Everything worth a damn takes patience. I can rattle off a thousand examples. This meme. Marvel post-credit scenes. Kombucha brewing. Getting through the Orange is the New Black theme song. Rihanna's new album. Waist-length hair. Learning how to use Reddit. Listening to a child's story. That’s why, when it comes to preparing yourself for mini-skirt and crop top season, the best time to start fading post-acne hyperpigmentation on your body is now.

Banish your zits

Start by treating the acne that you have. Soft Services makes a Clearing Duo to tackle your acne in two forms. The Clearing Clay is a mask for your body that uses sulfur as a gentle antimicrobial and zinc to create an inhospitable environment for bacne-causing fungi.

Once you’re out of the shower, follow up with the Clearing Mist. It pairs zinc (see above) with salicylic acid, which helps loosen trapped dirt within your pores. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you: the tea tree oil is a little strong in this spray. Hold your breath while you spray.

The key is consistency. Make sure you’re showering regularly and frequently changing the surfaces your skin touches, like your pajama shirt and bedsheets.

What about hyperpigmentation?

The zit is dead. Long live the zit.

Cover a larger area that is nearly impossible to reach with your bare hands with Topicals Faded Mist. Considering I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to apply serums to my shoulder blades and nearly dislocating something, the conceit of this is brilliant. This hyperpigmentation-fading spray has three active ingredients to do the dirty work: tranexamic acid, kojic acid, and fan-favorite niacinamide to improve tone and texture.

Another bonus of this spray is that it isn’t limited to just bacne, racne (chest acne), six-pacne (stomach acne), or assne (self-explanatory) scars. You can even use it on your legs to combat last year's bug bites just in time for this year’s.

Want results in days, not weeks?

What if you don’t have patience? Did you miss the whole intro to this article?? You could get laser. To figure out how it all works, I spoke with dermatologist Dr. Daniel Belkin, M.D., who I met a week prior for a mole scan. When he checked my scalp for moles through my hair, I asked him if he ever feels like a monkey while doing that, to which he responded, “sometimes.”

According to Dr. Belkin, Clear + Brilliant is the way to go for post-acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. “Clear + Brilliant is one of the lightest types of fractional non-ablative resurfacing lasers, which means it creates tiny zones of heat injury that heal very quickly.” He explains that it works in two ways. When the machine zaps you with tiny heat injuries, they heal, taking pigment with them, like an ex taking all their annoying friends with them when they dip. Secondly, it creates channels to allow Dr. Belkin’s concoction of topical meds to penetrate deeper. This includes tranexamic acid and vitamin C.

What's the downtime?

Expect a day or so of redness, followed by a “sandy” texture. (I'm imagining Pecan Sandies?)  “On the face, this might be 2–3 days, whereas, on the back, it could be about a week.”

Does Clear + Brilliant work on all skin tones?

“It is super safe for all skin tones,” he tells me.“Because it is low energy, it doesn't get deep enough to disrupt the melanocytes at the basal layer of the epidermis. I frequently use it in skin of color for treating melasma, reducing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and evening skin tone.”

On a scale of 1 to stepping on a LEGO, how painful is it?

[laughs] I would say a 5 without numbing cream and a 1 with numbing cream.

How much does Clear + Brilliant cost?

More than an iPhone but less than a MacBook.

With just a little bit of patience, you’ll be able to face the summer months (that I’m fairly sure will come???) where the only dark spots in your life will be the poppy seeds on some dank-ass bagels you’re having for brunch.


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