‘skin whitening’ Category

Skin Whitening & Acne

Chronic acne leaves some nasty acute scars and blemishes. Can whitening products fade this scarring? Pigmentations left from scars are very different from those of freckles; most acne scars are apparent and very superficial, while freckles are formed on a deep layer of skin.

Whether skin whiteners work depends on the type of acne the scar was formed by. Types of acne include closed comedo (whitehead), open comedo (blackhead), papule, pustule, cyst, or acne conglobata (on back, buttocks, and chest), and each type has a different type of scarring effect.

The two main categories of acne are inflammatory and noninflammatory acne. Noninflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads, primarily differentiated by where the clogged pore is located. If it’s below the surface of the skin, it’s a whitehead, showing on the skin as small, whitish bumps. They are caused by an imbalance of oil and moisture on the skin, and tend to occur on dehydrated skin where oil is overactive in compensation for the lack of moisture in the skin. In the blackhead, the clogged pore has broken the surface of the skin. The dark appearance is caused by melanin, not dirt. Regular exfoliation will ease melanin buildup and reduce the appearance of blackheads.

Inflammatory acne is different; instead of a simple clogged pore, it’s caused by an inflammation in reaction to invasive bacteria. Papules are small, firm pink bumps, and are the mildest form. Pustules are small round lesions and clearly contain pus; they’re red at the base with a yellowish or whitish center. Nodules or cysts are large, painful, inflamed, pus-filled lesions deep within the skin. They may harden into a deep cyst, and can leave deep, hard-to-remove scars. 

Acne conglobata is rarer, but more serious. It involves pustules and nodules developing on the back, buttocks, and chest, and may be complicated by severe bacterial infection.

Acne can leave behind scarring including ice pick scars (deep pits), box car scars (similar to chicken pox), rolling craters (cratered like the moon – General Noriega had scars like this), or hypertrophic scars (rubbery, dark red, firm, often confused with scars from a  burn victim).

You may be more fortunate and get macules, or pseudoscars, which are flat, reddish spots that may remain up to six months. It will disappear with no trace, unlike a scar, and regular exfoliation will improve its appearance and speed its disappearance.

Post-inflammatory pigmentation is the discoloration of skin where a lesion healed or is healing. Some of this may last up to 18 months, particularly with sun exposure. This is the most frequent type of scarring for an acne sufferer.

Whitening products suppress melanin production and treat skin discolorations caused by an imbalance in melanin production. Scars changing the surface of the skin rather than the color (like icepick or rolling scars) cannot be treated with whitening products. Instead, whitening product fade post-nflammatory pigmentation, though not as effectively as they fade freckles.

Acne sufferers think whitening products will help. But for many, the root of the problem of acne as well as scarring is dehydration or skin dryness. Whitening only helps post-inflammatory pigmentation, or macules once they’ve occurred. Your oil/moisture is still imbalanced. First you must fix the imbalance. Afterward, you can work on repairing the scars.

Serums and essences can help achieve that balance by penetrating deep into your skin, unlike ordinary moisturizers. Regular use helps you obtain an optimum balance of oil and moisture. And as skin is hydrated, skin cells damaged by acne will be repaired. Ultimately, the top layer of damaged cells will slough off; if the cells beneath are properly hydrated, you’ll see a decrease in acne.

Once the balance has been achieved, you need to repair the damage. For scarring, exfoliation is your best bet. Start with peel-off masks and scrubs to exfoliate dead skin and sebum, and minimize the appearance of post-inflammatory pigmentation or macules.

If your acne does not improve, it may be hormonal. For this, you should see a doctor. And if your scars are very severe, you may have to see a doctor to get a chemical peel.

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