Whenever you get a pimple, you
probably want it to heal quickly. But sometimes, acne
blemishes leave a dark mark on your skin
even after the pimple is gone. This is frustrating, but not uncommon.
Getting rid of these dark spots on
your skin starts with understanding what causes them in the first place.
When a pimple pops up on your
skin, it’s technically a form of inflammation. And as your skin heals and new
skin cells form, it’s possible that the cells sent to help restore your skin’s
smooth surface contain too much melanin.
Melanin is what gives your skin its color, and when certain cells have more melanin than others, the result is a darker patch of skin. This is referred to as post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
Anything that makes your skin inflammation last longer, like picking or squeezing a blemish, can increase your chances of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
People who have naturally darker
skin tones are more prone to this condition. Keep reading to find out more
about how to treat those post-pimple dark spots and how to avoid them in the
Treating dark spots from acne is
different than treating acne scars. Scars require tissue to be damaged or
overgrown. Scars are difficult to fully remove, and while they may fade over
time, they usually remain visible.
Dark spots from acne, on the other
hand, are flat against the surface of your skin. They don’t indicate any
long-term damage to your skin cells, pores, or follicles.
It can take a while, but dark
spots tend to become lighter over time, and eventually go away completely. It
can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years for them to vanish from view.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait
forever in hopes that your dark spots will fade. There are plenty of home
remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) products, and even dermatology treatments you
can try to get rid of them more quickly.
If you’d like to treat
post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, you can start with home remedies.
Unfortunately, many of these home remedies have only anecdotal evidence to back
them up. For the most part, there’s little harm in giving them a try.
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C,
which can brighten skin and even skin tone. Vitamin C has been shownTrusted Source to be an effective depigmenting agent that
decreases melanin formation.
If you look online, you’ll find
many fans of using aloe vera to heal dark spots from acne. It’s true that aloe
is an exceptional healing agent, especially when it comes to your skin.
An animal studyTrusted
Source found that consistent use of aloe could stabilize melanin levels
in cells, but more research is needed to know the limits of this effect.
Grape seed extract is another natural product that may work to help lighten dark spots.
There aren’t any studies on the topical use of grape seed extract for this purpose. But there is a study Trusted Source that shows that 6 months of grape seed extract taken orally was beneficial for people who have the skin condition melasma, which is similar to post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
According to research Trusted Source, treatment of any dark spots should start with a vigilant sun-protection routine. Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 each day, regardless of if the day is overcast or humid, will help prevent more damage to your skin.
If you find that you’re developing
dark spots frequently, or if the appearance of these dark spots is affecting
your day-to-day life, it’s time to speak to your healthcare provider.
Creating a treatment plan with
your dermatologist can give you a realistic perspective of dark spots caused by
pimples. Having a plan and a professional to call on can make all the difference.