Have you ever had acne that healed and left a dark spot behind that stayed with you for months? That’s a form of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). I know this can be very frustrating so I’m here to help! If you’re someone who is constantly dealing with PIH where every small pimple leaves a scar this blog post will help you:
- Understand what you can do to PREVENT acne scaring
- Figure out how to treat and fade PIH acne scaring
The distinction between prevention and treatment is very important here. If you’re not preventing PIH you’ll be stuck in a cycle of always having some acne scars on your face. So, when it comes to skincare I always think the mindset of prevention works best. Yes, you want to treat the issues you have but also want to be making sure that you can do everything you can to prevent these issue from coming up again.
Quick note though, the tips I’m giving here are a mix of both prevention and treatment which is why they are so EFFECTIVE.
Disclaimer: Make sure you discuss every product you use with your dermatologist, I’m a skin care geek but I recommend you also do your own research.
5 Effective Tips that can help with Acne Scaring
1. Incorporate this superstar ingredient in your routine – Niacinamide
Niacinamide is truly a superstar ingredient. It’s vitamin B3 and is a water soluble vitamin that helps with pigmentation and sebum control. This is especially powerful for those with acne prone skin because it helps control sebum while working on brightening dark spots.
I would encourage you to look for skincare products with niacinamide high on the ingredient list. You can easily incorporate niacinamide in your routine as it works well with most ingredients. It is also common to have niacinamide in your moisturizer or sunscreen. A few of my personal favorite products with niacinamide are
So niacinamide is an ingredient that is going to help prevent acne as well as fade PIH acne scars.
2. Harness the power of AHAs – Mandelic Acid
Mandelic acid is an underdog when it comes to skincare ingredients. It has been gaining some traction lately along with Azelaic acid in the skin care world and rightfully so! Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA that helps promote skin cell turnover and hence reduce the look skin damage or acne.
Most commonly you would find mandelic acid in a serum and it can be incorporateed in your routine as a replacement or addition to salycilic acid. If you decide to use a mandelic acid serum I would recommend you use it twice a week and then build up to using it in your daily routine. Mandelic acid is more of a treatment ingredient but with consistent use it can help you prevent breakouts and help make sure that your PIH under control
3. Meet your new long term BFF – Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxident that is one of the most research backed ingredients in the skin care industry. Benefits of this powerhouse ingredient include brighter skin, protecting skin from free radical damange, even skin tone, and firmer and younger looking skin.
Vitamin C works best when used in your day time routine paired with a sunscreen. Note that the skin care ingredients you should avoid if you decide to incorporate vitamin C morning routine would be AHAs and BHAs, you could use your AHAs and BHAs in your nightime routine instead. I would recommend you incorporate Vitamin C in your routine in your early-late 20s, don’t wait till you’re older to leverage this powerful ingredient.The most common way use vitamin C is in the form of a serum, here are some of my absolute favorites:
- Skin Ceuticals – C E Ferulic
- Skin Ceuticals – Silyamrin CF (for oily skin)
- Biossance – Squalane and Vitamin C rose oil
Vitamin C will help PIH acne scars, to avoid irritation use vitamin C only when you are not actively breaking out.
4. Follow a trend that really works – LED Light Therapy
If you haven’t heard of this trend before, you’re going to want to know about it NOW! LED light therapy is a powerful non-invasive treatment that helps with PIH. If you see LED light therapy being offered at a spa, I would encourage you to try it out.
You’re probably wondering, how exactly does this work? Well, LED light, specifically red and blue light, trigger the skin’s natural healing process to help with sun damage, PIH, and acne. Blue light targets your sebacious glands so you produce less oil, thus helps with controling acne. Red light helps reduce inflammation and acts on fibroblasts to help improve scarring and prevent aging.
This is very easy to incorporate in your skincare routine. Introduce this in your night time routine post face wash and pre serum and moisturizer. You can use it 1-3 times per week. Here are some of my favorite LED light therapy products:
- LightStim for Acne – FDA Approved
- Project E Beauty LED Light Face Mask
- Dr Dennis Gross LED light face mask – Cordless & FDA Approved
LED light therapy works to prevent acne and helps fade PIH.
5. The only non-negotiable product – Sunscreen
Last but not least, suncreen. You’ve heard me say this before and I will say it again. Sunscreen is the one skin care product that is absolutely non-negotiable for your skin care routine. It helps prevent aging, acne, wrinkles, dark spots, PIH and so much more. This should be the last step in your morning routine EVERY DAY, cloudy or not cloudy. When it comes to PIH, sunscreen prevents excess melanin production that can make your PIH darker and last longer. Thus applying sunscreen every day is essential if you want to fade your PIH.
If you’re not convinced here is a blog post that lists the 5 benefits of sunscreen and why its the most important skincare product.
Here is a list of some of my favorite sunscreens:
Sunscreen helps prevent acne and helps fade post inflamatory hyperpigmentation.
I hope this list helps you understand PIH and how to tackle it. Remember, to treat your skin with kindness and be patient to see the most optimal results. The key is to stay consistent and adapt your skincare routine till you find what works for you.
This blog post is packed with a lot of information, so bookmark it so you can refer to it whenever you need to. If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org , I’m always here to help!
Finally, please check with your dermatologist as you try to incorporate these products in your routine, if you get a reaction stop using the product. There are many alternatives, and no one formula works for everyones skin. Skin care is about trial and error, but you will find the products that work for you!
If you enjoyed this post you can read more of my skincare posts here: My Self Care Shelf – Skin Care
Here’s to the start of your self care journey!