The Difference Between Acne Scars and Dark Spots
Acne can be a devastating disorder – not only is it frustrating to have active acne in the form of spots, redness and pustules, these lesions can leave their mark in the form of scars and dark spots.
In this article I will address the difference between scarring and dark spots. When people call our clinic they will ask me about their acne “scarring”, but quite often what they really mean is the dark spots left over from an acne breakout. This is called hyper-pigmentation – also called post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH).
Actual scarring is where the skin is pitted or depressed. These types of scars usually take a more aggressive medical modality to see results.
Let’s talk about dark spots – that is something we definitely can do something about. Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation, or PIH, is the medical term given to discoloration of the skin that follows an inflammatory wound. PIH presents itself as a flat area of discoloration on the skin ranging from pink to red, purple, brown or black, depending on your skin tone and depth of the discoloration.
Dark spots develop when a wound, rash, pimple, or other stimuli like picking at your acne lesions causes skin inflammation, which triggers the skin to produce too much melanin. Melanin is the protein in the skin that gives the skin its color. The excess melanin darkens and discolors the wounded area. This discoloration remains even after the wound or rash has healed. PIH is very common among acne sufferers and can occur in all skin types, although it is more common in darker skin tones. It affects both men and women equally. Luckily, dark spots are not true scars and therefore can be treated in the clinic quite effectively.
We use chemical peels solutions in various strengths to not only get rid of the acne, but lighten the dark spots as well.The acne usually goes away first before the redness or the darker spots go away. It usually takes another few months for the dark spots or redness to completely clear. We also give our clients home care routines that contribute to the lightening of hyper-pigmentation. The right home care and consistent treatments will remove the dark spots and the acne simultaneously. Understand that improvement takes time.
Our client came in for a series of mild corrective peels and used Face Reality Acne Program home care regimen – it not only got rid of her acne but all of her post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as well.
Content provided courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic. Wendy Christman is a Face Reality Acne Specialist providing quality acne education and treatments in the Olympia, WA area.