I love vintage inspired clothing and accessories: Rayban wayfarers, distressed denim, black lace dresses, silk chiffon tops, and button-down utility shirts to name a few.
I often envision myself working at the helm of vintage fashionistas like Alexa Chung and Kate Moss, whose androgynous yet chic 80’s inspired clothing makes me go “woo” and “ahh”. Well ladies as much as I’d love to babble on my vintage obsession that resonates with an era before me, there is a classic vintage design that is highly adored throughout the years by beauty icons like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and that particular design is polka dots! Yes, the circular black/white sphere against a contrasting backdrop is feminine and poised, albeit it popped up as the height of fashion in 1930s. Many girls like to wear silk chiffon shirts smothered in polka dots, whereas others prefer just a pop of polka dots in their accessories. All in all, it is a true vintage piece that never goes out of style.
As much as I revere polka dots in haute couture fashion, I don’t imagine it being consistent in my life on a 24/7 basis; it’s like wearing harem pants to sleep every night! Well here’s the dilemma, lately I’ve been noticing pink polka dots taking an omnipresent part in my life, and they are scattered on my face in the form of hyper-pigmentation! Blame it on post-teenage breakouts, but these deep-rooted acne scars often take 6 months to a year to heal! Acne scar is the result of inflammation within the dermis brought on by acne, and the scar is created by the wound trying to heal itself resulting in too much collagen in one spot. And what is the quickest and most lucrative way to get rid of them? Umm..dermabrasion, laser, and light chemical peel (the latter being the least expensive: $50-$150 per session, usually up to 6 treatments).
So should Lena say bye bye to her diminishing cash cushion and say hello to specialized instruments that “sand” her skin? No no no ladies, save your greenbacks for a rainy day and let me show you a few safe and effective ways to incrementally reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation as well as prevent future acne scars from surfacing. Pink polka dots..hmm..not so fashionable now is it?
Step 1: Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! New skin cells are created in the skin’s lower layer (the dermis) and over time the cells migrate to the surface of the skin and become more acidic. Exfoliation removes the outer layer to reveal the newer skin beneath, and this shedding of the outer layer unclogs pores, keeps skin clean, and helps reduce acne breakouts. This is a great one that I use — Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream that gently cleans and polishes my skin.
Note: DO NOT use exfoliating scrubs that contain natural grains, walnuts, and apricot kernels! These particles are too brazen for most skin types. Rather, choose one with round grains like polyethylene or micro beadles.
Step 2: Avoid skincare products with salicylic acid, which despite its anti-inflammatory features, may cause hyper-pigmentation. You know the 2% salicylic acid cream your dermatologist advised you to apply on your pimples 2x a day? Well use it for 2 days until the lump subsides and stop on the 3rd day to let the pimple heal itself. FYI I was at Sephora the other day and the specialist told me it’s better to replace salicylic acid with 2.5-4% benzoyl peroxide on breakouts because it’s less abrasive.
Step 3: Use oil-free “non-comedogenic” moisturizer that a.) does not clog pores and b.) provides hydration which allows the skin to heal faster.
Step 4: Apply sunscreen after your moisturizer! When a hyper-pigmented area is exposed to UV light, more melanin production is triggered on a cellular level, causing further darkening. Sunscreen should ward off both UVB and UVA rays, and here’s a great one that I’ve been using for the past 6 months — SPF 30+ City Sunscreen Serum with Uniprotect PT-3 (which repairs existing skin damage while reducing UV-induced oxidation)
Step 5: Avoid food heavy in diary, which can cause breakouts on your chin and jaw, and most acid citrus and tomatoes, which is the culprit for those red spots on your cheeks.
Step 6 (experimenting in process): Apply a dark spot corrector serum. Last Saturday I picked up Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector which according to its mission statement has a “clinical formula with CL-302 complex that dramatically helps reverse the appearance of dark spots, age spots, skin stresses, and darkening from acne scars”. The Clinique SA told me that clients usually see results in 4-8 weeks. Well it’s been 1 week and I’ve noticed a more brighter and exuberant complexion. And the texture is very silky so it’s absorbed really well into the skin!
So that is my 6-step regime in saying bye bye to those red polka dots sprouting up on my face, and hopefully this would help you in your treatment of acne scars and hyper-pigmentations. And of course if you have tried other methods or know of any “old wife tales” feel free to share them. Why spend a fortune on attaining flawless complexion when you can, with a stroke of luck, wisdom, and attention to skincare ingredients, revamp your youthful skin? Ahh..the beauty of pre-adolescence 🙂