Dark Spots From Pimple
A lot of things can trigger dark spots, from pimples to a wound or certain skin irritations and so on. Even hormonal imbalance can cause dark spots.
The most common of all these being pimples, if there’s one thing I dread the most is my pimple leaving a mark once it heals. Sometimes no matter how hard I try not to pick at it, it still leaves a dark spot in its wake. I know I’m definitely not the only one with this issue, and we all know lightening dark spot is harder than ridding the actual pimple.
In another post, I talked about hyperpigmentation due to sun damage. On this one, I’d be focusing on pimple dark spots.
How long will it take to clear?
Although my face has cleared quite a lot I’m no stranger to dark spots and I still have a few to deal with. Dark spots can take 6 – 12 months to clear up completely. If you did a lot of picking or the spot goes a lot deeper then we’re talking maybe 2 years or more to fully fade.
So, whatever method you chose to get rid of your spots, give it at least 6 months to fully see changes.
Step 1 Sunscreen
The first step to dealing with any form of hyperpigmentation whatsoever is sunscreen! UV rays can really worsen those spots and make them a lot more difficult to get rid of. In addition to this, most ingredients known to lighten dark spots such as Vitamin C and Retinoids, make your skin photosensitive. That is your skin gets extremely sensitive to the sun, this is all shades of wrong and counterproductive. I explained this more here.
Hence to avoid toiling in vain or wasting you hard-earned money, please apply sunscreen. Don’t be shy, there nothing like too much sunscreen. Have it in your bag and apply to exposed skin every 2 hours.
This should be a no-brainer to be honest, but a lot of people still miss this. Exfoliation is the process of removing the dead skin cells, it’s also effectively clearing your pores.
By exfoliating regularly, you’re not only preventing further pimples but you’re also aiding cell turn over. This in turns speeds up the fading process of those dark spots. When you properly exfoliate your skin, you also make it easier for your skin to absorb the ingredients you’ll be feeding it to lighten the spots.
You can choose to use a physical exfoliant or chemical exfoliant, whichever works for you. Just ensure it isn’t too harsh. Look out for chemical exfoliators with ingredients like Salicylic acid, Lactic acid and Glycolic Acid.
Ingredients to Use
Now that we have outlined the important things (SUNSCREEN AND EXFOLIATION), let’s talk ingredients.
Dark spots are caused by overproduction of melanin in certain areas of our skin. This overproduction arises after a pimple or wound has healed up. Picking your pimple turns it to a wound btw.
Knowing this, we now have to select products that can properly curb the melanin over-production. I’ll be highlighting key ingredients that greatly aid in fading dark spots, make sure one or more of these ingredients are listed among the first five on the ingredient label.
If it’s not among or close to the top 5, trust me when I say you’ll be getting nothing from that product.
Some of these ingredients include;
- Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
- Retinoid (Retinol, tazarotene, etc.)
- Kojic Acid
- Azelaic Acid
- Licorice Extract
- Glycolic Acid
- 2% Hydroquinone (This is a very controversial ingredient and I strongly disapprove over the counter application. You’d be safer if a product containing this was prescribed by a dermatologist, I’ll explain more soon.)
These are ideal ingredients you should find in a product aimed at lightening dark spots. Again, they should be the main or active ingredient (first 3/5 listed) to actually work.
If you’re going for a more natural approach to your spots here are more ingredients that could really help as well.
- Rosehip Oil
- Papaya Extract
- Pomegranate extract
- Sunflower Oil
- Grapeseed Extract
- Carrot Extract
Combine these as a DIY face pack/mask or oil extract and give your skin time.
See a dermatologist or Certified Esthetician
If you’ve gotten to the point of severe black spots and you honestly feel you can’t handle it on your own anymore, it’s time to see a professional.
A dermatologist would properly analyze your skin condition and prescribe medical treatments for you to try. You could also consult a certified esthetician for an intensive/clinical procedure.
It’s also advisable to consult a dermatologist before trying any product or treatment in the first place.
What you don’t want to use
According to WHO, Mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health and as a result have been banned in many countries. Even in some countries where such products have been banned (Including Nigeria), they are still advertised and available to consumers via the Internet and other means.
Although no producer will want to list mercury on its product label, you’d be safer to avoid cheap bleaching creams with promises of white skin within 7 days. Most of these creams contain mercury, you can also find it in a few medicated soaps. Click here to learn more.
I included this in my list of things that shouldn’t be used for skin care. Hydrogen peroxide is an acid used as a disinfectant for certain tools and surfaces. Some people use it to bleach hair as well.
In terms of skin, hydrogen peroxide can be used to treat minor bruises and cuts. Despite all this, it is in no way a safe or effective skincare product. Use of hydrogen peroxide can lead to:
- Eczema, etc.
Steroids are a popular skin lightening agent, although not the safest route, companies are sometimes guilty of sneaking troubling amount of corticosteroids into creams with the promise of rapid whitening.
The most common place to find very strong steroids in Nigeria is in Triple Action creams, such as Skinneal, Funbact a and Neoskin. This is why you might see some people mixing TACs into their normal moisturizers.
I wouldn’t completely dismiss the idea of TACs as we might need them for certain skin conditions but regular use for cosmetic purpose is a no-no. In many countries, strong topical corticosteroids are regulated such as the kind we see everywhere in Nigeria, and can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Check this post for a deeper explanation!
Now I know I’m confusing you right now. In this post, I listed it as the bad boys. And earlier here I recommended 2% to fade spots and now I’m saying you don’t need it. But just chill let me explain.
First, as I said earlier, this is a VERY controversial ingredient and you’re safer without it. But if you have severe hyperpigmentation, your dermatologist will most likely prescribe this to you first.
Secondly (this should have been first), Hydroquinone is in fact banned in Nigeria alongside Mercury. At first, NAFDAC allowed 2% but later reduced it to 1% until it was completely banned. This was due to some company’s reluctance to comply with guidelines. Although it’s still available everywhere (Lmao Nigeria, my country). I’ll be going further into this soon
Hydroquinone is arguably the strongest ‘bleaching agent’. Notice I didn’t say lightening. This is full-on bleaching people. It works by decreasing the number of melanocytes present, melanocytes are responsible for the production of melanin.
Hydroquinone shouldn’t be used for over 3 months. You’d want to avoid hydroquinone completely if you have dry or sensitive skin.
If you decide to go ahead with it, the only cream containing hydroquinone (2%) I can recommend that is safe and works is the Ambi Fade Cream! Again, avoid it completely if you have dry or sensitive skin (plus it’s technically banned in Nigeria). I found another highly recommended (healthline.com) one but I haven’t used it or personally seen anyone use it!! Admire My Skin Brightening Serum, it’s loaded with 2% Hydroquinone, Salicylic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Vitamin C, etc.
With that said, be extremely cautious with Hydroquinone and limit it to only night use.
As with any skin lightening or dark spot removal product, you have to follow certain guidelines religiously…
- Don’t skimp on Sunscreen! It’s a Plea.
Ingredients like Vitamin C, Papaya extract, Carrot extract, Hydroquinone (if you choose to use) can make your skin extremely photosensitive.
- Dark Spot treatment is best at night or after work/school.
You do not want to apply Ascorbic acid or Retinoids and head into the sun.
- Pick spot removal products wisely
Pay close attention to the ingredient label and if it doesn’t have one, or it isn’t detailed, do not buy it.
- Do a patch test
If you’re using a new product, do a patch test to see how your skin reacts before slathering it on.
- Don’t skip sunscreen. You’ll be wasting your money.
- Start small!
I know you’re eager to get clear skin, but it’s best you start small with certain products. You don’t know how much your skin can take, start with a tiny quantity and over time increase it when you feel your baby (your skin) is comfortable with it.
- Wash your hands
To avoid skin irritation of any sort, wash your hands after applying. I’ll stress this more for those that decide to use hydroquinone, wash your hands!
Use tea tree oil and other ingredients to prevent further blemishes.
- Again! Don’t skimp on sunscreen!
- Give your skin a break!
If you do decide to use hydroquinone, give your skin 3 months break or more. This is to avoid dependency and side-effects due to long-term use.
- Moisturize or oil your skin effectively after application.
- Be patient!
Finally, it all comes down to you and your skin, all these treatments are proven to work. Some people swear by them and that same thing they swear by might not work for you. Experiment with a few products, make wise and insightful choices (I’m here to help 😉), and most importantly give your skin time.
I hope to hear from you. Success stories, past experiences, lessons learned and the lot. Drop a comment 😄