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The Best Skin Care Routine For Acne Scars
Acne-prone skin requires a good, baseline skin care routine, especially if you want to prevent scarring. Often, what we call acne scars are leftovers from swollen pimples that damage the skin’s collagen. Add sun exposure and these dark spots turn into hyperpigmented marks, known as acne scarring.
That’s because inflammation actually signals pigment-producing cells to work overtime, resulting in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Another kind of acne scars you can get are the reddish-pink spots called post-inflammatory erythema (PIE).
Most acne scarring fades away on its own over time, but the process can be sped up with the right acne treatments. So, do you want to know exactly how you can get rid of acne marks while keeping your skin healthy, hydrated, and fresh? Why, we’ve got the perfect skincare routine for improving acne blemishing right here. Read on!
Here’s A Morning Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
No matter your skin type, having a foundational AM routine prevents dark marks, ice pick scars, uneven texture, and sun damage that can happen after exposure to harmful UV rays. Your skin requires the utmost care during the day, especially if you already have sensitive skin to begin with, or if you’re just recovering from previous acne scars.
Here are the skincare products we recommend for day use:
Mild is the way to go. Even for normal skin or oily ones, we find that a gentle cleanser works better in the long run than one that might damage skin texture. You know, those cleansers with little beads that claim to scrub away acne marks in the process? Or ones that have too-high concentrations of active exfoliants, alcohol, and other irritants that may not protect skin enough — these are all bad news.
On the other hand, a mild cleanser simply strips away the impurities while still keeping your pH balance at a healthy number. This is important as having too-dry skin after washing might trigger your skin cells to produce more oil, which might result in more breakouts.
Acne Treatment (AHAs, Salicylic Acid, etc.)
Prevention is better than cure, and one way to reduce acne scars is by treating your acne while it is still fresh. An acne treatment, such as an exfoliating toner or a spot treatment cream, allows you to zap those zits right from the source so they don’t turn into marks or scarring.
The best skin treatment products usually contain active ingredients like salicylic acid (a super potent beta hydroxy acid), glycolic acid, azelaic acid, lactic acid, and so on. These chemical exfoliants help aid what’s known as skin cell turnover, which is the skin’s natural process of shedding dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin.
Salicylic acid is super effective in removing whiteheads and blackheads, while glycolic acid makes sure gunk won’t clog up your pores and cause active acne, thus reducing your chances of accumulating acne scars.
However, if you’re already in the midst of a terrible breakout, a product that treats acne would be best. This can vary, but it’s best to consult a professional for a prescription.
Another important step in treating acne scars is a brightening serum. Serums are great because aside from their wonderful exfoliating properties, they also tend to be super hydrating and great even for sensitive skin.
Our favorite brightening ingredients are alpha arbutin, niacinamide, and vitamin C. These are often accompanied by actives like lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and so on, which help remove dead skin cells and keep the skin looking young and fresh.
Alpha arbutin is a well-known and super effective skin lightener, and you’ll often find it in the ingredients list of rejuvenating sets. Another fave of ours is vitamin C, which is not only an antioxidant but a prohibitor of melanin production — basically, a skin lightener. Vitamin C helps get rid of hyperpigmentation and dark spots which makes it great for lightening acne scars.
To add a pinch of hydration, look for a serum with hyaluronic acid in the ingredients list. HA helps your skin hold on to moisture throughout the day while also repairing your skin barrier.
Finally, apply a generous amount of skin-loving sunscreen to guard against unwanted UV rays. Not only is it one of the most important skincare steps for any skin type, but it is super helpful for oily and acne-prone skin. Acne scars are often worsened by prolonged exposure to UV rays, outdoors or otherwise. That means even if you’re sitting at home, or if it’s cloudy, you still need to wear sunscreen.
Of course, sunscreen has a ton of benefits for the skin, such as evening the skin tone and keeping it youthful, so don’t be surprised if you notice a different glow after a few weeks of consistent use. Sun damage is also one cause of early aging signs, uneven skin tone, dryer-looking skin, and more — making sun protection all the more important.
Now, Here’s A Nighttime Routine
You didn’t think we’d forget your PM routine, did you? You need to recharge your skin overnight, which is why we’re going to pack on a ton of ultra-nourishing skincare products in this part of the regimen. Take a look.
If you find yourself wearing makeup constantly, then you can also opt for the double-cleansing method. This K-beauty staple is all about using two types of cleansers, one oil-based to remove makeup and another foam or water-based. Makeup residue can clog your pores and impede skin cell turnover, so make sure to do this if you’re packing those powders and creams during the day.
Brightening Night Cream
These brightening creams are exceptional at gently fading away acne scars over time, and it’s also a good idea to apply them at night where you won’t have to face excruciating heat. You can choose an exfoliating serum for the perfect balance of moisturization.
Our favorites are pretty much the same: glycolic acid and other AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and retinol for stimulating collagen production. The chemical exfoliants speed up skin cell turnover without being too harsh on your skin, while the vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin.
Tip: if you don’t like the greasy feeling of an overnight cream, look for one that’s effective enough with just a thin layer.
Bonus: Acid Treatment for Dead Skin Cells
This extra step is one you can do once or twice a week, depending on how tough your skin is. An acid treatment is usually a cocktail of chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, ferulic acid, and so on. Definitely start once a week for sensitive skin types then slowly build tolerance by upping the frequency every two weeks.
Remember that no matter where you are in your skincare journey, loving yourself first is what brings out that attractive glow. That means taking care of your skin by taking it slow, even if the journey is frustrating.
If you’re unsure as to what products will work for you, don’t rush to pile on different things at once! It’s always best to talk to a professional if you can, or do your own extensive research. Patience is the key.
We hope this guide was helpful for you! Make sure to read more of our posts on beauty, lifestyle, and health right here at Pretty Me.
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.