Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions when dealing with hyperpigmentation and scarring. Thank you for always sending in your questions that keep my blog posts interesting!
What kinds of dark spots form on our face? How do they typically get there?
Dark spots tend to look similar, but they happen for a variety of reasons, such as, acne, cuts, burns, or abrasions. They can result from something as simple as tweezing hairs and lightly scratching the skin’s surface or a pimple. Dark spots are caused by the overproduction of melanin by melanocytes. Any sort of inflammation affecting melanocytes, along with hormonal changes, can cause hyperpigmented spots. Hyperpigmentation can include sun spots, melasma, and lentigines. Some of us are more genetically predisposed to developing these conditions.
How Should You Deal With Skin Conditions That Cause Scarring?
These issues are much tougher to deal with. If someone has been diagnosed by a dermatologist with a specific skin condition, then it is up to the individual to decide if they want to treat the symptoms with prescription medication or alternative therapies. Personally, I like hearing what physicians say; however, I take that information and, when possible, look for alternative therapies. For example, I use a homeopath that looks for the root cause of the issue. If prescribed, I take a homeopathic remedy, internally, and treat the affected area, externally, with Calendula Cream or my Cherry-O Balm. I also wrote a post called Is Vitamin E a Miracle Cure For Reducing Scars that you may want to check out.
My belief is that if you have a skin condition and suppress the skin’s inflammatory response with a corticosteroid you are not solving the root cause, only suppressing the symptom. For example, applying steroid creams to treat an itch only hides the symptoms; it does not solve the underlying problem.
For those dealing with hyperpigmentation and scarring, what are some preventative measures and products that can be used regularly?
SPF is number one. This helps stop continued damage to the area from UV rays. For prevention, exfoliating regularly with lactic or salicylic acid is a great way to continually encourage cell turnover. As we age, our natural cellular turnover process slows down, so it’s important to use acids and scrubs to dissolve the old cells and make room for the new ones. This activity will help to prevent and treat spots.
What kinds of exfoliation are good for dark spots?
I like to approach dark spots with various methods. Exfoliation can be manual, such as granular scrubs, cleansing brushes, silicone scrubbers, or you can use acids. If someone has a spot and suffers from oily skin and acne, I typically recommend salicylic acid. If the spot is from sun damage or it’s an old scar, I tend to use lactic acid or a blend of the two.
I strongly recommend the Adios Ingrown Hair and Razor Burn Tonic with salicylic and glycolic acids. Its custom blend alpha hydroxy acid and other wonderful ingredients make it surprisingly effective. If the spot is from sun damage or it’s an old scar, I tend to use lactic acid or a blend of acids.
In most cases, when dealing with hyperpigmentation and scarring, I prefer using chemical exfoliants (alpha hydroxy acids) rather than physical, scrub-based exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants are often easier to control and have a more uniform effect. For optimal results, visit a trusted skin care professional who has in experience with treating hyperpigmentation.
Keloids are another form of scarring and you can read my previous post named How to Prevent and Deal with keloids.