Those dark spots and post-acne marks on your face are the result of hyperpigmentation – a common condition that’s caused by the overproduction of melanin, the skin pigment responsible for the colour of your hair, skin and eyes. Injuries to the skin, such as cuts and scrapes, and inflammation like acne lesions can lead pigment-producing cells to produce excess in melanin, leaving behind a dark spot after the affected area has healed.
While this skin condition is usually harmless, the dark patches and spots can be perceived as irksome and cause most people to feel less confident in their appearance. But they are not impossible to remove – there are several ways to help you erase these dark spots and be on your way to clearer skin.
1. Regular exfoliation
Turn to chemical exfoliants which work by dissolving dead-skin cells. These can include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as salicylic and glycolic acids, to gently exfoliate the skin’s surface and unclog pores. This is also beneficial for those suffering from acne. Regular exfoliation, without overdoing it, can help break pigmented cells apart and lessen the appearance of discolouration. At the same time, it also helps to encourage cell turnover and accelerate the fading process.
2. Hands off your pimples
The more you scratch and pick at a spot, the worse the inflammation will be that’s responsible for skin discolouration. Any squeezing of acne breakouts can cause further trauma to the skin – and the kind of mark left behind can be superficial or deep. Using effective acne treatments and maintaining a consistent skincare routine can help to prevent breakouts and keep post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation at bay.
3. Use sunscreen daily
Dark spots and pigmented skin patches can turn darker or become more pronounced when the skin is exposed to the sun. Melanin absorbs the sun’s harmful UV rays to protect the skin from overexposure. Prevent sun-induced discolouration by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or greater daily. Additionally, the use of chemical exfoliants can cause your skin to be sun-sensitive. Thus, with proper sun protection, you can prevent your current spots from darkening.
4. Focus on skin brightening ingredients
There have been studies that suggest some ingredients, such as Vitamin C and E, alpha arbutin and niacinamide can visibly brighten the complexion for a more even skin tone. Some spot-treating agents can also be paired together to help speed up cell turnover and fade hyperpigmentation.
Aside from topical treatments, there are also oral supplements, such as Crystal Tomato, which can improve skin tone and help in removing pigmentation. Available in Aesthetic Central Clinic, this natural supplement has been proven effective in a clinical trial conducted in Singapore’s National Skin Centre. Made from non-genetically modified white tomatoes, Crystal Tomato also contains amino acid L-Cysteine to help collagen formation and promote healthy skin.
5. Get professional aesthetic treatments
The key to treating hyperpigmentation is the sooner it is done, the easier it will be to remove it. Otherwise, it can become more stubborn to erase and take a longer time to fade away. But thanks to current technologies today, there are aesthetic treatments that can address pigmentation effectively.
The Tri-Beam Q-switch laser utilizes 20Hz of 2 laser pulse energy to create a photoacoustic effect on the pigmentation and release it into your skin so it can be naturally eliminated by the body. The unique technology of Tri-Beam is also able to minimize any damages on the epidermis, with zero pain level and downtime. It targets melasma and other lesions in the dermis area, and also provides overall skin rejuvenation of skin lifting and reducing large pores.
Another laser that can be used for pigmentation and acne scar treatment is the Edge Fractional CO2 laser. Small, precise laser beams are delivered to the treated areas, thus stimulating re-epithelialization and cell turnover in the skin’s deeper layers. This helps to remove pigmentation and encourage collagen production to lighten dark spots and acne scars.