As if dealing with acne issues isn’t stressful enough, you also have to suffer the aftermath of acne breakouts — scarring! The spots that are left behind after the acne breakouts never seem to go away and you are left fearing this would lead to permanent scarring.
What is a Scar?
A permanent scar is a defect in the skin caused by an injury to the area. Thankfully, most of the marks left behind by acne outbreaks are not permanent. They are actually post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) spots that remain after a breakout heals.
As a breakout starts to heal, too much melanin is produced. Melanin is the pigment in the skin that gives the skin its colour. Excessive production of melanin darkens and discolours the skin. Thus, even though your acne has healed, the discolouration still remains.
“Am I Stuck With These Ugly Marks?”
There are some who will turn to make-up, such as colour correctors, concealers or foundations to cover up these discoloured skin blemishes. While the spots can be easily covered up by make-up, you should never feel the need to always hide behind a made-up face, never being able to step out into the world with a flawless, bare face.
The good news is: Even without undergoing any form of treatment, the discolourations eventually do fade away. However, this takes time. It can take anywhere from weeks to even months for your skin discolouration to completely fade away.
There are ways in which you can help facilitate and, perhaps, speed up the healing process.
Do Not Pick at Your Pimples
Sounds simple, right? It is always easier said than done. Hands up, if you are guilty of popping your pimples the minute you see them surface on your skin. Most people pick away at their pimples as they cannot stand the sight of them marring their skin.
But did you know that popping your pimples increases the risk of inflammation? When inflammation occurs, it triggers melanin production. As we mentioned above, overproduction of melanin leaves you with discolouration marks on your skin, even though your breakouts may have subsided. So, never ever pick at your pimples! Otherwise, it will take a longer time before these discoloured marks completely fade away.
Load up on Sun Protection
“That tan looks great on you!” “I love how you are glowing!” We get it. A sun-kissed complexion brings about that ‘healthy glow’, which brings on plenty of compliments from everyone. So you’ll probably bake yourself under the merciless sun happily to achieve that perfect golden glow. However, did you know that prolonged exposure to the sun leads to overproduction of melanin, resulting in discolouration marks on your skin?
Whenever possible, limit the amount of time you spend outdoors under the sun. If you have to be under the sun, make sure you wear protective attire or use sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) to reduce your risk of developing hyperpigmentation and prevent existing dark spots from getting worse.
Go Easy on Exfoliation
We are taught that regular exfoliation is essential in a skin care regimen. On top of revealing fresh skin cells, exfoliating helps to get rid of dead skin cells from pores, thus making your pores appear smaller. Your skin feels smooth to the touch, make-up goes on more smoothly and it enhances your skin’s ability to absorb everything. As you exfoliate regularly, your discoloured marks slowly and surely start to fade away and you can experience brighter and clearer skin with time.
But, you may decide to be over-enthusiastic on your exfoliation regimen instead. There is always too much of a good thing. Over-exfoliating may result in increased pigmentation for skin types prone to this and you may end up with PIH.
Your Skin Is What You Eat
You are what you eat. The same goes for your skin, too. What you put into your body has a direct impact on how you and your skin look.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Start consuming those greens like your mother told you to. Carotenoids found in spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, peas and leafy greens help to filter UV radiation and reduce oxidative stress in your skin, which means less discolouration.
Vitamins A and C are known to destroy free radicals in your body, prevent melanin production and fight discolouration in your skin. So juice up with oranges, grapefruits and lemons.
This superfruit contains lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against sun damage and helps prevent freckling and skin discolourations.
High in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, your skin will be thankful to salmon, as it gives your skin a healthy dose of moisture and helps reduce redness in the skin.
Almonds are especially good for your skin, as they contain magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which help to reduce stress hormones that often cause breakouts.