By: Alexis Atkins
Achieving flawless skin is not impossible but the added frustration of fading dark marks can sure make it feel that way.
Whether you popped, picked or patiently waited for a pimple to dry out the “right” way, it has inevitably left a stubborn scar in its place. Not only is the scar ruining your clear skin goals, but it seems like there isn’t a product out there that works to fade your hyperpigmentation fast enough.
In this post, we are going to breakdown what dark marks are and how to fade them with non-toxic products.
What Are Dark Marks?
Dark marks – also commonly known as hyperpigmentation – are harmless light brown or dark brown spots of discoloration typically caused by some sort of skin irritation. These irritations can include inflammation from acne, excess UV light exposure or environmental stressors.
In response to the harsh irritants, the skin cells’ pigment deepens to protect the skin from further damage. The protective dark marks that form are flat circular shapes and mimic the regular texture of your skin. They can be found anywhere on the body but are commonly found on the back, face, and chest. Although dark marks can fade on their own, some spots can last anywhere from three months to one year.
It’s also important to keep in mind, that although dark marks may look similar person to person, the skin’s response to treatment can differ. It’s always a good idea to check with a dermatologist or esthetician that specializes in hyperpigmentation solutions if your current skincare routine isn’t giving you the glowing results that you are after.
What Ingredients To Look For?
Most skincare professionals will recommend a lightening or bleaching creams to speed the fading process. In many cases, this can be problematic for melanated skin tones because the creams have a tendency to lighten the skin around the dark marks as well as making uneven complexions worse. Not to mention that many of these creams are filled with harsh chemicals.
Luckily, there are toxic-free options that target dark marks by using natural ingredients. When shopping for all-natural products that treat hyperpigmentation, you want to look for ones that include antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory and have natural de-pigmentation properties.
Antioxidant: Antioxidants are like huge hugs for our skin. They protect against free radical damage, aging, heal sun-damaged skin, minimizes the appearance of scars and protect against skin cancer. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea are some skin nourishing examples of hyperpigmentation-healing antioxidants.
Anti-inflammatory: Anti-inflammatory products are great not only for dark marks but for active acne as well because it will reduce any redness or swollenness. Turmeric, white willow bark, and aloe vera are examples of non-toxic anti-inflammatory ingredients.
De-pigmentation: De-pigmentation or lightening properties can be naturally found in plant-based ingredients. Aloe vera is one of the most common examples of lightening ingredient found in nature. It has aloin, which is a depigmentation compound that works well to lighten dark spots with harmful additives or chemicals.
What Should Your Skincare Routine Look Like?
An ideal dark spot skincare routine should include three steps: cleansing, treating, hydrating.
First, you want to clean your skin and remove any bacteria, makeup and dirt from the day. This step is essential to obtaining even-toned flawless skin because it’s going to remove all of the grime so that the healing ingredients in the treatment step can actually penetrate your skin.
A great hyperpigmentation-friendly face wash is CHAE’s The Glow Cleanser. This Moroccan Beldi Cleanser is an argan oil-based facial cleanser. Argan oil is chock full of amazing antioxidants like vitamin E to aid in healing dark mark scarring. Additionally, The Glow is naturally formulated to minimize the appearance of fine lines, even skin tone, encourage cell turnover rate and boost collagen production.
Following a fresh wash, it’s important to tone your skin. Toning rebalances the pH of your skin, clears away any dirt you may have missed when washing your face and is great at controlling acne. Marla Rene’s Kakadu Plum Hydrosol is an alcohol-free toner that also works to treat existing dark marks. Its key ingredients include Kakadu Plum Extract, Tumeric Extract, and Hibiscus Extract. Both the Kakadu Plum and Hibiscus extracts are packed with vitamin C which is known to brighten skin, offset signs of aging and improve skin circulation. The turmeric extract has the potential to fade dark marks and give an overall healthy glow to the skin.
Last but not least, follow up with a gentle moisturizer like NaturalAnnie Essentials’ Soothing Aloe Vera Face Gel. There really isn't much that aloe vera can’t do especially with this face gel. Aloe vera is full of vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E that provide your skin with the nutrients it needs. This face gel will not leave you greasy or sticky. Instead, it will encourage cell turnover as it naturally heals hyperpigmentation. The best part is that this moisturizing gel is only comprised of two plant-based ingredients (aloe vera, essential oils). You won't find any of those harmful parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances in this face gel!
How Do You Maintain Your Results?
The most important step for healing dark marks is the maintenance phase. Taking care of your skin is a form of self-care which means it needs consistent check-ins to ensure that the products you are using are actually working.
In addition to perfecting your routine, keep these tips in mind as general rules of thumb:
- Avoid touching or picking at your dark marks. Touching runs the risk of causing acne which can scar. Picking at acne or dark marks irritates the skin causing more marks and consequently more scaring.
- Consistency is key. Combating dark marks requires daily treatment. Make your skincare a habit and you’ll start to see results in no time.
- Wear sunscreen! Sunscreen protects hyperpigmentation from darkening from UV light. Apply sunscreen every day, rain or shine, to ensure that you are protecting your skin from environmental damage.
- Be patient with your skin. As mentioned earlier, all skin is different. This is the same with dark marks. Some marks may fade faster than others but it’s important to be patient and the marks fade on their own time.
Looking to transition your entire skincare to non-toxic products? Check out the BLK + GRN marketplace for more cleansers, toners and face masks.