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Two Real-Life Stories of How Sunscreen Helped Fade Acne Scars

acne scars and sunscreen

What do acne scars and sunscreen have in common? It’s no secret that here at Supergoop!, we’re all about protecting your skincare investments. And that runs the gamut from retinol to vitamin C and to acne treatments. Here, two Supergoop! fans show real-life proof that wearing sunscreen consistently can help you have clearer skin with fewer acne scars.

If you have acne, you may be wondering just how sunscreen can help keep your complexion clear. It’s not that wearing sunscreen will get rid of your acne, but that wearing sunscreen will help prevent the occurrence or darkening of acne scars. Acne scars, aka post inflammatory pigmentation, can be exacerbated by the sun. In fact sunlight is one the main causes of that kind of pigmentation because exposure to UV rays increases melanin, which is the pigment that causes cells to darken.

So if you invest in salicylic acid products or pricey prescription acne treatments, you’ll want to wear sunscreen every day to help see an even bigger payoff from those products and to avoid developing acne scars. Want proof? Check out the two stories below.

Sam Pham

Age: 22
Skin type: Oily
Acne products she uses: Innisfree Super Volcanic Clusters Pore Clearing Clay Mask, Some By Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30Days Miracle Toner, Cosrx Pimple Patches, and The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Hometown: Northern Virginia
Occupation: Full-time student getting her masters degree in social work
Favorite hobbies: Spending time outdoors with her dogs and visiting farmer’s markets, playing with new styles of makeup, going on boba runs with her friends and attending concerts

How long have you had acne scars?
I’ve struggled with acne since high school so I’ve been dealing with acne scars for years, especially ever since I committed the number one skincare sin: popping my pimples.

How did you discover that wearing sunscreen can help fade and prevent acne scars?
I got into skincare during my junior year of college and heard sunscreen would protect my skin and fade my scars but I was making excuses not to wear it. It was after following skincare accounts on Instagram and seeing and reading how sunscreen helped influencers that I decided to commit and wear sunscreen every day.

How soon did you start to see a difference once you began wearing sunscreen?
My scars used to take months to even barely begin to fade but now I can see a difference in just a few weeks.

What sunscreen do you use?
I use Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 every single day. I carry it with me to reapply it throughout the day. I could write a love letter about Unseen. I love how it’s scentless, doesn’t leave a white cast and is so lightweight. It’s just so breathable. Those are the reasons why I avoided sunscreen before and now I don’t have an excuse.

What do you wish people who have acne scars knew about sunscreen?
I wish people knew just how easy it is to incorporate sunscreen in their daily routine and just how big the difference is after using it. I still struggle with acne, but not having to deal with the aftermath of scarring makes the process easier.

Dorie Pitzer

Age: 27
Skin type: Combination
Acne products she uses: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Clean & Clear Continuous Acne Cleanser and Differin
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Occupation: Medical student
Favorite hobbies: Playing volleyball, rock climbing, playing the ukulele and cuddling her dogs (a Bichon and a French bulldog)

How long have you had acne scars?
My skin has always had dark pigmentation scarring ever since I started getting acne in my teens, but they really started becoming bothersome to me when I started medical school a few years ago. 

How did you discover that wearing sunscreen can help fade and prevent acne scars? 
It was during my dermatology rotation!  The dermatologist I worked with almost always recommended a topical retinoid and daily sunscreen to his patients with acne.

How soon did you start to see a difference once you began wearing sunscreen?
It is hard to quantify, but I believe the difference between using sunscreen and not is significant. I like to use my active ingredients at night which slowly lighten the pigmentation and use the sunscreen during the day to lock in that progress by not allowing UV rays to darken the scars further.

What sunscreen do you use?
I enjoy using Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 or Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40. Since I use so many acne-fighting products, my skin can get very dry, so Superscreen is a great option to bring some hydration back to the skin. But I’ve also been loving Zincscreen because it never breaks me out and I personally prefer the natural finish it gives.

What do you wish people who have acne scars knew about sunscreen?
If your goal is to lighten the pigmentation from acne scars, you’re going to want to protect your skin from further damage from UV rays. Like with all acne and skincare treatments, consistency is key to see results.

I know it can be a struggle and disheartening to deal with acne and the scars it leaves behind, and unfortunately there is no quick fix, but be patient and keep at it. Never forget that you’re not alone!

+Have your own story about acne scars and sunscreen? Leave your tips in the comments below!