Fighting PIH

Dark spot’s left after pimple heals

So, after an acne pimple you can be left with a dark spot. The pimple bump finally flattens and heals. Great. But, that damn dark spot! Now, there’s a good chance you popped or picked or both…and, that makes matters worse, many say, because the inflammatory response deposits more melanin into the upper layer of the skin

This is frustrating and irritating, but it’s just how life works.

And, this can affect people of any age I’ve learned. And, for those with darker complexion, it can be more of a problem. It might get you upset or angry. But, it’s just the way it is…

Dermatologists pop zits

And, you notice, if popping a zit is so bad, why is it that this is the approach that dermatologists use? Granted they’ve got their fancy little tool, but you can watch the YouTube videos of dermatologists gleefully popping zits. It’s funny because dermatologists online are always harping about how you should leave the zit alone. But, when you’re in the office, they’re popping away. It’s weird. Do what I say, not what I do! Granted, they’ve got that fancy little gizmo they use. But, dermatologists most certainly do extract the gunk out of zits! To provide just one example, see this video. If you look on YouTube there are hundreds of videos of dermatologists popping zits. So, form your own conclusion about the topic.

And, in particular, if the zit has a white head: I’m going to squeeze the pus out. If there’s no white head, I would encourage you not to mess with it.

How do you fade the dark spot part

So, here’s the method that my girlfriend found gets rid of the dark spot fastest for her.

You need four things:

  • aloe vera
  • salicylic acid
  • glycolic acid (I’d say this is optional. But, it’s good to have.)
  • kojic acid

So, the aloe vera is a moisturizer. Salicylic acid reduces inflammation. But, more importantly, it turns over skin cells. This is what we want. Glycolic acid also turns over skin cells. She alternates between the salicylic acid and glycolic acid a bit. Kojic acid’s mechanism of action is a bit complex, and we don’t really need to understand it for our purposes. We’ll be using it because it’s the agent that actually fades the dark spot.

Okay, those are the four items. You can actually get all four from Amazon for not too expensive. I think you could probably get all four for under $80.

How often do you apply the aloe and acids?

So, in my experience, you don’t want to use these every single day. You want to give the skin a break. You have to sort of sense by looking in the mirror. But, for example, let’s say on day one, you leave the salicylic acid on for eight hours. Then, you apply the kojic acid for fifteen minutes. You wash that off. And, then you apply a little aloe vera. Some days use glycolic acid in place of salicylic. I alternate them based upon intuition.

Well, maybe I’ll do that three days in a row. Then, I’ll take a day off. Then the next day, I’ll use just a little kojic acid. Then, the next day, I’ll use all four.

You have to just sort of use your intuition and what you’re seeing in the mirror to be your guide.

Many opinions and products about fading acne scars

So, if you search the Internet, you are going to find thousands of pages discussing post-acne dark spot, hyperpigmentation scars. A lot of the pages will explain why the dark spot forms etc. in great depth. I’m not doing that here, because who really cares about the biological process. We just want to get rid of the spot, right?

And, this is a huge, money-making industry, so you’ll see thousands of different products that promise getting rid of a dark spot in three days. That’s not going to happen. You will not get rid of a hyperpigmentation spot in three days!

Further Expert Opinion

Dark spots, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), left behind by acne can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can consider to help fade these spots and achieve a more even complexion.

1. Sun Protection: Protecting your skin from the sun is essential. UV rays can worsen the appearance of dark spots by triggering further pigmentation. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily, even on cloudy days.

2. Topical Treatments:

a. Vitamin C: Topical vitamin C serums can help brighten and fade dark spots. Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties and its ability to inhibit melanin production.

b. Retinoids: Over-the-counter retinol products or prescription retinoids can promote skin cell turnover and improve the appearance of PIH over time.

c. Hydroquinone: This skin-lightening agent can be effective for fading dark spots, but it’s best used under the guidance of a dermatologist due to potential side effects.

d. Niacinamide: This ingredient can help regulate pigment production and improve skin texture. Look for products with niacinamide to incorporate into your skincare routine.

3. Chemical Peels: Mild chemical peels, administered by a dermatologist, can exfoliate the outer layer of skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels are commonly used for this purpose.

4. Microdermabrasion: This procedure involves exfoliating the skin using a device to improve its texture and appearance. Microdermabrasion can help with lightening dark spots over time.

5. Laser Therapy: Various laser treatments, such as intense pulsed light (IPL) or fractional laser, can target pigmented areas and break down excess melanin, helping to fade dark spots.

6. Patience and Consistency: Addressing dark spots takes time. Be patient and consistent with your chosen treatment regimen. Results may not be immediate, but gradual improvement is achievable.

7. Avoid Picking and Squeezing Pimples: Picking at acne lesions can worsen inflammation and increase the risk of PIH. Avoid squeezing or popping pimples to minimize the chances of dark spots forming.

8. Professional Consultation: If your dark spots are particularly stubborn or widespread, consider consulting a dermatologist. They can recommend personalized treatments and procedures based on your skin type and specific needs.

Remember that everyone’s skin is unique, so what works for one person may not work the same way for another. It’s advisable to conduct a patch test before introducing new products or treatments to your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin or a history of allergies. Additionally, if you’re using prescription products, follow your dermatologist’s instructions carefully.

Incorporating a combination of sun protection, topical treatments, and professional interventions can help you effectively fade dark spots left behind by acne and achieve a more even and radiant complexion over time.