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I decided to repost this for those interested in exfoliating scars and lightening blemishes. Remember eliminating acne is half the battle for some. The other half occurs when you get marks leftover. Sometimes those are caused by using products that were too harsh in the first place. Is it really worth it to use a 6% BHA to zap it in 3 days if it leaves a scar that lasts a year to heal??? NO!!! I've been there and done that and caused some others but to a lesser degree.

Yes, I have used Mederma for scars/lighetening and it's effective at that, but for those interested in some other more natural forms of skin lightening products, here's products that offer both HQ, but also Kojic or other forms of lightening ingredients. I have had hormonal and "regular" acne for 15 years now ( naturally oily skin too), so different products help to treat them (yes I've done the Dermatolgist route before and am currently under 2 meds from my endocrinologist).

While I'm always cautiously looking for new things that might make it better, I will NEVER push my skin too far again. Currently I've been using IsoCare's Skin Control Gel (treats, heals & prevents), Credential's Glycolic Serum, and Bye Bye Blemish to help with the exfoilating & skin lightening for the past 6 months (that wasn't even their purpose). Right now my skin is about 90% smooth & even toned and I haven't even touched my skin lightener and lemon juice in weeks!

Some people say that if you have red marks some those things won't work, but if it's blemishes/hyperpigmentation (brown or seemingly black marks) they will. I've tried a variety of these and with some degree of success. While I know that our skin is very different these products are 98% - 100% free of pore cloggers and what may work for me may not work for you and vice versa. So here's what works for me and also some tips. Hope this helps someone. =)

By budget, effective products that worked for me:
Peter Thomas Roth--
definately more pricey, I haven't bothered with his face lighteners, but his Body Brightener (no HQ) and Body Lighteners (HQ added) are good and help to treat existing acne. Occasionally some online stores will have these product for 10-30 dollars less (thank heavens).

Rhonda Allison--
2oz liquid/gel in a bottle for $32 (used to be $ they take advantage of us). Contains (possibly taken HQ out), Kojic Acid, Glycolic Acid, and Licorice Root. This Works VERY well as a zit zapper too, so use sparingly or you'll regret it. Check the Rhonda Allison or go to a Greatskin store, both also sell skin lightening sampler/kits.

Super Strength Skin Lightening gel/liquid--
2oz bottle sells for $15 and is almost as effective as Rhonda A. You can find this at a store called Stretchmarks and it's more natural based containing aloe, Kojic Acid, and Glycolic Acid. Also, doubles as an effective acne treatment as such has earned a high spot in my cabinet.

Night Dream Lotion--
This product is by Dream Products and comes in a sample size, 2oz or 4 oz (less than $10). This contains aloe, vitamins, bearberry extract, kojic acid, licorice root, and AHA. The Night Lotion works VERY well, you can see a difference in 2 days time. However after a few days it did give me some fine bumps so when I try this again, I need to ask Denise if she can formulate this in a "light" consistency(comes in meduim) for it might be too moisturizing. She makes a variety of natural based, Home-made (in a lab), custom scented/non scented, and custom formulated prodcuts. She will add or take out or subsitite an ingredient if you are uncomfortable with it. She can add BHA, sunscreen, etc... I've been using her Dream Face Lotion for the past 2 years (never caused a breakout) in the Normal/Light consistency formula.

Lemon Juice---
whether this is from concentrate or from fresh lemons, this works well on it's on. It also makes a great catylist, helping to accelerate your results when used under a skin lightener. You may need to alternate days since this can be an irritant for some.

Additional products:
Bye Bye Blemish--
This infamous product comes in a 1oz bottle and looks like calamine lotion. While other companies sell this very same size for $17 - $25 for nearly EXACT ingredients, this brand sells for less than $10. You may find this at your local stores, but Sally's Beauty Salon and sell this. Not only does it work to zap the tough zits (give it 2 plus nights, not one), but it also exfoilates wonderfully. After I spot treated I sometimes had extra left, so I would just wipe a thin layer on my marks and, I didn't notice it immediately, but when I did, WOW! I've been using this for 7 months and it really has helped to lighten/exfoilate my blemished/hyperpigmented areas too. One bottle lasts me about a month or so.

Paula's Choice BHA---
Any good BHA product will do, this one comes in 2 sizes, the larger size sells for I believe $15 (price increased). It's a 2% liquid solution and it doesn't leave any marks, nor burns (even on open ones), but still works to dry them up well. Try not to use a 6% BHA product unless you don't get marks, for it does a good job at burning them off if you aren't careful....0.5% - 2% BHA should be effective enough. For similar or more natural alternatives (may try when I finish this bottle of paula's) there's Totalskincare's Alpha & Beta Toner and Physcian's Choice Smoothing Toner or Nutrient Toner. Some toners may dry out even oily skin so it's best to alternate days or just spot treat with them if that occurs.

Glycolic Serum--
This is a Private Labled product therefore if you do a search you can find it for less, however I buy it under the Credentials brand and pay about $22 at Dermstore. This 1oz product is so effective at treating wrinkles, brightening/lightening, exfoliating, and shrinking pores that some spas sell this for $80!!! While I'm not certain it's my miracle product, it does contains, Glycolic Acid, Squalene, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, and other nourshing ingredients. It's not toughted as a lightener, but it's exfoilating properties ,while gentle and non-burning, do work on those areas too. If you are interested in purchasing for less, you can pay $17 for a min. of 3 bottles each, directly from the manufacturer, Esthetically Yours.

1. To prevent scarring and heightened pigmentation, use the least % of a product that is effective for you.

2. Using Sulfur, AHA, or BHA will help to exfoilate your skin.

3. Look for products that contain, Aloe, Collodial Sulfur, AHA, BHA, Kojic Acid, HQ, Azeliac Acid, Bearberry, Licorice Root, and/or Squalene to prevent or lighten blemishes/marks.

4. More natural forms of AHA would be from sugar cane (glycolic acid), malic acid (apples, apple cider vinegar), and Milk (latic acid). Other citruses may also help, but I've only tested lemon juice.

5. Try pure Vit. C crystals mixed in your fav. moisturizer or treatment product to aid in a more even skin tone.

6. Make sure to take a good multivitamin (w/o idiodine) that has selenium (other vitamins & supplements too) in it to encourage skin cell turnover for faster results.

7. While most women may not want to take advantage of this, Erythromycin Solution (zaps & exfoliates) and Clindamycin/Cleocin T solution (prevents marks/ blemishes/ hyperpigmentation) are also good.

8. Try to stay away from products & ingredients that may be effective but you KNOW irritate or cause marks. Ingredients such as Triethanolomine (read that somewhere), Toothpaste as a treatment (left a mark) and Benzoyl Peroxide (my major "no no") may hinder your progress.

9. Try to find products that are effective, and also the least comodegenic, if not at all. There are lists you can check one of which is on Sage Skin Care's website. It has a listing of Safe Ingredients and also has a listing for Safe Cosmetics & other products.

10. Remember to use a sunscreen with as high an SPF as possible, yet won't clog pores (On my face I use Coppertone SPF 30 Gel in a green/blue bottle mixed with some Dream Lotion) to help prevent hyperpigmention.

Also for the men that may be concious of using possible "women" products, Peter Thomas Roth, DDF, Zirh and Anthony Logistics are good lines . Specifically the men based line to help with shaving, etc, Zirh and Anthony products (have their own websites) are even cheaper than most women's products.

[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 08-22-2002).]

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