After discovering /r/SkincareAddiction, I’ve been on a skincare kick. I’ve been fortunate to have decent skin since my early twenties (my teenage years are another story). However, stress from my (old) job and late nights have been manifesting on my face. I’ve managed to remove the stress and I feel like my skin has improved.
However, I do get Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) which leaves dark marks where pimples used to be. It’s not extreme and there are only a few marks, some lighter than others. But, my mum’s been annoying about pointing out my “pimples,” so I decided to look at how to make them fade faster.
Extra motivation is in the summer, I often get PIH from mosquito bites that takes months to go away. It’s especially noticeable on my legs where the bite gets more irritated from wearing jeans — to hide my skin from mosquitoes in the first place dammit!
One thing that helps is AHAs, which helps exfoliate the skin and fade hyperpigmentation. It does so through chemical exfoliation with lactic acid, rather than through physical exfoliation, like cleansers with little scrubby beads in it.
An often-recommended product that has AHAs in it is St. Ives Exfoliating Pads. I bought mine off of Amazon because I couldn’t find it in stores, which usually has the popular but bad-for-your-skin St. Ives Apricot Scrub instead.
I’ve been using it a few times a week in the last few months (and almost daily the first month I got it), and I see that the spots I’ve had for months have faded. I also don’t get dry flakes on my nose like I used to with my cleansers that have sulfates in it.
What I don’t like about it is the smell. The label has pictures of oranges and blueberries on it, but it just smells awfully synthetic to me. I’ve gotten accustomed to it, but in the beginning, I had to hold my breath or insta-cringe.
Some things to note are that AHAs work better at lower pH levels, so it’s best to wait about 30 minutes before applying anything else on your face. This gives the product time to work on your face before its pH level balances out on your skin. AHAs also increase photosensitivity, so you should avoid sun exposure or wear sunscreen. I usually swipe a pad when I expect to be indoors or in the late afternoon.
It’s pretty cheap, and I stretch it out even further by cutting the pads in half. But I really want to try something stronger like Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel to speed up results.