Beloved readers, along with using fruit acids and the like to aid in fading dark marks, good ‘ol mechanical exfoliation is another useful tool in speeding up the fading process.
In fact, exfoliation is an essential part of fading dark marks.
You must apply your treatment to fresh skin –not dead skin cells that dull your complexion and upon which your treatments will have no effect.
There are many ways to utilize mechanical exfoliation (which is basically the act of physically rubbing dead skin cells off and rinsing or wiping them away):
Face “Brushes”/scrub pads
The most important thing is finding a method that is effective, but gentle enough to not irritate your skin, while being simple enough that you will use it CONSISTENTLY. How frequently you must use it depends on the method you use, your skin, and your skin’s needs.
It sounds a tad bit complicated (and a bit vague), but it really is not.
For example: You have oily skin, that is not sensitive or easily irritated and (unfortunately) bares a multitude of dark marks. You have found a moisturizing toner and cleanser that you use in conjunction with a treatment containing Kojic acid (fades scars) and a good moisturizer with high SPF. You want to step up your exfoliation. You find a facial scrub that exfoliates well, but does not create more marks in its wake by over-exfoliating . You find you can use it up to three times a week without negative effects. Your dark marks fade in 3-4 months.
You begin skipping randomly and singing to yourself while running errands.
Another example: You have dry, easily irritated skin. You find a mild AHA based cleanser, make own DIY AVC toner, and purchased gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer, They work well for you. You also find a high SPF sunscreen that moisturizes. You want to add a bit of mechanical exfoliation, but you know your skin is sensitive. You start off using a (white, dye-free) wash cloth in the morning, using firm, circular motions over your face for 60 seconds. You find doing this 3 times a week works without causing your face to redden or flush. Your dark marks fade in 5-7 months.
You begin breaking out into song and dance spontaneously while food shopping.
Don not laugh, beloved readers.
It is always funny (and slightly frightening), until it is you. I suggest if any of you beloved readers manage to catch me doing this, just sing along. I am harmless. Really!
Back to topic:
The key components of the above scenarios:
1. A good cleanser, toner, and moisturizer geared solely towards moisture or fading dark marks that work with your skin type.
3. Knowing your skin type and level of sensitivity (or lack there of)
4. A product meant to fade dark marks
5. A set regimen
6. A form of mechanical exfoliation (you could swap out the scrub and replace it with a vigorous wash-cloth-scrubbing twice a day, or a Clarisonic brush however often your skin can tolerate it).
A have a couple of special notes about pore strips and Peel-off masks:
In terms of Peel-off masks, I have only used one strong enough to actually do what a scrub or my Clarisonic or wash cloth can do. It was from Japan and was EXCRUCIATING to remove, but it worked.
The old beauty-staple Biore Pore Strips DO work. Wouldn not it be better to attack the source of your blackheads, or develop a regimen that keeps them from gaining a foot hold? Or find a routine that mitigates them significantly enough to not rely upon pricey strips for skin Shangri La?
I certainly think so.
They can help get things looking ship-shape quickly, but may not be a part of the best long-term plan for all skin types and budgets.
Sensitive skinned ladies, I would avoid Peel-off masks and pore strips. Dry-skinned ladies may want to avoid them also.
Whatever you choose, please do not over look the benefits of mechanical exfoliation.
Those dead skin cells and hyperpigmented cells have to go, one way or another! Whether it be by a AHA toner-soaked cotton ball, a dutiful wash cloth (replace them regularly, wash in HOT water after each use, and HANG TO DRY COMPLETELY, be sure they are dye-free), or a humming Clarisonic.