Hyperpigmentation Vs Acne Scars
PIH is not technically a type of acne scarring. True acne scars are hypertrophic or atrophic, meaning they are either higher or lower than the skins surface. Hyperpigmentation is a cluster of melanin and not three-dimensional.
Whereas PIH fades after a few months, acne scars will typically remain for life without treatment. An individual may experience both PIH and acne scars over the same area of skin.
Most acne scar treatments that exfoliate the skin or encourage cell regeneration are equally effective on PIH. PIH can also be treated with skin-lightening products that do not affect true acne scars.
Acne Scars Or Hyperpigmentation
Acne scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can both occur after a breakout, but the two are actually very different and thus a different approach is required when it comes to fading them.
“Acne scars occur when too much collagen forms in a particular spot while a wound is healing,” explains dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross. “The scar often develops within the dermis, where the original acne-induced inflammation formed.”
When someone has cystic acne, there’s a higher probability of having rolling or boxcar scarring especially if they are picked at before they are ready, or too aggressively,” says Marshall. Aesthetic practitioner and ambassador for Filorga, Dr Philippe Hamida-Pisal agrees. “Acne scarring is due to touching and squeezing spots. This damages small veins, glands and tissues surrounding the spots which creates scarring,” he says.
Unlike acne scarring, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is simply a form of skin pigmentation , which occurs as a result of trauma to the skin. As it doesn’t damage the follicle, it isn’t considered a true form of scarring.
According to Ayodele, certain skin types and tones are more likely to experience this post-acne redness. “Darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation because of the higher levels on melanin in the skin. This means that whenever there is any trauma, the melanin cells quickly leap into action to produce more melanin to defend and protect against that trauma,” she says.
Its Never Too Late To Treat Those Scars
Although its not possible to get rid of your acne scars quickly, its never too late to treat them. Teenage patients may have to wait until their early 20s before undergoing treatment to make sure theres little risk of future acne flare-ups.
While theres no real way to get rid of acne scars naturally and at home, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of getting acne scars:
- Quit smoking or dont start smoking.
- Keep your hands off of your face. Resist the urge to pick or squeeze your pimples.
- Treat your acne as soon as possible to reduce the chance of scars.
Scarring can happen at any age, no matter if youre a teenager and your hormones are changing or youre an adult. Sometimes when adults lose weight or lose elasticity in their skin as they age, scarring from years past becomes more evident.
Occasionally, we will actually remove a pitted scar that we know wont heal well with standard treatment using a technique called punch excision, she says. This is where the whole scar and hair follicle are removed prior to resurfacing.
Another treatment that may be helpful before any of the lasers or peels is called subcision, a procedure that involves releasing a scar thats bound to the muscle or deeper tissues so that it can move freely again. Both of these techniques are used with deeper scars to bring them to the surface to enhance their response to the laser, chemical peel or microneedling.
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When To See A Dermatologist
Individuals with severe acne outbreaks may benefit from seeing a dermatologist. They can help a person find the most effective treatment and lower the chances of developing dark spots.
Although most people with dark spots see improvement without medical treatment, sometimes additional support is necessary. People may choose to see a dermatologist if dark spots interfere with their personal, social, or professional lives.
Suntanning As A Treatment For Acne Scars And Dark Spots
Not a good idea. As mentioned above, excessive sun exposure or artificial tanning during an active breakout of acne will usually cause the darkening of the active acne pimples and post-acne dark spots. Therefore, if you have active acne, post-acne dark spots, or acne scars, be very cautious with your sun exposure! Using an oil-free sunscreen, SPF 30, is key as it will protect your skin and fade your existing dark spots faster. However, we also recommend limiting sun exposure altogether and wearing a hat and protective clothing when in the sun!
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How To Lighten Acne Scars
Different ways to lighten discolored acne scars:
- Vitamin C serum: Vitamin C serum boosts collagen production in skin and helps with sun protection, brightening and improving discoloration in skin and is great for lightening discolored spots including discolored acne mark spots
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid helps skin turnover and exfoliation and in doing so can help improve the appearance of discolored acne marks
- Exfoliation and exfoliation creams and serums: Exfoliating using an exfoliation spray, cream, serum or wash helps skin cell turnover which helps improve discolored marks on the skin. Make sure not to over-exfoliate and wait a few days in-between each time.
- Natural oils including coconut oil, argan oil: Natural oils help skin moisturize and repair and can help improve. discolored spots
After acne, some people are left with discolored marks in the skin, most commonly red or other colors that are not the color of their normal skin.
As explained above, this type of discoloration is not as severe as an indented acne scar and has a better chance of healing even if left alone as time passes.
You can also speed up the healing process by using any of the exfoliation methods above, or serums that help your skin repair and boost collagen production including Vitamin C serum.
Differin Dark Spot Correcting Gel
I like this gel because it contains a powerful retinoid to clear acne and prevent future pimples while preventing acne scarring, says Engelman. It is the first retinoid available over the counter and it is more gentle compared to other retinoids. I swore by this during my teen acne phase, and then again through the acne I got in my late twentiesjust be sure to top it with an ultra hydrating moisturizer or oil if you have dry skin, since the retinoid is quite powerful in this.
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What Causes Acne Scars And Dark Marks
The spots that linger after a pimple has healed are caused by inflammation that has disrupted the skin’s natural healing process. “When your skin is opened up and then closes back together, you can get abnormal pigmentation, texture, and tone that looks different from the rest of your skin. Sometimes the broken blood vessels that remain after an acne lesion fades can result in a mark,” says Dr. Bowe. For a number of people who are able to refrain from picking, inflamed pimples or blemishes can still leave a dark brown or red mark but these naturally fade over the course of a few months, notes dermatologist Heather C. Woolery-Lloyd, MD.
Since it’s pretty difficult to determine what causes one person to scar more than another, the best way to avoid scarring is to treat acne with a great skin care routine and that means you need to resist picking, poking, or touching a pimple.
Some acne marks and scars are completely within your control while others are pre-determined. Aside from genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can make dark marks and scars worse. Spending time in the sun is a big one, and, to reiterate one last time, every dermatologist agrees that picking or squeezing pimples creates further inflammation and can ultimately lead to more damage.
Now that we know where acne scars and dark spots come from, let’s dive into how to treat themstarting with acne scars.
How To Get Rid Of Post
When it comes to brightening dark hyperpigmentation, vitamin C should be a key weapon in your skincare arsenal. “I absolutely love it for many reasons. Its benefits are endless, including revitalising and brightening the skin while stimulating your bodys natural production of collagen,” says Dr Gross. “Not only does it help to lighten and break up pigmentation you might already have, but it also prevents dark spots from forming in the future.
Light as water, this potent vitamin C serum is ideal for layering.
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What Is Acne Scarring
Acne scars are the result of breakouts caused by skin pores blocked with dead cells, excess oil, and bacteria. Blocking leads to swelling of the pores, which may cause breakage in the follicle wall. This can create deep or shallow lesions that prominently appear on the skin.
Shallow lesions are usually minor and heals faster than the deep ones. Deep breakage in the wall of the pore increases the risk of spilling out the infected material into the surrounding tissues thus creating deeper lesions. Your skin tries to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. However, these repairs arent smooth compared to your original skin.
Did You Know?
Acne scars on the face, back, chest are common. About 80% of people aged between 11-30 years get acne and at least 1 out of those 5 people develop scars.
Know When To Turn To Formulated Products
The DIY routine isnt for everyone, including some skin care professionals like Engelman, who says homemade remedies allow room for error as they arent formulated with the same ratios as formal products. If the natural masks and scrubs arent for you, there are a number of products designed with the same ingredients and packaged to last for more than a day or two.
And for the skin thats tackling all of the dark spot issues at once, Engelman points to Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense, which is clinically proven to improve dark patches, skin discoloration, and acne marks.
As with any skincare routine, the best way to eliminate dark spots is through prevention, which is easily done by protecting your skin from the sun. If you’re out and about during daylight hours, be sure to apply SPF , and consider adding a hat, sunglasses, and even gloves, especially if the sunlight will hit your skin for an extended period of time.
Hollinger JC, Angra K, Halder RM. Are natural ingredients effective in the management of hyperpigmentation? A systematic review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018 11:28-37.
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How To Get Rid Of Dark Spots
Dark spots are common in the following areas:– back of the hands- back- shouldersWhile not dangerous, dark spots, particularly dark spots on face, can be unwelcome and some people with them want to know how to get rid of dark spots on face. The good news is, it is possible to reduce the appearance of dark spots with targeted treatments and ingredients. Read on to discover what causes dark spots, how to get rid of dark spots on face and how to get rid of dark spots on body.
How To Care For Post
Its estimated that up to 90 percent of people experience some degree of acne during their life. Generally, these blemishes gradually go away on their own, leaving no trace of their existence on your skin. Occasionally, however, blemishes stick around in the form of post-acne marks. These marks are a form of discoloration and may be visible for months or even years after the initial breakouts clear up. Sometimes, post-acne marks will clear on their own, but other times, youll need the help of skincare products designed to brighten the skin and minimize the appearance of discolorations.
Thankfully, with nearly 170 years of experience, weve curated effective products that can help keep breakouts at bay and diminish the appearance of existing acne marks. Read on for more information about post-acne marks.
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Whats A Good Skin Care Routine For Fading Acne Scars
While you should defer to your dermatologist for a customized routine, Friedler recommended using a medicated antimicrobial cleanser in the morning, followed by oil-free sunscreen. In the evening, she recommended using a gentle cleanser followed by a topical retinoid.
Acne scar treatment products should generally be applied once per day. If they contain retinoids, they should only be applied at night because the sunlight can interfere with them, Fenton said. How frequently you use exfoliating agents such as retinols and glycolic acids depends on their strength and concentration. Some are designed to be used only weekly, so follow the products recommended use guide.
Its also important to remember that fading scars on the face is easier than fading them on the body, and it can take years for some people to fade discoloration from body acne, Fenton cautioned.
Want more guidance? Below, weve rounded up all of the dermatologists recommended acne scar products into one easy-to-browse list for you.
Take a look:
How To Get Rid Of Dark Spots On Face
Depending on the cause, dark spots on face can sometimes clear on their own, for example if you stop using a product that is irritating the skin, or a scar heals. Dark patches can fade, only for new dark spots to appear, and sometimes getting rid of dark spots on face needs a helping hand.
Dark spots on face are accelerated by exposure to pollution and appear more obvious on dull skin.
There are dark spot creams and correctors designed to target dark spots. These products contain active ingredients that treat unwanted pigment in a targeted area and help to reduce future skin discolouration.
Look for products containing vitamin C and E that fight free radicals, helping to fade the appearance of dark spots as well as boosting radiance.
- Use dark spot corrector creams that target dark spots on face
- Wear SPF: sunscreen is your best defence against dark spots on face. Get into the habit of wearing a high SPF facial cream daily, even on cloudy cool days, over your regular moisturiser. Aim for an SPF of at least 30.
- Adapt your skincare routine to include products that contain ingredients designed to get rid of dark spots
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Getting A Professional Treatment
Dark Spot Treatments That Really Work According To Dermatologists
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
When it comes to dark spot treatments, there are so many options out there that it can be hard to know where to start. What ingredients should you look for? And most important, which ones will get rid of dark spots for good?
To answer these questions, SELF talked to several dermatologists to find out how they treat dark spots on the face. Because, as a beauty editor, my ultimate quest is to achieve flawless skin. You know, the I-dont-even-need-any-makeup type of complexion we all desire. But I’m not quite there yet.
The number one thing keeping me from my no-makeup goal? Dark spots. Uneven skin tone keeps me reaching for my makeup bag again and again. With that said, keep reading to learn what causes dark spots in the first place, plus nine dark spot treatments that dermatologists recommend.
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What Causes Acne Scars And Dark Spots
After a pimple heals, were sometimes left with remaining spotsscars and dark spots , which means…that pimple healing process? Yeah, it didnt really go as planned. You see, when you have a pimpleor any other skin abrasion or wound, the skin usually does an amazing job at healing itself without leaving a trace. However, when that healing process is disrupted , it can leave behind a friendly reminder of its annoying existencescars and dark spots.
Acne Scars: Depressed, sunken acne scars occur when normal tissue in the skin is destroyed and replaced with fibrous tissue. These scars start to form when the healing process results in vertical collagen fibers that pull down the skin and cause a crater-like lesion.
Post-Acne Dark Spots: Medically referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation , these dark spots can range in color from light pink to red, purple, or brown, depending on your skin type and tone. Essentially when the skin becomes inflamed, it produces excess melanin, which ads more pigment to that skin area.