These skin issues can be the bane of your existence at practically any life stage, but before you abandon all hope, know there is a bit of good news. It turns out you can use one product for both problems, and end up saving yourself some cash.
Despite being specifically marketed for treating either acne or UV-induced skin injury, topical skin brighteners can work to fade all kinds of hyperpigmentation, so there's no need to shell out for multiple potions.
New York City dermatologist Arielle Kauvar says there actually are some slight differences between sun spots and acne scars. "With sun spots, there is an increase in the number of melanocytes, or pigment cells, in the epidermis," she says. "Acne blemishes are caused by inflammation that can increase in melanin, or pigment, that shows up as a brownish spot that might linger for months." Kauvar stresses that pock-mark acne scars, resulting from damage to collagen, need to be treated with lasers, not topicals.
Make sure you keep those expectations in the realm of reality, however. "Skin lightening creams will fade the lesions, but not completely remove them, because they will not reduce the increase in the number of pigment cells," says Kauvar. But, like every dermatologist repeats a million times a day, it's all about sun protection. "If sunscreen that defends against UVA and UVB rays is not worn daily, the skin fading creams will not help very much, because the sun's rays stimulate the pigment cells to make more melanin," she says.
There's really nothing good to say about acne or sun damage, but at least you can use one product to deal with both, without going broke or becoming a candidate for Extreme Hoarding: Beauty Edition.
Check out more pro tips for ridding your skin of sun damage.