As some with body acne, Cassandra knows that summers can be nerve-wracking. After the acne goes away, there are marks left behind, and usually, it’s PIH or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Whether your hyperpigmentation is from acne, a peeled sunburn, or tinea versicolor, it can be so difficult to feel good in a swimsuit or backless dress. So, what do we do when our acne has calmed down but dark marks are left behind?
Dark spots can last from 3-6 months, and a lot of people think dark spots or PIH are scars, but they’re not. It’s hyperpigmentation, and there are things like strategic washes, vitamin Cs and sunscreens that can be used to help speed up the process of fading them. So, for those who have hyperpigmentation on their shoulders, back, or anywhere else. Consider this your guidebook.
First, start with a shower. Cassandra says this is probably the least important when it comes to hyperpigmentation. Although hygiene plays a very important part in removing debris, products that stay on the skin matter the most in treating hyperpigmentation. Good body hygiene is important, and you want to get something that’s not going to exacerbate hyperpigmentation or acne. Cassandra loves the Calendula Low Ph Cleanser from April Skin, the Face Reality 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face and Body Wash, and the Holika Holika shower cleansing gel.
APRILSKIN Calendula Low pH Gel Cleanser - $20
Face Reality Acne Face and Body Wash -$32
Holika Holika 92% Aloe Shower Cleansing Gel -$9.50
ZitSticka Silkshake -$22.50
For people who have body acne and hyperpigmentation, Cassandra loves this one. It’s very helpful in removing traces of sunscreen. The ingredients are wonderful, acne skin friendly, and it includes a probiotic with tea tree. However, you don’t have to specifically use the suggestions we’ve provided here. As long as you have a good body cleanser, that will do the job. As for any specific ingredients for body PIH, vitamin C cleansers are awesome. If there are any vitamin C cleansers that don’t work on your face, you can put those on your back. Anything antioxidant ingredient within a cleanser will be really helpful.
Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Jelly Cleanser - $26.99
For example, even though it's expensive, this jelly cleanser is amazing for Cassandra’s face, and she also puts it on her back. Once again, just use a body cleanse you like because the real stuff happens when we get out of the shower and apply products that will stay on our skin.
Murad Essential-C Toner - $37.05
Vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant, and it actually helps to stop pigment from being created in our skin. A few other ingredients that also do are licorice, alpha arbutin, kojic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids.
As mentioned before, vitamin C works great for dark spots, but how do you get it onto crucial places like the back. Sprays are the best option. However, vitamin C is really hard to find in spray form.
The closest thing Cassandra has found to a vitamin C spray has been the Bubble spray. But although Cassandra loves that for the face, she doesn’t necessarily recommend it for hyperpigmentation on the back. Fortunately, Cassandra did find a toner from Murad that you can screw your own spray top on. It has a thread opening that you could put a spray top on. This one could be a bit sensitizing though because it has fragrance. So, if you have sensitive skin, perhaps find an unscented vitamin C to add a sprayer too. This has vitamin C, yeast, a ton of amino acids, and it’s very supportive to the skin. Vitamin C products soak into the skin to prevent hyperpigmentation. Cassandra would recommend using this every single morning. After you get out of the shower, you can spray this on before your sunscreen. Spraying vitamin C underneath your sunscreen really boosts it up.
Another ingredient to spray on your body for body PIH is salicylic acid. The SLMD spray helps body acne, and it really easy to spray onto your back.
Ole Henriksen Glow OH Dark Spot Toner - $12.20
Ole Henrikson also has a dark spot toner. This is excellent too, but Cassandra found that it is hard to screw a spray top onto the bottle
Now, for sunscreens, Cassandra loves aerosol sunscreens for the body, but at the same time, you need to make sure that you’re applying enough to the body. Before applying an aerosol sunscreen all over, you should try to do a test application with your hands.
EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 - $39
This is a transparent zinc oxide and Cassandra would say it’s 6 or 7 out of ten on the “no-flashback” scale. You do have to rub it in. But, for those who have a hard time reaching their back area, this is amazing. Remember, if you’re not using SPF in your routine, you’re losing 90% of the benefits of skincare. Especially when it comes to PIH. Sunscreen should be the number one focus. If you’re on a budget, forget the cleanser and get a sunscreen that works.
A lot of people don’t realize how involved sunscreen is with hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation doesn’t set in as much when you wear sunscreen. Sunscreen literally prevents hyperpigmentation from happening, and it is absolutely essential. For the EltaMD UV Aero broad-spectrum, you shake it, spray it out, and it comes out thick, but then, it blends in nicely once you rub it in.
Supergoop! (Re)setting Refreshing Mist - $32
This is the refreshing, resetting mist from Supergoop. This is a spray which actually makes it very easy to apply. (expand)
Pacifica Beauty Sun + Skincare Sport Sunscreen Spray - $20
Another one that’s really good but a little pasty is from Pacifica. It’s an aerosol can so you can apply it where it needs to go. For this one, you can leave it on your skin for 10 minutes to make sure it blends into your back. You can use a towel to rub it in. If you let it sit there, the towel won’t rub it off.
Overall you don’t want to forget shade and upf clothing. Any area of your skin that shows should have SPF to avoid hyperpigmentation. However, you can cover your skin with uPF clothing. UPF clothing are pieces of clothing that have an SPF rating of 50 or 70. It’s basically sunscreen clothing. UPF clothing is normally very lightweight, and you can use these in addition to sunscreen.
You could also use a susncreen oil especially if you want to look a little glowy in the summer sun.
Coolibar UPF 50+ Long Fingerless Sun Gloves - $34
Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat - $42
Now, what happens when you get out of the sun? A lot of people like to nurse sunburns. But, when your sunscreen game is on point, you don’t have to worry about the burning, blistering, and peeling. With that being said, if you want to soothe your skin after the sun, Cassandra would recommend a sheet mask. Soothing the skin prevents inflammation, and therefore, hyperpigmentation.
Papa Recipe Carrot Sheet Mask -$19.99
This is one of the best sheet masks that Cassandra has used. This amazing mask pack has t vitamin C and turmeric. These are amazing antioxidants that can help with hyperpigmentation. The masks also have hyaluronic acid and allantoin. So, the masks are both moisturizing to the skin and helpful in the healing process.
Moreover, this is one of the juiciest masks Cassandra has ever used. You literally pull the mask out, and you’re still left with half a package of serum. You can take the rest of the serum and put it on your face and shoulders. And once you use the mask on your face, Cassandra likes to flip it over and use it on her neck. You can also put the mask on your back and shoulders. This is great for hyperpigmentation if you want something brightening, and most importantly, it’s inexpensive, and they give you a pack of 10. The eggplant masks are also fantastic.
Finally, for hyperpigmentation, make sure you know those triggers.
Is your hyperpigmentation caused by tinea versicolor, sun exposure, acne, or skin picking? If acne is the case, helping to get that acne under control can help prevent that hyperpigmentation. However, SPF is generally going to be the best thing.
These are a few suggested PIH treatments, and we help you enjoy! Remember though, acne happens to everyone, but society conditioned us to judge ourselves for it. So, you want to know the fastest way to get a beach body? Put a swimsuit on and walk out the door because your body has always been a beach body — PIH or not.. Scars are badges of strength, and your stretch marks are tiger stripes! You are beautiful, and you deserve to have a beautiful time!