Do you notice dark spots or scars on your skin that show up after a breakout? Sometimes, they can be more distressing than acne itself. No one wants to walk around being self-conscious about visible red areas on their face. Acne scars and hyperpigmentation are to blame.
Although the two conditions seem similar, they’re very much different from each other. That’s why we’re here, not only to help you clear up your acne scars and hyperpigmentation but also your confusion between the two.
What is Hyperpigmentation (PIH)?
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is characterized by dark spots or marks left behind after acne heals. It is one of the main types of hyperpigmentation resulting from injury, sun damage, or hormonal changes.
PIH looks like a flat area of discoloration on your skin with varying depths. Depending on your skin tone, the colors can range from black, brown, purple, red, pink, and white. This discoloration following an inflammatory wound is the skin’s natural response to inflammation.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a common condition that can develop on all skin types. It affects both women and men equally.
However, those with medium to dark complexions are more prone to severe and longer-lasting PIH. This is because they have increased levels of melanin in their skin. Melanin is the brown pigment responsible for giving skin its color.
PIH can be more or less permanent. In some cases, however, PIH can fade away over time even without any treatment. It can take three to 24 months for dark spots to fully fade, or it can take longer than that.
The length of time it takes for hyperpigmentation to fade depends on how dark your spots are compared to the surrounding skin. If there’s a bigger contrast between the discoloration and the natural skin tone, PIH will take longer to fade.
Acne Scars vs Hyperpigmentation
Although acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can both develop after a breakout, they are very distinct from each other.
How They are Different/The Causes of Each
Raised acne scars occur when there is excessive production of collagen in a spot while the wound is healing. These scars often develop within the dermis, where the acne inflammation was formed.
Touching and squeezing spots can also create acne scarring. This action damages the small veins, tissues, and glands surrounding the spots.
There are several kinds of acne scars. The most common ones include the following:
- Boxcar: Wide, U-shaped scars with sharper edges. They can either be shallow or deep.
- Icepick: Scars that look like small round or oval holes. These narrow, V-shaped scars go deep into the skin, making them difficult to treat.
- Rolling scars: Wide depressions with rounded edges. These scars have an irregular, wavy appearance.
- Keloids: Bumpy, raised, and discolored scars
The scars you develop depend on your skin type and the kind of breakout you frequently get. The most common types of inflammatory acne that lead to scarring include papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Unlike acne scars, hyperpigmentation is not considered a true form of scarring because there is no damage to the follicle. The darkening of the skin develops when damage or irritation causes the skin to become inflamed.
The causes of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are acne, atopic dermatitis, impetigo, allergic reactions, trauma, and phototoxic reactions. Some drugs and systemic diseases can also cause hyperpigmentation.
The skin produces too much melanin to protect and heal itself. As a result, the excess melanin darkens and discolors the skin. The spots in the surrounding skin can start off as red or purple before fading into a darker tone.
You Can Have Both
It is possible to have both acne scars and hyperpigmentation after a breakout. However, these two skin concerns require different treatments.
Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of acne scar hyperpigmentation. With at-home treatments, you can improve the appearance of acne scars and lighten dark spots.
The Best Treatments for Acne Scars
Below you will read about the two best ways to treat acne scars. However, by doing both treatments together, the results of your acne scar treatments will be magnified.
Microneedling is one of the most popular professional treatments for acne scarring. Thanks to derma rollers, you can have the benefits of microneedling at home. This process involves the insertion of fine needles into the skin that surrounds the scarring. Microneedling stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
When microneedling, you want to use a high quality derma roller that has the appropriate length needles so that you can repair your skin, not cause further damage. The ElumeStemCell Derma Roller uses stainless steel needles that are .5 millimeters long, which is the perfect length to treat many skin concerns.
For a more in-depth explanation on how to derma roll your acne scars, read our blog post here.
ElumeStemCell Hydra Serum
ElumeStemCell’s Hydra Serum contains polypeptides which helps with skin repair. Polypeptides are made up of amino acids that encourage the production of elastin and increase cell turnover. Not only does this repair the acne-scarred skin, but it strengthens it as well.
The Hydra Serum will give you professional facial results from the comfort of your home. The Hydra Serum Applicator has two capsules depending on your concern. The microneedle capsule is recommended for treating deep wrinkles, sagging skin, and scars. On the other hand, the mesh capsule contains nanotechnology and is recommended for targeting elasticity, aging skin, and discoloration. Read this blog post to learn how easy it is to use the Hydra Serum Applicator to treat your acne scars yourself.
The Best Treatment for Hyperpigmentation
ElumeStemCell Daily Illuminating Face Serum
Like we mentioned earlier, hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin, not the scarring of the skin, which is great news! This means that hyperpigmentation can be treated by focusing on repairing the damaged skin and brightening the skin.
Restoring damaged skin is not a one-and-done problem. To properly repair damaged skin, you need to consistently nourish it, while avoiding the initial cause of damage or irritation. We recommend using ElumeStemCell’s Daily Illuminating Face Serum for its restorative properties such as matrix proteins, natural hyaluronic acid and cytokines, which also help brighten your skin.
One of the best parts about the Daily Illuminating Face Serum is that not only is it suitable for all skin types, but that it is gentle enough to be used everyday. This means that by making ElumeStemCell part of your daily routine, you will be treating your hyperpigmentation with a nutrient-dense serum every single day, with minimal effort!
If you are looking for an occasional-use product to treat your hyperpigmentation, we recommend the Hydra Serum as well. Because the Hydra Serum is concentrated with such powerful regenerative properties, it is helpful in treating multiple skin concerns, leaving your skin brighter and healthier after each treatment.
Say Goodbye to Acne Scars & Hyperpigmentation With ElumeStemCell
Although skin discoloration is commonly thought as just one problem, acne scars and hyperpigmentation are two different conditions. But, you don’t have to keep suffering with red blemishes as there are options to help you reduce acne scars and fade dark spots.Using a derma roller to microneedling with a quality skin serum like the Hydra Serum enhances the results you will see when you treat your acne scars. The microneedling creates openings that allow topically applied skin products to be better absorbed. For hyperpigmentation, consistent use of a brightening product like the Daily Illuminating Face Serum will help you on your way to healthy, glowing skin.