Yes, You Can Get Acne Marks on Your Body — Here’s How to Deal
Acne marks (or scars) and dark spots may be most noticeable on the face, but it’s common to develop these marks on the chest, back, arms and legs. “Dark spots can happen anywhere in the skin,” says Dr. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Jersey. “Any inflammation after healing can cause marks, as well as the sun.” In general, she says, dark spots are more common among darker skin tones. To treat dark spots from the neck down, the ingredients to use generally remain the same as those you’d use on the face, but there are some challenges to be aware of. Read on to learn how to tackle acne scars and dark spots on the body.
How to Tackle the Appearance of Dark Spots and Acne Marks on the Body
Use Products with Helpful Ingredients
“Similar ingredients can be used to help with dark spots on the body as on the face,” says Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. Ingredients that she says are known to be helpful in reducing the appearance of dark spots over time with continued use are azelaic acid, kojic acid, topical tranexamic acid, as well as chemical exfoliants and peels that contain glycolic acid or lactic acid.
“Although some of the ingredients known to help reduce the appearance of dark spots can be found over-the-counter or in a prescription, it is best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate the dark spots and come up with a treatment plan,” says Dr. Garshick.
Because the skin is thicker on the body, it can take longer for treatments to work, says Dr. Garshick. “It may be harder for topical ingredients to penetrate and for the dark spots to fade,” she says. In the meantime, you can temporarily cover up the appearance of spots with products like the Dermablend Professional Leg and Body Makeup.
If you are interested in treatments that may provide noticeable results sooner, “there are also in-office procedures such as chemical peels and possible laser treatments that may be helpful,” she says. Talk to your dermatologist about the best option for you.
Be Conservative With Treatment Products
“Although it may seem like the body requires a lot more product being used, it is important to remember that some of these ingredients can still be irritating on the skin, and you still want to use a conservative amount,” says Dr. Garshick. Always follow the usage directions and consider doing a patch test on skin beforehand.
As with the skin on your face, picking at acne or bug bites can cause dark spots, or make them worse.
Always Wear Sunscreen
No matter where your dark spots are, Dr. Sperling says that the best thing you can do for both treatment and prevention is to “avoid the sun and wear sunscreen regularly.” Yet another reason to slather on the SPF? Ingredients used to treat dark spots can also make the skin more sun-sensitive. Check out our editors’ favorite body sunscreens here.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn