you’ve finally won the battle of the blemish and are now left with a battle wound in the form of a red or brown mark, or worse, scarring. we’re often asked by clients, “what’s the quickest and safest way to treat acne scars and discoloration?” but before we get into that, let’s start by understanding what you’re dealing with…

discoloration

the discoloration you get after a pimple is classified as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). this means you’re left with a red or brown mark that is flat and will typically fade on its own but can take several months if left untreated. when you pop a pimple, you’re opening up the skin which then has to close itself back together. broken blood vessels can also be caused by popping and result in a mark. although your odds are much better leaving the blemish alone, an inflamed lesion such as a cyst can still result in a brown or red mark

how to deal…

sunscreen: i’m sure it feels like we’re constantly shoving SPF down your throat, but there’s a reason for this. sun exposure can worsen discoloration and make it appear more prominent, so always keep your skin protected

retinoids (retinol/retin-A): stimulate the production of fresh, new skin cells and encourage aging/damaged cells to speed up their renewal process, which helps fade discoloration, fight acne, and resurface the skin’s texture for a smooth, even-toned complexion. however, they’re not designed for the faint-of-heart, so make sure you’re educated on how to use them before jumping the gun. you can see a great explanation of what retinol is here as well as a vid on how to apply: here

vitamin C: hyperpigmentation is a struggle for us both due to sun damage and something we work hard at reversing. vitamin C, also known as the “brightening antioxidant,” not only protects your skin from free radical damage but also inhibits tyrosinase (an enzyme that stimulates melanin production)

hydroquinone: is the only lightening treatment officially approved by the FDA. it whitens skin cells and prevents melanin/pigment from forming. please note: a product with a 2% solution may take 2 to 3 months to fade a dark spot. however, refrain from using a prescription strength as it can be too aggressive and make the problem worse

 

scarring

superficial breakouts that rupture near the skin’s surface usually heal without scarring. acne scars, however, form when there’s a deeper break in the follicle causing damage to the dermis. they’re typically the product of an inflamed lesion, such as a cyst: long-standing, painful nodules deep within the skin. these types of breakouts can cause injury to the tissue, leaving the skin with permanent scars that are notoriously difficult to treat

how to deal…

acne scars come in many different forms and are best handled by a professional since they require more intense treatment rather than over-the-counter options

microneedling: is collagen induction therapy that uses a device with fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. these punctures create controlled micro-injuries to stimulate collagen production as well as create channels for active ingredients to be delivered into the dermis *an ongoing series of treatments will be required depending on the depth of scars*

dermal fillers: are made up of hyaluronic acid (a powerful moisture-binding acid that can hold 1,000x its weight in water to restore & replenish the skin). they can be injected into the depressions in the skin to help even the skin’s texture. however, this is a temporary solution and will require follow-up treatments to maintain the results

skin resurfacing treatments: a laser used to heat or remove/ablate the skin *the number of treatments and the amount of downtime varies*

chemical peels: can help improve skin discoloration and texture, reducing the appearance of scarring *the strength and type of peel used will depend on the depth of the scar*

mix & match: a combination of the above treatments can work in unison to target & treat