Unless you’re truly blessed with good skin, pimples and breakouts should be no stranger to any of us. Guess we can say “thanks” to our genes, reckless diet, and blasé attitude towards our skin.

And if that’s the case, then you should also be familiar with dark spots, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), that blemishes commonly leave behind.

Will it happen to me?

It could happen to anyone, really. But those with darker skin tend to fall victim to this reaction more severely because they naturally produce more melanin – the biological pigment that gives your hair its colour and your skin its shade. Melanin works to protect the skin from damage, namely damage from harmful UV rays from the sun. But any form of damage to the skin will result in the activation of melanin production to the site of inflammation and damage. That’s how you’re left with dark scars after a cut and dark spots after a breakout.

While you can try to avoid severe cases of PIH by treating areas of concern with extra care e.g. not popping a zit (we know resisting the urge is tough) and applying copious amounts of sunscreen (remember what we said about melanin working to protect the skin from UV damage? Imagine how bad it would be if you have a sun damaged zit), they’re not always 100% effective. Hence PIH is pretty much inevitable, unfortunately.

What do we do then?

But having said that, you still can live your best life with clear skin all thanks to anti-dark spot treatments. These products usually work to induce healing, break up melanin clusters that form dark spots, and promote bright, clarified skin.

Key ingredients include vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of retinoids), niacinamide and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Botanical extracts such as liquorice and mulberry among others are also widely popular.  They generally work to fade off PIH by either sloughing off old pigment-laden skin, inhbiting the production of melanin or even both.

Words like “brightening” and “whitening” are also key. Don’t worry, products with those words don’t actually “whiten” your skin the way bleach does – it could be pretty dangerous. Instead, it suggests that they include at least one ingredient mentioned earlier, or the employment of sophisticated technology and patented compounds that all work with the same agenda – to safely but effectively fade off pesky dark spots.

How soon can we expect to see a difference?  

Do note that diligence is key. Not every Olympic medal winner started off perfect at first try. So don’t give up if immediate improvement is not observed. It typically will take some time between 3-6 months before visible results take place.

Scroll look through our gallery to see which products we have found to be effective in keeping PIH at bay. Now you can say “adios” to dark spots and say hello to clearer skin at the comfort of your own home.

If you want faster results, we recommend visiting your dermatologist to receive advice tailored to the severity of your case.