Battling acne can seem so drawn out especially when dealing with hyperpigmentation. You’re finally able to clear up the blemishes only to be left with the remnants of your struggles – dark marks that refuse to lighten in a timely manner.
I know how frustrating these marks can be. As someone who has pretty fair skin, I don’t need to do a single thing for hyperpigmentation to rear its ugly head. All that needs to happen is a new blemish – it doesn’t matter what kind – to surface and I’m guaranteed to have some dark coloration for the next several weeks. So believe me when I say the struggle is real!
There are a few types of hyperpigmentation out there, but we’re mainly focusing on the kind caused by acne – post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH. As the name suggests, PIH is the discoloration that happens after the skin’s response to inflammation, in this case a blemish. The pigmentation of these areas can vary from pink, red, purple, brown, or black depending on your skin tone and the severity of the inflammation.
PIH doesn’t only happen when we get a pimple, it can also occur when we’ve scraped the skin, had a rash, or if another type of wound inflames the skin. No matter how they’re caused, I can’t think of anyone who wants them to stick around!
For acne sufferers, hyperpigmentation is a common occurrence. Even very mild acne like papules can leave behind evidence of their existence so what can we do to decrease their appearance? For one, don’t pick! The more inflammation you create by popping your blemishes only increases PIH. You can make the hyperpigmentation larger, darker, and longer lasting – some legions can last over 6 months especially if you have lighter skin tones.
How to Treat Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Since hyperpigmentation is not necessarily an acne scar it will eventually fade away completely. This is good news! As long as we try our best to keep acne under control from the inside out and outside in, refrain from picking, and use a few handy tricks, we’re set for success!
First and foremost is protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays since sunlight tends to darken hyperpigmentation legions. These pigmented areas are already full of melanin so we don’t need to stimulate the skin to produce more while you’re out in the sun. Be sure to use an all-natural sunscreen that does not clog your pores and put it on daily before heading outside. Not doing this will only cause the hyperpigmentation to last longer and look worse than before.
Second, you can use serums that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, vitamin A, or vitamin C (I would not use more than one at a time). These ingredients are known to be chemical exfoliants that will gently remove dead skin cells by stimulating cellular turnover. You can find natural options at your local health food store as well. I recommend picking one, stick with it for several weeks, and only use it at night. This is because these types of acids make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and you can burn even with a good sunscreen on. You should also only use them as directed on the label – usually just 2-3 times a week.
Using chemical exfoliants will slough away dead skin, smooth out the complexion, and help to lighten hyperpigmentation.
Third is to use a serum that moisturizes the skin and fights acne all while going to work on lightening and brightening hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation Reducing Acne Serum
This serum is wonderful for reducing dark spots by using the powerful skin lightening properties of essential oils. It’s best to use a carrier oil that agrees with your skin type in order to prevent future breakouts. You can read more about the best oils for your skin type here. Also be sure to check out my extensive list of comedogenic oils for more in depth information.
Here’s what you need to make my hyperpigmentation reducing acne serum:
• A 1oz dropper bottle
• A carrier oil that agrees with your skin type (for me this is jojoba oil or hemp seed oil. If your skin tolerates sea buckthorn oil use it! It contains high quantities of linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids which are known to help reduce hyperpigmentation)
• 2 drops frankincense essential oil – a powerful anti-inflammatory and skin healer.
• 4 drops sandalwood essential oil – lightens hyper pigmentation and evens skin tone.
• 12 drops lemon essential oil (this is the max dilution)
This blend makes a 3% essential oil dilution so feel free to use less essential oils if you prefer.
Other essential oils to consider for their skin lightening effects:
Loving Preparation – Hyperpigmentation Reducing Acne Serum
1. Begin by adding the essential oils one by one to the dropper bottle.
2. Next fill the bottle to the shoulder with the carrier oil of choice.
3. Cap closed and roll between the palms to mix thoroughly.
After cleansing your skin at night, apply any chemical exfoliant serum of choice and allow it to dry and absorb completely. Next, apply a few drops of hyperpigmentation reducing acne serum to affected areas. Massage gently into the skin until absorbed.
ONLY use this serum at night as it contains lemon essential oil – an oil known to cause phototoxicity (severe sunburn) when exposed to direct sunlight.
Use this serum nightly to help reduce hyperpigmentation caused by acne.
This serum is a great option for those that need a gentler method for reducing discoloration, however, if you have a hardier skin type, you can also utilize my two ingredient hyperpigmentation reducing face scrub once a week.
What have been your favorite hyper pigmentation remedies? Please let me know in the comments!
For more tips and tricks please check out the articles below: