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Acne scar or dark mark? Know the difference


When acne rears its ugly head (white, black, or otherwise), the ordeal isn’t necessarily over when the pain stops. Sometimes, the bigger the pimple, the longer the scars last on your face. But that spot on your face, is that a scar or a dark mark caused by hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Marks (Dark Marks)

It’s a common point of confusion for everyone with acne. Sometimes, what we think are deep acne scars are really superficial dark marks which heal over time.

Those light or dark brown marks on your skin? They’re Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) marks left by mild to moderate acne breakouts. PIH can result in epidermal melanin which will appear as your body heals and eventually fade with time. They’re not scars at all. So you’re in luck if these are the dark marks you see on your skin. You can take steps to speed up the healing and get back to clear, even-toned skin.

Mild to moderate acne can leave dark marks which can last a long time.

However, dark marks can last for quite a while if caused by inflammatory acne (cystic lesions and nodules). This is because your skin treats inflammatory acne like an infection, sending immune signals to the affected area. Thus, PIH can result in dermal melanin when deposited inside the deeper layers of skin and it can take more than just one monthly epidermal cell-renewal process for these dark marks to disappear outside, on your skin’s surface.

Acne Scars

Acne scars usually run deeper as a result of damage that breaks down the support structure in the skin’s deeper layers— that is, the layer beneath the surface of your skin.

Moderate to severe acne that damages the skin’s inner layers can result in a deep scar that is visible on the surface of your skin.

As it turns out, we should’ve listened to Mom about not popping zits - it can injure your skin and turn a mild breakout into a permanent scar. Moderate to severe acne can break down collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of skin. This leaves an indented scar that needs special treatment from a dermatologist.

Picking pimples can cause deep acne scars.

Some of the types of permanent acne scars are:

Ice Pick Scars

Deeper than they are wide, with jagged edges, they can sometimes resemble large, scooped-out pores.

Boxcar Scars

Broad, rectangular depressions on your skin with steep, defined edges.

Rolling Scars

Broad depressions with rounded, sloping edges that reflect the name.

Well, now you know the difference between scars and marks. So what’s next? Let the experts from The Pond’s Institute show you how Pond’s Acne Clear can help reduce pimples/acne, and in effect the appearance of dark marks, so you’ll regain a clear, flawless complexion in just 3 days. Or, read more about the causes of acne.