WRITERS, BLOGGERS, PROS AND PEEPS WHO KNOW THEIR BEAUTY STUFF
What I Know About … Acne Scars
Sun, 29 July 2012 12:28PM
And it wasn’t just a spot here and there. I’m talking angry, red acne that would cause well-meaning strangers to give me advice on why my skin was so ‘bad’. It took me a number of years and countless products to get my skin under control.
But even though the pimples themselves had gone, my skin was left spotted and scarred. And so, like Megan Fox has supposedly done, I embarked on the bumpy journey to rid myself of acne scarring.
Now? I’m almost at my destination: skin I’m happy with. And I’m most definitely an expert on the subject. So if you’re also on that rocky road, consider me your guide. Let’s go …
Before you start treating the scar, you must deal with the acne. It’s kind of a horse/cart thing. If you’ve tried the usual acne programmes and are not seeing a marked (no pun intended) improvement, see a professional, like a dermatologist or even your favourite G.P. There are so many new products that can be prescribed. And it’s no longer just scary, aggressive medication.
So, now that you’re not seeing any new scars, you can treat the existing ones.
Acne scars fall into two categories: a) red or brown spots, which seem to hang around forever after the pimple itself has gone, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (that’s PIH to you and me), and b) small sunken areas in the skin (where the pimple was) that are referred to as an atrophic scar (if you want to get all technical). Both types are very common and I’m not ashamed to tell you that I know both on a very personal basis.
So, now that we can call acne scars a fancy name, how do we get rid of them?
Let’s start with PIH. This kind of PIH can occur no matter how large the pimple is – it’s just how your skin reacts to the trauma of the pimple. To treat it, you want to use something that speeds up the skin’s turnover process and helps to increase the healing process. Start by looking for something based on alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Fight & Fade Spot Gel, $16.99, from pharmacies, is low in the irritation department, great for small marks, and is a bargain.
For those with more severe or larger areas of pigmentation, like myself, I recommend something a little more hard-core. I’m a big fan of Neostrata products (from David Jones, Priceline and pharmacies). They have a variety of different strengths so you can work your way up if you need something stronger. But always start with the weaker strength – or it will burn your skin and make it go red and peel off. Yes, it’s just as attractive and pleasant as it sounds. You will be tempted to go with the strongest at first I know, but you must resist! Take it from a girl who’s been there.
Another of my favourite pigmentation fighters is John Plunkett’s Superfade Cream, $29.95, from pharmacies. It comes in both an original formula and one specially designed for the face, which is less greasy. Both of these products are a little more expensive, but will last a really long time.
If you’re looking to camouflage as well as treat, Clinique Even Better Makeup, $50, Clinique, provides great moderate-to-full coverage while helping to even out skin tone. It also provides SPF15. It’s like a win, win, win situation.
Speaking of SPF, if you’re treating pigmentation you’ll need to be using SPF30+. Every. Single. Day. Acids make you skin super sensitive to sunlight. If you’re worried about it causing pimples, don’t. Kit Cosmetics SPF30+ Face Sunscreen, $31.95, Kit, and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, $17.99, from pharmacies, give you full sun protection and no slime factor.
No matter what treatment you go for, you’re going to be in it for the long haul. Depending on how dark the pigmentation is, it may take a few months to see an improvement. Just hang in there.
Okay, now that we have pigmentation under control, let’s talk about atrophic scaring. Atrophic scars are caused when the skin is aggravated. By picking the area or drying it out too much, you not only damage the skin cells of the pimple but also the cells surrounding the pimple and the new cells underneath, causing the scar. So leave that spot alone! If it’s really bringing you down, find a beauty therapist who is great at extractions (tip: look for sterile tools and fresh gloves). And while you’re there, ask about treatments for atrophic scaring. Unfortunately there’s not much that you can do at home with proven results (Boo!). But at a salon or clinic, peels and injectable fillers are used with a good degree of success.
Me? I’m a massive fan of Omnilux, a gentile light therapy that makes my skin glow and the atrophic scaring less noticeable. It’s also super relaxing, like a day at the beach without the bathing suit anxiety.
So, there you go, everything I know about dealing with acne scars. Have I helped anyone out there?
Or do you have any tips you can add?
- Emma Tabler
Posted by: PRIMPED Posse