Pimples suck, we can all agree on that. But active pimples get quite a barrage of hate when it’s the pimple scars we’re stuck with and learn to despise. Even worse, dark spots form (seemingly) out of nowhere, blemishing our perfect complexion, and never disappear. But don’t worry! This ultimate guide is here to literally save face - yours and anyone else’s who suffers from acne and dark spots - complete with a dive into the science behind these blemishes, preventative measures, and healing skincare ingredients!
Let’s take a look into how overdue pimples create scars in the first place. Usually, we’re left with scars on our body after painfully scraping a knee or getting stitches. A pimple is just a miniature bump created by oil and moisture buildup in one of 5 million itty bitty hair follicles all over your body, so how does it leave such a jarring scar? Well, when a pimple is burst, the normal tissue is destroyed and replaced by something called fibrous tissue. Too much production of tissue creates a keloid or hypertrophic scar, and a lack of tissue healing can cause a depression in the skin or an atrophic scar. All these scientific terms may be a bit confusing to grasp, yet they all refer to one main point; when you pop a pimple, your damaged skin is susceptible to further inflammation, disrupting the natural healing process and causing abnormal pigmentation and texture, also known as a pimple scar.
If your pimple doesn’t scar after it’s healed, you may consider yourself lucky. However, your skin, and especially the skin attempting to heal over your past pimples, is still vulnerable. Another obnoxious type of skin blemishes are dark spots. If you’ve ever noticed that random sections of your skin are a different tone, sometimes even a different shade altogether, you know dark spots all too well. They discolor patches of skin where pigment cells are overactive or melanin is overproduced and therefore clumped. Your skin isn’t just going haywire on its own - the production of melanin is sped up by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Remember: continuous, damaging ultraviolet exposure causes these disparate spots on your skin, even when the sun isn’t shining brightly.
There are hundreds of amazing products containing skin-healing ingredients that prevent or even get rid of acne scars and dark spots, but before we get into that here are some basic skin well-being methods to avoid damaging your skin or allowing dead skin build-up.
Whether we like it or not, sunscreen is vital in managing a healthy and even skin tone. People often complain that sunscreen doesn’t work for them because they still get a sunburn. Although sunscreen may still leave you red as a tomato after a day on the beach, it protects you from harmful ultraviolet rays that cause uneven healing of damaged tissue (pimple scars) and discoloration (dark spots).
Some skin products have high concentrations of unregulated artificial ingredients, most often preservatives. These chemicals can irritate your skin, are often linked to birth defects and/or cancer, and can even disrupt your body’s endocrine system. Choose your skincare products wisely and make sure they have natural, non-toxic ingredients. Check out our recommendations for natural cleansers that are actually good for your skin here!
Known as one of the most basic methods to cool down a burning pimple, ice cubes can be held to your new, irritating blemish to prevent a pimple from festering as destructively. The effectiveness of this treatment highly depends on your skin type; it works for some, doesn’t for others, but it never hurts to try just in case you’re able to make a budding pimple disappear before it even begins showing its colors.
Most often, sunscreen, facial cleansers, and a good old ice cube, though essential preventative measures, still let a pimple scar or a discolored spot form on your skin. The following natural skincare ingredients—Vitamin C, Tea Tree Oil, Retinol and Vitamin E—are scientifically proven to heal acne scars and dark spots, containing powerful healing properties that pack a punch with every application!
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for balanced diets due to its tissue-repairing properties, yet it can be used for outer-body purposes as well.Clinical studies have proven that when the ascorbic acid and ascorbate, components of Vitamin C, are applied to your skin, they create collagen. Collagen is a protein responsible for maintaining your skin’s structure by protecting skin-firming fibers - such as elastin - and rehabilitating damaged skin. Skincare products that contain Vitamin C tend to be gentle, soothing serums that promise a “radiant glow” - after all, Vitamin C can tighten your pores, reduce redness, fade fine lines, and simply brighten your complexion.
Paradox’s Vitamin C Serum goes above and beyond; this pure solution is formulated with squalene, a natural, organic compound that serves as an excellent hydrator to maintain dermal suppleness. Try this product out for yourselfhere.
Next on our list of magical blemish-erasing ingredients is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is infamous on Pinterest, beauty blogs, and in skincare products for its strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, the oil effectively reduces redness and swelling around skin wounds, especially pimples. Read more about the science behind this miracle ingredient in this clinical study where tea tree oil visibly reduced pimple size and intensity.
Paradox’s Lucky Star Blemish Patches are crafted using not only tea tree oil, but calendula oil and hydrocolloids as well to make the perfect, trendy, and effective pimple patch we all need. Tea tree oil alone prevents skin infection and accelerates healing — combined with calendula oil (having strong antibacterial properties) and hydrocolloids (moisture-retentive agents that create a protective gel that reduces pain and repairs skin), our blemish patches powerfully combat growing pimples while avoiding skin disparities. Get your own Lucky Stars here, and your problems - or at least just your pimples - will disappear overnight!
More commonly known as Vitamin A, retinol is a surprisingly versatile compound. It containsretinoids, agents that increase the production of collagen and stimulate the production of new blood vessels within the skin. Collagen, as mentioned previously, is a structural protein that maintains the health of skin fibers. Thus, increased production reduces fine lines and wrinkles as well as softening rough patches of skin, which are simply unavoidable skin ailments that occur with age. In addition, by fostering the production of new blood vessels, retinol improves skin color and tone as well as fading dark spots (even the persistent ones that remained unchanged for years).
Blended with pure retinol, Paradox’s Retinol Serum also contains fermented green tea, jojoba, wheat germ, and hyaluronic. The remaining ingredients amplify the absorption of the serum to soothe stressed skin and act as deep, natural hydrators. Get your very own must-have retinol serumhere.
Last but not least, we have yet another vitamin for our list of scar-preventing skincare ingredients! Vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it protects against free radical damage (reverses the process of aging skin) and serves as an anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling and redness). It also influences the arrangement and formation of collagen fibers, making it essential for the restoration of healthy skin over pimple scars, and safeguards skin from sun damage, the most damaging cause of dark spots. In fact, a study included in Nutrition and Cancer revealed that topical use of Vitamin E was able to reduceboth acute and chronic skin damage from UV light exposure.
Although direct application of this stimulating oil in its pure form works best to prevent acne scars, Paradox’s Marrakech Liquid Gold allows you to apply a hydrating blend of oils and vitamins (including Vitamin E) in one smooth go for an all-inclusive step in your skincare routine! Check it out here.
The most important point to remember when eradicating acne scars and dark spots is that natural treatment takes time, and results may vary based on your skin type. Sure, you could cut some corners and instantly perfect your skin with laser treatment, scar fillers, or steroid injections, but these procedures leave residual scarring and damage, not to mention the hefty price! Your best bet is to incorporate one or more of these blemish-treating products into your daily skincare regimen and continue to follow natural, healthy practices - in just a few weeks, you’ll be basking in your skin’s newfound radiant glow!
If you learned something new from this guide about preventing acne scars and dark spots, we hope you’ll enjoy our other skincare guides, including this Guide to Dehydrated Skin, Guide to Skin Texture, and Guide to Fungal Acne. Let us know what you think in the comments below and be sure to follow us @paradox on Instagram and Pinterest for more skincare content!
Not sure if retinol is worth the hype? Learn the benefits of retinol as well as pro tips on how to pick which retinol product is right for you. Add retinol to your nightly routine and start your journey to smoother skin!