Tuesday, 03 March 2020 09:58

Three Essential Ingredients for Treating Acne with Hyperpigmentation

Written by   Sara Fulton

Hyperpigmentation and acne are partners in crime. Inflammation from acne lesions triggers the skin’s protective melanin response, which results in aggravating dark spots that remain long after the pimples vanish. While post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can have other sources, like lasers, microdermabrasion, scratches, or bug bites it is most often associated with the inflammation caused by acne.

 

Because acne inflammation fuels hyperpigmentation, the emphasis needs to be on clearing the acne first when treating both concerns. This sounds simple enough but remember that some of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients can also be some of the more irritating.

 

For sensitive skin or ethnic skin, which can be more prone to hyperpigmentation because of its higher concentration of melanin, quick-penetrating agents like benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid may trigger an inflammatory response. Gentler ingredients are called for, but they must still contain the properties necessary for effectively clearing acne. There are three ingredients that when used together provide the perfect cocktail for clarity and a consistent tone.

 

VITAMIN A

 

Vitamin A accelerates cell turnover, a critical part of treating either acne or hyperpigmentation, so this antioxidant cell-regenerator is the foundation of a treatment. Increasing the rate of cell turnover helps peel acne impactions and clear pores, thereby encouraging the skin to clear quicker. The increased cell turnover also aids in fading hyperpigmentation by removing surface-level pigment and drawing melanin deposits from deeper in the skin to the surface for exfoliation.

 

There are different forms of vitamin A and many products use vitamin A palmitate. This form of vitamin A has a large molecular structure that keeps it from reaching the deeper levels of the skin and, therefore, limits its effectiveness. Skin care professionals should look for vitamin A propionate, which has a smaller molecular structure closer to that of prescription Retin-A. Vitamin A propionate mimics the results of its prescription counterpart without the potentially triggering irritation. 

 

MANDELIC ACID

 

An acid component is essential for treating both acne and hyperpigmentation. The acid loosens and lifts dead skin cells to unclog pores and speed desquamation. Mandelic acid stands above the rest with its multiple benefits and gentle action. Mandelic acid is a high-performance, multi-tasker that targets discoloration and acne with excellent results and minimal irritation. Its larger molecular size means it is absorbed slowly into the skin and minimizing the risk of irritation. But mandelic goes a step further, blocking the formation of new pigment by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin production, so what it might lack in speed, mandelic acid makes up for in-depth. For treating discoloration, no acid can match mandelic’s brightening ability.

 

For acne, mandelic acid still has more to offer. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, so it kills acne bacteria to clear existing blemishes and prevent future breakouts. It also reduces the inflammation that would otherwise result in the dark marks of hyperpigmentation. Mandelic acid has proven to be highly effective in fading excess pigmentation in all skin types, but especially in darker skin tones.

 

VITAMIN C

 

Ultraviolet light exposure aggravates both hyperpigmentation and acne. It ignites inflammation and melanin production, creating a vicious cycle of cause and response. Vitamin C is a multi-factorial solution and an inhibitor of melanin production. Vitamin C also boosts the body’s store of glutathione, a potent antioxidant that regulates tyrosinase activity. Vitamin C’s mildly exfoliating properties increase cell turnover to help remove excess pigment from the skin surface. An antioxidant warrior, vitamin C protects from ultraviolet damage and fights the free radicals that worsen dark spots. When Vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, the photoprotective benefits are magnified.

 

The dark spots caused by acne can be challenging to treat. The best course is always preventive. These three powerhouse ingredients give skin care professionals the tools they need to stay ahead of inflammation, defend against acne bacteria and ultraviolet light exposure, and lift pigmentation to achieve a client’s clearest texture and brightest tone possible. 

 

Hyperpigmentation and acne are partners in crime. Inflammation from acne lesions triggers the skin’s protective melanin response, which results in aggravating dark spots that remain long after the pimples vanish. While post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can have other sources, like lasers, microdermabrasion, scratches, or bug bites it is most often associated with the inflammation caused by acne.

 

Because acne inflammation fuels hyperpigmentation, the emphasis needs to be on clearing the acne first when treating both concerns. This sounds simple enough but remember that some of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients can also be some of the more irritating.

 

For sensitive skin or ethnic skin, which can be more prone to hyperpigmentation because of its higher concentration of melanin, quick-penetrating agents like benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid may trigger an inflammatory response. Gentler ingredients are called for, but they must still contain the properties necessary for effectively clearing acne. There are three ingredients that when used together provide the perfect cocktail for clarity and a consistent tone.

 

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Sara Fulton was the co-founder and president of Vivant Skin Care. 

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