Do you know the difference between an acne scar and a post-acne mark?
After you get rid of acne and get clear skin, you may still have acne scars and post acne marks. How do you treat them for flawless skin?
What Are Acne Scars and Post Acne Marks?
Once you’ve cleared your acne, you may still find dark spots on your face or even textured areas where the surface of your skin has changed. These are acne scars and post acne marks. In order to treat and prevent them, the first step is to understand the difference between an acne scar and a post acne mark.
About Post Acne Marks
Post acne marks are dark spots that don’t cause a change in skin texture. In technical terms, they’re areas of heightened pigmentation. They’re also sometimes referred to as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, since most post acne marks are the result of inflammatory acne. Post acne marks form as a result of the depth of an inflamed acne lesion. The deeper the inflammation goes, the darker the resulting area of hyperpigmentation will be (and the longer it will take to fade). There are two distinct kinds of post acne marks.
- Macules: Also called “pseudo-scars,” these are flat red or reddish spots that are essentially the final stage of most inflamed acne blemishes. After an inflamed acne blemish flattens, the macule may remain for up to six months. However, it does eventually disappear, and you can effectively speed up the fading process with a product such as Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel.
- Post-Inflammatory Pigmentation: This is the discoloration of the skin at the site of a healed (or healing) inflamed acne blemish. It is more common on individuals with darker skin and may last up to 18 months if left untreated.
What’s the Key Difference Between a Post Acne Mark and an Acne Scar?
A post acne mark is an area of changed pigmentation that will appear darker on your skin. It doesn’t change the texture of your skin by creating a pit or pocked area. If you have dark spots on your skin without a change in texture, then you have a form of post acne marks. However, if there’s been a change in skin texture, then you have an acne scar and should read the section on post acne scars. The good news if you have post acne marks is that they are temporary and will fade with the right skin care product regimen and time.
How Can You Prevent Post Acne Marks?
The size and color of your post acne marks will largely be determined by the severity of your inflamed acne. Ultimately, the best way to prevent post acne marks is to minimize and eventually clear your acne breakouts with an effective acne regimen. However, while you’re experiencing acne breakouts, don’t pick at your blemishes, which will increase your chances of getting post acne marks. Use a healthy and effective acne regimen to reduce the size and severity of your blemishes. When it comes to post acne marks (and acne scars) prevention is the best defense. If you do develop post acne marks though, here are some tips for fading them away.
Fading and Minimizing Pigmentation: Several ingredients have been shown to lighten and fade skin. Murad’s post acne spot remover, Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel, contains Hydroquinone. Hydroquinone, the strongest skin lightener that you can get without a prescription, works by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme that causes tanning and pigmentation.
Exfoliating the Top Layer of Skin: Use antioxidants, AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate the top layer of your skin so that the pigment-free skin beneath your post acne mark makes its way to the surface more quickly. There is an entire range of products to encourage skin exfoliation, including Murad’s Intensive Resurfacing Peel, which features Glycolic and Salicylic Acid, and Murad’s Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask, which contains natural fruit enzymes and AHAs.
No matter how light or dark your post acne marks are, fading and removing them is the last step of any successful acne treatment plan. After all, what’s the point of getting rid of acne and getting clear skin if your skin will still be dotted with post acne marks?
About Acne Scars
Unlike post acne marks, acne scars actually change the texture of the skin. Inflammatory acne is, essentially, a wound on the skin—though in this case, the wound typically begins deep beneath the skin. Just as a cut or other injury can cause a scar, severe inflammatory acne can also create scars. Unfortunately, since most acne breakouts occur on the face, acne scars are often highly visible. Unlike post acne marks, however, acne scars can’t be faded, since they alter the skin’s texture beneath the top layer of skin. There are five common types of acne scars.
- Ice Pick Acne Scars: Ice pick scars are among the most common types of acne scars and are narrow scars that form pits in the skin.
- Boxcar Acne Scars: Boxcar scars are similar to chicken pox scars and have angular, well-defined edges that make them appear like a box. They create an indentation in the skin and are most often found on the temples or cheeks.
- Rolling Acne Scars: Rolling scars create an indentation in the skin that looks like a wave, due to its wide size and shallow depth.
- Hypertrophic Acne Scars: Hypertrophic scars create a raised area on the skin within the boundary of the original wound. Unlike most acne scars, these can diminish in size and appearance over time.
- Keloid Acne Scars: Keloid scars create a raised area on the skin that extends beyond the boundary of the original wound. Keloid scars are rubbery, firm and sometimes itchy. In many instances, they grow to be larger than the original inflamed blemish.
How Can You Prevent Acne Scars?
Ultimately, the best way to prevent acne scars is to minimize and eventually clear your acne breakouts with an effective acne regimen. However, while you’re experiencing acne breakouts, don’t pick at your blemishes, which will increase your chances of getting acne scars.
How Do You Treat and Get Rid of Acne Scars?
Acne scarring is a complex dermatological issue and should only be treated by a professional dermatologist. If you’re suffering from acne scars as a result of inflammatory acne, consult with a professional dermatologist. With modern technology, there are many ways to minimize the appearance of your acne scars, including laser treatment. However, only a dermatologist has the expertise to get rid of acne scars. Ready to learn more? Next we’ll discuss acne spot treatments.
Ready to learn more? Next we’ll discuss acne spot treatments.
What Did You Just Learn About Acne Treatment Products?
In this section of the Murad Acne Resource Guide, you should have learned the following key points:
- Post acne marks and acne scars are flaws on the skin that may remain after acne breakouts heal.
- Post acne marks are dark spots or areas of hyperpigmentation that don’t change the texture of the skin.
- The best way to get rid of a post acne mark is to use a skin lightening treatment along with an exfoliating treatment.
- An acne scar causes an actual change in texture of the skin.
- To treat acne scars, you should consult a professional dermatologist.
- The best way to prevent acne scars and post acne marks is to take care of your skin, control breakouts and make your skin as healthy as it can be. However, if you suffer from acne, you can reduce your chances of getting post acne marks and scars by not picking at your blemishes.
Acne Treatment Product Resources
In addition to the product recommendations included in this section, you may find the following Murad products helpful in your acne treatment program.
Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel
Hydroquinone, the strongest skin-lightening agent available without a prescription, fades the appearance of post acne marks until they disappear.
Murad Intensive Resurfacing Peel
Salicylic and Glycolic Acids exfoliate away the top layer of your skin until the clear, pigment-free skin beneath your post acne mark comes to the surface.