "rolling scars" and "boxcar scars" depending on their shape. There are pores with openings that got so stretched out that they look like large, empty holes, which are called "ice-pick scars".   These can be addressed by chemical peels in conjunction with AHAs in home care, and microdermabrasion.

And then there is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. 

Many people refer to hyperpigmentation as acne scars, but they're really just small, massive tans that result from the skin dealing with trauma. They are also referred to as "dark marks".

Hyperpigmentation occurs by the exact same mechanism as when the sun damages your skin. In essence, the pores, which have been irritated by infection and the picking of blemishes and blackheads, have created intense tans as part of the healing process. If left to go away by themselves, these dark marks would take as long to go away as a really dark tan.

In order to combat your hyper-pigmentation, three things need to become a part of your skincare routine:

1. Exfoliation inside and outside pores using an AHA mix appropriate for oily skin or for dry skin, or Salicylic Acid to get rid of cells that are darkened by pigment. 
2. Topical antioxidants to help skin heal and to keep pigment from spilling into cells so easily, either in the form of a serum with multi-vitamins or non-letter vitamin antioxidants, or a lotion with highly potent Vitamin C. 
3. Prevention of further damage by using sunscreen AT ALL TIMES.  Sunscreen must be non-pore-clogging so breakouts don't recur. Remember: sun exposure without protection will make the marks darker.

For individual help in getting rid of your particular "dark mark" problem, please fill out my Eval by Email® Online Skin Care Consultation form specially designed for Gen-Xers to Baby Boomers.  So many factors go into the formation of pigmentation issues, it's nice not to have to fly blind and self-diagnose. :)

Know anyone who might benefit from this post?  Please share!