Dealing with pimples is bad enough -- but when you're left with post-acne marks, it's like adding insult to injury. Whether you're dealing with angry red splotches or faded brown spots, you don't have to be stuck with them forever. With the right skin-care routine, you can help prevent and fade post-pimple marks so you're left with an even complexion.
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Popping a pimple can sometimes seem to make it go away faster, but try to resist the urge to pick at your breakouts. Popping or lancing a pimple can lead to scarring or an infection, making post-breakout marks even harder to get rid of. You also run the risk of spreading the bacteria from your pimple to other areas of your face, possibly causing additional breakouts.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
Exfoliation is an effective way to get rid of post-pimple marks because it helps remove the surface layers of dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliators, like glycolic and salicylic acid, are ideal for getting rid of post-pimple marks because they help dark skin cells rise to the surface and slough off. While both are effective in treating post-pimple marks, salicylic acid is a better option if you are currently suffering from breakouts because it can help dissolve oil clogs inside the pores that can lead to acne.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
Sunscreen should be part of any skin-care regimen, but it’s especially important when you’re dealing with post-pimple marks. In addition to causing skin cancer and premature aging, UVA and UVB rays impede your skin’s ability to heal. This makes the red, purple or brown marks from past breakouts linger longer than they would on protected skin. Year-round, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Choose an oil-free formula if you’re still struggling with acne to avoid clogging your pores.
If your pimple marks aren't fading quickly enough, use makeup to camouflage them. Start with a light- to medium-coverage foundation to even out your skin tone. If your marks aren't very dark, the foundation may be enough to cover them. Add concealer on top of the foundation if your marks still show through. Apply a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone exactly, using a small makeup brush to carefully pat it over the marks. To ensure your marks stay covered all day, use a fluffy brush to apply a setting powder over the foundation and concealer. Tap the brush over the spot instead of swiping so you don't disturb the foundation and concealer.
Visit the Doctor
In some cases, at-home treatments aren't enough to banish post-pimple marks. If your hyper-pigmentation isn’t fading, it may be time to visit a doctor. At your dermatologist’s office, you can get a glycolic-acid peel, which uses a higher concentration of the acid than over-the-counter products to help speed up exfoliation. Your doctor can also use a variety of laser treatments to target specific marks and fade discoloration.