Battling Blemish Marks
Today : A one-stop edit of the BEST acne mark fading products, compiled by moi! (Readers, this one's been a long time in the making...)
Scarring and marking is a big big issue for anyone who has suffered from acne or blemish-prone skin, and is personally one of the biggest skincare issues I've had to tackle. I suffered from mild acne during my teens which didn't scar much at all, but a few years ago I suffered a really bad break-out in reaction to a product. Whereas my teen acne was predominantly focussed across my T-zone, this reaction caused me to break out on my cheeks, chin, and temples. The breakout didn't last long, but the marks did.
Until this point I'd relied heavily upon the beauty blogging world as the answer to all of my skincare woes. However, (bearing in mind the HUGE number of guides to getting rid of spots/acne), I was surprised to find that features focussing on scarring and marking were few and far between. So I decided to create my own - it's taken over a year, hours of reading, and a LOT of product testing, but by way of trial and error I'm finally able to reveal to you the BEST blemish mark fading products out there.
What a lot of people don't realise is that there is a difference between blemish scars and blemish marks. The former has an effect upon the texture of the skin, whereas the latter (which I suffered from) are areas of discolouration only (usually flat pink marks) which do not effect the texture of the skin. You can read more about this here. They are both addressed in very different ways, and if you have acne scars then a chemical peel or laser removal at the hand of a dermatologist is probably your best option. Marks however, can be treated yourself as they are essentially just the remnants of an inflamed acne blemish. With good products and a consistent routine you can expect to say goodbye to your blemish marks and hello to flawless skin in around six months.
The Exfoliant Amongst the first ingredients to look for if you're trying to fade blemish marks are AHAs and BHAs. These chemical exfoliants dissolve the top/dead layers of your skin and encourage cell production in order to reveal the brighter, healthier skin beneath. Scars are darkest on the top layer of skin so for each layer removed, the scar will fade a little more. Murad's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser* contains these in abundance. It's formula of jojoba beads, and glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids is by far the best I've used, and is super gentle, but leaves my skin looking instantly clearer and brighter, and faded my marks within a matter of weeks.
The Toner The Pixi Glow Tonic is a cult favourite amongst beauty bloggers and skincare junkies, and with good reason. It's AHA heavy so works in a similar process to the above but is gentle enough to use on a twice daily basis. Don't expect immediate results, but after a few weeks you'll find your skin tone looking noticeably more even and clear. I was initially sceptical, but I'm now 100% hooked.
The Moisturiser It's tempting to simply layer on the chemical exfoliants and hope for the best, but one of the key steps to fading marks is maintaining a good level of moisture and hydration. Healthy hydrated skin has a much faster cell renewal so marks will fade faster. For a 2-in-1 boost of skincare goodness, opt for the Raccine Ultimate Aqua Blanc Boost*. Raccine are a highly technological Korean skincare brand, new to the UK and backed by a rigorous process of scientific research. As well as moisturising and hydrating the skin, this light gel-cream works to fade dark spots and diminish excess pigmentation.
The Serum I would recommend Hydraluron for any and every skincare concern, because of its unique ability to intensify the qualities of any oils, serums, and creams applied on top of it. This light, clear gel contains a pure form of hyaluronic acid - one molecule of which can attract up to 1000 times its weight in water. I noticed its effects within a week of use - it really really helps to speed up the fading process.
The Oil Rosehip oil is a natural scar-healer (used in hospitals to heal burns), packed with fatty acids and vitamins which reduce hyper-pigmentation and redness. The widely available Trilogy Rosehip Oil is a personal favourite of mine as it contains a pure organic extract - perfect for those with sensitive skin.
The Mask I use face masks 2-3 times a week, and over the past few months, one of these has always been the Raccine Gentle Refining Scrub Mask*. This do-it-all hero product works to remove dead skin cells with both chemical and manual exfoliants. When it comes to masks my skin is FUSSY, but this is super super gentle and leaves my skin feeling calmed and soothed, despite the exfoliation.
The Treatment Everyone's favourite blemish treatment underwent a revamp at the beginning of the year which saw it born anew as a blemish mark fader extraordinaire. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo + is my all time favourite preventative spot treatment and had a noticeable effect upon my blemish marks within weeks. If you only buy one product on this list, let it be this one.
The SPF My top tip to all blemish mark/scar sufferers out there: wear SPF. UV rays stimulate the melanin cells within our skin, making scars darker and redder for longer. A high SPF such as Eve Lom's Daily Protection SPF 50 will protect your skin from UV rays and allow your scars to heal and recover without incurring further damage.
I'd love to know which products you use to fade blemish marks, and if you have any questions - ask away!