It can be so frustrating that even when your skin is finally clear of active breakouts, you’re still left behind with dark spots or dents. Hyperpigmentation and acne scarring are both common ghosts of your acne past. While it’s easy to confuse the two, they’re actually different — as are their treatment methods. We’re here to clear up your confusion, and your spots!
The word hyperpigmentation is an umbrella term — meaning it refers to a huge variety of dark spots on the skin, including age spots, liver spots, and acne scarring. Unlike actual scars though, which are raised or dented on skin, hyperpigmentation is just a darker area of skin. While a breakout is still healing, these spots might start off as purple or red before fading into a darker tone of the surrounding skin.
These hyperpigmentation spots are caused when too much melanin is created on the skin’s outer layers. Usually, this extra melanin production is the skin’s response and attempt to protect or heal itself, like after a pimple. While some dark spots can fade over time, the fading process depends on two things: the origin of the spot and skin type. The good news is, there are tons of lightening and brightening products on the market designed specifically to alleviate hyperpigmentation of all kinds.
To start, there’s a wide variety of products like spot treatments, serums, masks, and more, made with a blend of potent ingredients like hydroquinone, retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid that will work to lighten and brighten spots. SLMD’s Dark Spot Fix is a lightweight gel created to improve and minimize the appearance of dark spots resulting from acne, melasma, and sun exposure. SLMD’s Retinol Serum is another product that can improve skin tone and texture by encouraging skin cell turnover overnight. In addition, applying sunscreen every day is a MUST. Sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation to darken and acne scars to worsen, adding more salt to the wound. Go for a 2-in-one product like SLMD’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, which doubles as a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum sunscreen, or a mineral-powdered sunscreen, like UV Bounce.
Understanding Acne Scars
Just like there are many different types of hyperpigmentation and dark spots, there are several different kinds of acne scars. Here are four of the most common scars:
Boxcar Scars: Shallow with sharper edges
Icepick Scars: Depressions in your skin due to a lack of collagen
Keloids: Discolored, bumpy and raised
Rolling Scars: Wavy and shallow texture
The way your skin scars depends both on your skin type and the type of breakout you most frequently get — papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts are the most common kinds of inflammatory acne that lead to scarring. You could experience several different types of acne scars, but it goes for all of them that the sooner you treat them, the better! Whereas topical treatments can be very effective for dark spots and hyperpigmentation, in-office procedures are likely a better resort to treat scars. For instance, cortisone shots work well for keloid scars, while laser and resurfacing treatments are ideal for icepick, rolling and boxcar scars. You can consult with your dermatologist to get a better idea of what will work best for you.
To Sum It Up
There’s no ultimate cure for acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, but the right products or treatments can be effective ways to improve and prevent them!