How can I get rid of dark brown marks after facial extractions for clogged pores?
Hi, I'm 22 this year. After going for a facial extraction 2 weeks ago, my cheeks have been left with several brownish marks where the extractions were. I also have congested pores that started this year, and I have a bad habit of trying to squeeze the pores on my cheeks. The marks and bumps on my cheeks bother me. I've heard of topical retinoids and peels. I was wondering what would be the best solution to get rid of these dark marks that were left behind, while also helping with my clogged pores?
The bumps sound like comedones and the marks you mention are probably post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark marks left after en episode of inflammation/truama).
PIH is especially common and prominent in asian skin. While they do eventually go away (after weeks to months), the constant repeated formation of new marks make them seem ever-present.
While extractions can help to remove excess sebum from the face, I personally prefer a more gradual approach with chemical exfoliation - the use of acidic toners such as salicylic acid toners that gently reduce oil buildup and comedones on the face. This can reduce your need for physical extraction and the possibility of PIH formation. Should you absolutely need extraction, do see a medical-based clinic for proper extraction to prevent unnecessary damage to the skin that will lead to PIH formation.
The addition of a retin/differin will help further close pores and reduce comedone formation.
In terms of the PIH, both the acidic toner and retins do help over the long run. Vitamin C serums are a good to have, and sunscreen is a necessity.
If you want to get rid of them faster, several clinical options exist:
1. Lasers (we use the picosecond laser with very good clearance of PIH): PIH generally responds rather variably to lasers, but picosecond lasers have been shown to have more encouraging effects on them.
2. Mild chemical peels: slightly stronger than your acidic toners, these medical peels help speed up the breakdown and exfoliation of skin and hence marks left behind by inflammation.
3. LED light therapy: LED light (such as the medical-grade Omnilux we use at our clinic) aid regeneration and healing of the skin. Be weary though, as the cheaper light masks bought off the web have minimal energies and hence insignificant effects on the face.
4. Broadband Light/IPL: If the lesions are still red, BBL/IPL (such as the Sciton BBL we use at our clinic) help very well with eliminating the redness and also helping with the brown marks left on the face.
As you can see, many viable options exist, and each with their own underlying cost and efficacy.
Feel free to inquire more should you need further information on management.
Cheers, and Merry Christmas,
Dr Shane Abucewicz Tan