A Simple Guide To Acne Scars and How To Tackle Them At Home (w/ Before-and-After Photos)

I don't know which was more annoying - an actual red angry spot on my cheek or the mark that was left behind for weeks to come. I've talked about my acne journey on this blog, but little how to clear marks, scars, pigmentation whathaveyou that are left behind. Today I'm writing a simple beginner-friendly guide what are possible pigmentation issues and what are the options in treating them.


Different types of "acne scars"

Most common types of "acne scars" can be divided to three types:

  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE)
  • Atrophic scars

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin overproduces melanin and there are several forms like freckles, age spots, birthmarks, melasma and PIH. PIH is temporary hyperpigmentation caused by inflammation; when a wound or irritation becomes inflamed the skin naturally heals itself by producing melanin, a protein that gives skin its color. These causes of inflammation can be acne, rash, injuries, chemical peels etc.

All skin types can get PIH but it's more prevalent in dark tones of skin because of overactivity of cells that produce melanin. PIH usually looks like red, pink, brown or dark discoloration depending on the skin tone and depth of discoloration. Although the sun doesn't cause PIH it can darken the marks and prolong the fading time.

Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE)

PIE are pinkish red spots that can also be result by acne, injuries, sun exposure, etc traumas. The color is different as this is not a melanin-induced problem, but caused by broken capillaries (small vessels) under our skin. This triggers the increase of blood flow to heal the wound.

There's a DIY (non-accurate) test to determine if your marks are PIE: apply pressure on the wound to see if the pink spots temporarily disappear. PIH or rosacea is not affected by this, but often people may have the combination of both PIE and PIH.

Atrophic Scars

Sometimes called icepick, boxcar or rolling scars, atrophic scars are indentations left behind by acne, chicken pox or inflammation. Atrophic scars are loss of tissue that may look like dents, uneven skin tone, enlarged large pores or holes. These scars are often permanent or difficult to treat without professional help.

 A Simple Guide to Acne Scars | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

I don't have many pictures of my acne, but I found old iPad selfies from ~4 years ago. 


And here's me today (with cat fluff on my face haha) with zero makeup. Read more about my acne journey.

How to treat acne scars At Home?

First of all, you should see a dermatologist if the pigmentation changes it's shape, size, color or itches/bleeds. If you're prone to moles, getting them checked once a year doesn't do any harm! Treating pigmentation and scaring at home with over-the-counter products isn't an instant process and might take several months to fade, For more abrasive (prescription) ingredients, vascular lazers and chemical peels, again, check your dermatologist or even local GP. Here's what I've learned to be effective at home:

1) Sunscreen. If sunscreen isn't already a part of your daily routine please consider adding it! Sun protection can protect and even prevent from many health and pigmentation issues. Also, if you choose to exfoliate your skin the 'fresh' skin underneath is more prone to sun sensitivity and burning. I've told many of my friends that it's a waste to spend big $$$ in wrinkle serums or pigmentation treatments if you neglect sunscreen.

2) Increasing the cell turnover. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), especially glycolic acid, are excellent for treating pigmentation. Acids exfoliate the surface of the skin by loosening up the dead skin cell bonds on the epidermis, leaving skin feeling fresh, more even and smooth. Faster your cells renew the quicker you can get rid of PIH. Personally I like using a gentle daily toner with AHA, natural fruit enzymes and humectants. Sometimes I opt for a stronger mask.

3) There are prescription ingredients (Hydroquinone, Azelaic acid, Retinoids), that inhibit tyrosinase aka an enzyme that catalyses the production of melanin, but personally I prefer gentler ingredients with "skin lightening" properties that have high antioxidant content such as licorice root, Arbutin, Niacinamide and Vitamin C. Perhaps look for a serum that has a high concentration of these ingredients.

4) Don't pick, pop or abrasively scrub and monitor your skin's irritation. You don't want more inflammation, bacteria or further damage the skin!

5) Take your time, be kind to yourself. Frustrating advice, yes, but don't get depressed as most scaring is not permanent. (Meanwhile there's always concealer..).

Share your thoughts!

Have you battled with acne scaring? What has improved your skin the most? Also, is there anything acne related you'd like me to talk about next? Click here to read my previous posts if you fancy.

And finally, happy September! To be honest I'm baffled that August is gone. Just a moment ago we were whining about the heatwave in Europe and then the weeks just flew by! I love it how bright it is in Helsinki during the Summer time, I can't stand the idea the mornings are going to be dark soon. Sigh. 

ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review (Old VS New)

ADDICTION by Ayako is one of my favorite Japanese brands - modern, edgy and chic. I was both stoked and horrified that they revamped one of my favorite foundations ever: ADDICTION the Skincare Foundation. As soon as I was about to finish my old bottle I ordered a new one to compare. Let's talk thoroughly about the new ADDICTION foundation and how the shade and finish compares to the old one!

 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

ADDICTION The Skincare Foundation

This foundation is advertised as made from beauty serum, with 10 types of beauty essences (not listed on the English website) to care for the skin while giving a beautiful finish without the need for primer or powder. The finish is promised to be fresh, natural and hydrated. I'd say the coverage is buildable, but light to light-medium. Unscented. Available in 15 shades, which unfortunately cater mostly just towards light-medium Asian skin. Contains SPF25 PA++ Price 4,500¥ (+tax) for 30ml.

Using ADDICTION The Skincare Foundation

The original foundation was hands down my favorite foundation alongside with Rouge Bunny Rouge's Milk Aquarelle, and I reached for it regularly. I'd say the 30ml bottle of the original foundation lasted me a couple of years (without going bad!) as I needed such a tiny amount. The consistency of the new foundation is similar: very runny, almost watery and serum-like. As the nozzle is fairly small, I've always poured a couple of stripes of foundation on my cheeks and forehead before blending with a goat hair brush, such as Koyudo fu-pa or the Tom Ford Cream foundation brush. I think buffing motions and circular blending work excellent with The Skincare Foundation to blend the product seamlessly. I never blend my foundation with fingers, but I think it'd be possible in this case. The Skincare Foundation is slightly hydrating, but I think this will suit most skin types - expect maybe super oily ones.

 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Swatch | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Swatches and Coverage

01 Wafers (old formula) - slightly cool vanilla
001 Porcelain (new formula) - pale, white-based porcelain

I'm wearing one layer of foundation with no other makeup in the image above. The coverage is sheer to light, but buildable. It may be difficult to notice but one layer has evened out my skin tone and covered my under eye darkness a little bit.

 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Differences between the old and new ADDICTION the Skincare Foundation

The original foundation came in a white packaging, the updated version has a beige tint to it. One of the differences between the two are the sunscreen, shade range and how the product sits on the skin. First of all, the original has SPF30 PA+++ and the new version "only" SPF25 PA++. I don't rely on the sunscreen of my makeup, but I know it might interest some of you. Secondly is the shade range: now, I can only speak of my shade as unfortunatelly I can't recall the deeper shade range. I've chosen the lightest shade for my skin tone (NW13-NC15) and 01 Wafers was quite a good match. I'm more neutral than pink, but 01 Wafer's undertone was nicely brightening while 001 Porcelain leans more white. I haven't seen the new foundation display in person, but my personal shopper was kind enough to swatch the two lightest shades and ask from the counter which shade was closest to the old 01 Wafers. According to the ADDICTION SA 002 Porcelain Rose is the closest to 01 Wafers, but in the end I chose to go for the more neutral 001 Porcelain. If you have stronger pink undertones or perhaps dullness you want to brighten, pinker shades might work well for you. Like with most Japanese foundation, the shade range is unfortunately very limited for medium to deeper skin tones.

I was so looking forward to the new formula and less pinky/ashy shade, but unfortunately I'm not getting the same feel of joy as with the old foundation. We're going down to the nitty gritty, but I feel the new formula doesn't sit as well on the skin. The old formula looked seamless, skin-like and almost undetectable and while the new ADDICTION Skincare Foundation performs well, it's not quite the same. On close inspection I feel the new foundation can be detected on my skin, it gathers to the nooks and crannies around my nose as well as dry patches. The lasting power of the new foundation is good (+6-7h), but it doesn't stay as well in place before the formula starts to break. If you've ever felt foundation 'lifting' when touched (like with many cushion foundations), I think there's a slightly similar effect.

 ADDICTION by Ayako Skincare Foundation Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

I do enjoy the new version of the foundation, especially the more neutral palest shade, but I was expecting the near perfection. Sadly, I feel little bit let down as the new product is not quite on par with the old. This is me being very nitty gritty, but I wish it meld better with my skin. During checkups the foundation didn't change color, get patchy or gather to all of my fine lines, but I wish I didn't have to give any thought to longevity or blending around my nose. It's by no means a bad foundation, so I will continue using the product and see if season change or different application methods will have any effect.  If you can find a good shade match and love Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude or sheer to light foundations in general, you might enjoy this.

More Japanese foundation reviews: THREE Cosmetics Angelic Synthesis Foundation

What's your favorite light cover foundation? Have you tested anything from ADDICTION?