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How To Get Rid Of Acne Marks Quickly and Easily

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A breakout can be one of the most stressful episodes that many of us may have to deal with at some point in our lives. Acne marks, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), that may follow after a particularly angsty outbreak is like an extension of the agony which we’ve to face. As the Chinese adage goes “knowing your enemies is half the battle won”. Let’s take a look at how acne marks form before learning how to choose the right skincare products to deal with them.

How acne marks happen

There are several ways that an acne episode can leave its mark.

1. Pimple popping or broken blood vessels

The marks left behind after a pimple has dried up and healed are caused by a disruption in the skin’s natural healing process. When the skin opens up and closes such as when you pop your pimples, marks that are of a different colour from the rest of your face may appear.

Sometimes pimples can also form when the squeezing of a pimple punctures tiny blood vessels on the face. This subsequently leaves a mark after the acne heals. However, if you’re able to stop yourself from probing a pimple, the acne mark that’s left on your face will fade gradually over time.

2. Your skin tone

Your facial skin colour can make a difference in the visibility of the acne marks. For people with a fairer skin tone, purple or red marks are more common but will gradually fade over the course of a few weeks. For those with darker tones, their pimples will normally leave brown marks which could take up to several months to disappear instead.

Acne marks vs. Acne scars

It’s not unusual for people to be confused between an acne mark and scar. Both acne marks and scars form when the skin’s natural healing process is disrupted.

However, following an aggressive breakout, acne scars are more likely to occur as the normal healthy tissues under the skin are destroyed, and fibrous tissues takes its place. If the pimple is a red, angry one, more tissues are destroyed which in turn triggers more fibrous tissues to be produced.

If an excessive amount of tissues are produced, a raised keloid will be formed. If too little fibrous tissues is produced, there will be a little depression in the skin.

Therefore, an acne scar is likely to form if an outbreak is very serious or if you pick at or squeeze a pimple which triggers more inflammation. A pimple scar is usually permanent damage which requires sophisticated treatments such as lasers and dermal fillers to minimize its appearance.

Acne marks, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, typically manifest as purple, red or brown marks after a pimple has healed. An acne mark is usually flat on the face and not raised like an acne scar. While an acne scar is permanent and rather difficult to make it disappear, an acne mark can fade away naturally after a period of time. You can also use readily available skincare products to expedite the healing process.

How to treat acne marks

While acne marks will fade naturally over between 3 and 6 months, you can also speed up the fading of acne marks using over-the-counter skin brighteners, topical vitamin C serums, retinoids and even: surprise, surprise, sunscreen!


Sun exposure can make acne marks even more apparent as harmful UVA and UVB sun rays will darken them. Hence, it’s important to apply sunscreen before you head out during the day.

If you worry that sticky, greasy sunscreens will induce more pimples, take a look at what Paula’s Choice sunscreens have to offer.

1) Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

One of the top favourites among our customers, this sunscreen rated SPF 30 moisturizes as it protects. Which means any existing acne marks on the face will be prevented from darkening due to sun exposure, making them easier and faster to fade off.

With its lightly tinted mineral-based formula, this sunscreen blends into your skin to give you a soft, matte finish. It also boasts anti-aging and moisturizing properties, setting it above ordinary sunscreens.

2) Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50

This SPF 50 sunscreen not only shields your acne marks from turning darker due to sun exposure, it also features a host of other skin-nourishing benefits you’ll love too. It has a blend of potent antioxidants that protects your skin from pollution and other environmental stressors. Moreover, its gentle formula makes it mild enough to be used all over the face, including the delicate eye areas.

3) Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

The airy-light texture of this sunscreen lets you use it with peace of mind without the worry of having thick, greasy sunscreen clogging your pores and triggering more pimples. Combining active sun-protecting zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are gentle enough to be used on the face to protect the skin and any existing acne marks from turning darker due to sun exposure.

Vitamin C serum

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate or by other names, is well-known for stimulating the production of collagen (the building blocks of the skin) and speeding up the healing process to fade acne marks faster.

1) Resist C15 Super Booster

This is 15% pure vitamin C in a bottle. Besides evening skin tone and acne marks, it also effectively minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Best thing is, the lightweight texture of this power booster makes it so easy for the skin to fully absorb its goodness. You can even blend a few drops into your regular moisturizer to enjoy all its beauty benefits!

2) Resist 25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment

If you want something more potent to get rid of those pesky post-acne marks faster, you’ll love this spot treatment which contains a whopping 25% vitamin C. Its patented time-release delivery system ensures that any acne marks or dark spots receive optimal absorption. Besides reducing the appearance of marks, the silky-smooth treatments also improves hydration and minimizes wrinkles.


There are many forms of Retinoids available today, both prescription strength like Retin-A (tretinoin), or more common ones found in skincare products like Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate. Retinoids are a form of vitamin A that has been proven to significantly promote collagen production – the building blocks of skin. This is why it’s added to skincare products to manage a wide range of skin concerns such as acne marks, rough skin texture, enlarged pores, fine lines, and other anti-aging concerns.

1) Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol

This moisturizer is enriched with retinol which supports collagen production to fade off acne marks faster. Besides, it also offers other skincare benefits such as improve hydration, even out skin texture and minimize signs of aging. So don’t forget to include this rich moisturizer as the last step in your night-time skincare routine.

2) Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol

This serum boasts a combination of skin-renewing antioxidants and retinol to manage conditions such as acne mark, fine lines, and uneven skin texture. You’ll love how this lightweight, silky-smooth serum is quickly absorbed into your skin!

Skin brighteners

Skin brighteners contain a mixture of vitamins to naturally hydrate, soothe and revitalize your skin to reduce the appearance of acne marks and take care of a wide range of skincare issues.

1) Resist Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment

This is a combination of vitamins and plant-based ingredients that lighten acne marks, refines skin texture, minimizes signs of ageing and much more. Besides, this silky light serum perfectly complements your sunscreen and other skincare products. Simply add a few drops into your regular skincare products to immediately enrich their acne marks fading capability.

2) Resist Whitening Essence

Another Paula’s Choice skin brightener to your acne marks’ rescue! This lightweight essence can be quickly absorbed by the skin to work its acne mark fading and revitalizing benefits for a clear complexion and radiant glow. Uneven skin tone, wrinkles, fine lines and dull skin can also get a brilliant lift from this essence.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid, also known as AHA, promotes skin cell renewal. This is the process which old skin cells (ie. the coloured acne marks) are replaced by new skin cells to give you a clear, radiant complexion.

1) Skin Perfecting 8% AHA (Glycolic Acid) Lotion

This exfoliating lotion contains 8% AHA (glycolic acid) which gently lifts layers of old skin cells for new skin cells to move up to the skin surface for a healthy glow. Together with a unique combination of antioxidants, this exfoliating lotion also eases fine lines and balance the skin’s moisture level.

2) Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA (Glycolic Acid)

If you’ve never used skincare products containing AHA before, it may be advisable to start with something that contains a lower AHA percentage. This treatment lotion contains 5% AHA and is a leave-on, mild exfoliator that gently sweeps away the coloured skin cells that cause acne marks. Naturally, it also helps you achieve a more even and radiant complexion too!

While there isn’t a quick fix to eradicate acne marks overnight, you’ll see the gradual fading off of these eyesores if you choose the right skincare products and use them diligently.

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