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Acne Mark

Acne Marks vs. Acne Scars: Its Type and ways to manage it

Acne is a prevalent skin issue that impacts individuals across all age groups. While dealing with acne can be frustrating on its own, the enduring effects such as marks and scars can be equally disheartening. Understanding the difference between acne marks and acne scars, as well as knowing how to treat and prevent them, is crucial for achieving precise and healthy skin. In this blog, we will delve into the distinctions between acne marks and scars, explore the various types of each, and provide effective removal and prevention tips.


Acne Marks:

Acne marks, often referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or post-inflammatory erythema (PIE), are the discoloration or pigmentation changes left behind after an acne blemish has healed. Depending on the color of your skin, these marks can be red, pink, brown, or purple. The key characteristics of acne marks are:

Temporary: Acne markings harm the skin's upper layers, particularly the epidermis.

Surface-Level: The epidermis, which is the uppermost layer of skin, is affected by acne markings. They do not cause long-term damage to the deeper layers of skin.

Acne Scars:

Acne scars, on the other hand, are long-term textural alterations in the skin caused by collagen breakdown during the healing phase of severe acne lesions. Unlike acne marks, scars are more challenging to treat and often require more intensive interventions. The key characteristics of acne scars are:

Permanent: Acne scars are permanent and do not naturally fade away. They may improve in appearance with treatment, but they will not disappear entirely without medical intervention.

Deeper: Acne scars affect the deeper layers of the skin, including the dermis, which contains collagen and elastin fibers. This can result in textural irregularities such as indentations (atrophic scars) or raised areas (hypertrophic scars).

Types of Acne Scars

Depressed scars:- These are the scars that are located in deeper layers and are commonly seen around the cheeks as well as the forehead. They are difficult to remove.

Raised scars:- Neglected raised scar tissue resulting from the healing process of an acne cyst can potentially lead to the formation of a thick, sizable scar. This scar tissue developed as the cyst healed and is now protruding from the skin.

Discoloration:- Acne and Pimples can harm the skin cells at the cellular levels resulting in discoloration. This includes 3 types of coloration:-

Hyperpigmentation:- The overproduction of melanin in the skin cells is caused to restore the natural shine of the skin. This sometimes leaves the affected area with a blemish.

Hypopigmentation:- The pale-like area is developed to develop when the skin does not produce enough melanin. Hence, this causes different patches to occur on the skin.

Erythema:- The inflammation caused due to damaged skin cells is known as Erythema. It is frequently seen that patients with fair complexion have the tendency to have it more.

Acne Marks vs. Acne Scars


Acne Marks

Acne Scars


Temporary discoloration left after acne.

Permanent skin texture changes as the collagen is damaged during healing


Fades over time

Permanent scars that do not fade away naturally


Affects only the upper layer of the skin

Affects on the deeper level and affects the dermis


Might vary in color including red acne scars, pink, purple, or brown

Irregularities in the skin texture


Erythematous marks and Hyperpigmented marks

Atrophic Scars and Hypertrophic scars


Results from hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory erythema

Results from the loss of collagen during the healing process.



Permanent; may improve but won't disappear naturally



Prevention focuses on avoiding severe acne and minimizing picking or squeezing


How to treat acne marks?

How To Treat Acne Scars

Dealing with acne scars and hyperpigmentation can pose a difficulty, but there are various skincare components and items that can assist in gradually reducing these marks. It's worth mentioning that outcomes can differ from one individual to another, and the crucial factor is maintaining a regular application of these ingredients. Here are some helpful ingredients and steps for dealing with acne scars:

Sunscreen: Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Acne scars can worsen and become more obvious when exposed to the sun. Every morning, use sunscreen, even on overcast days.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like glycolic acid and lactic acid, can assist in the exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin, potentially leading to a reduction in the visibility of acne scars over time. You can find these ingredients in serums, toners, and exfoliating pads. Begin with a low concentration and gradually increase as your skin adjusts.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): Salicylic acid, a BHA that may enter pores, aids in internal pore exfoliation and lessens the visibility of acne marks. BHAs are often found in products like cleansers, toners, and spot treatments.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C, an antioxidant, can help to lessen and eliminate hyperpigmentation.Look for vitamin C-containing serums or lotions. These are best used in the morning.

Retinoids: Retinoids, such as retinol and prescription retinoids like tretinoin, can increase skin cell turnover and fade hyperpigmentation over time. Begin with a lower concentration and apply at night. Follow the directions and apply a moisturizer since they can dry.

Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 derivative that can help enhance skin texture and minimize the appearance of dark spots. It's gentle and can be used in the morning or evening.

Licorice Root Extract: This natural ingredient has skin-brightening properties and can be found in various skincare products.

Avoid Picking: Avoid picking at scabs or pimples because this can exacerbate marks and cause more scarring.

Take Aways

Managing acne marks and scars is a multifaceted process that involves understanding the differences between these two skin conditions and employing effective skincare strategies. Acne marks, characterized by temporary discoloration, can often be managed with patience, consistent sun protection, and the use of ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, and niacinamide. On the other hand, acne scars, which result from permanent collagen damage, may require more intensive treatments, such as retinoids, professional chemical peels, or even dermatological procedures.

The production of marks and scars can be minimized by practicing prevention. Maintaining a gentle skincare routine, avoiding harsh treatments, and refraining from picking at acne can help prevent further damage to the skin.


Q. How to treat acne marks?

Ans. To treat acne marks (PIH), start with sun protection using SPF 30+. Marks can be reduced using topical medications such as retinoids, vitamin C serums, and niacinamide. Dermatologists exfoliate the skin with chemical peels, and microneedling encourages the formation of collagen. Laser therapy options like fractional laser and IPL target and reduce marks. Chemical exfoliants with AHAs or BHAs assist in skin texture improvement. Consistency is key, and results may take time. Consult a dermatologist to create a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs and skin type. Always practice good skincare habits, such as gentle cleansing and avoiding picking or squeezing pimples, to prevent further marks.

Q. Does pimple marks go away naturally?

Ans. Pimple marks, specifically post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or redness, can gradually fade over time without any treatment. However, the timeline for natural fading can vary widely from person to person and depends on factors such as skin type, the severity of the pimple, and how well you care for your skin. It may take weeks to months for these marks to become less noticeable.

To speed up the process and help them fade more effectively, you can follow the skin care and treatment recommendations mentioned earlier, such as sun protection, topical products like retinoids and vitamin C, chemical exfoliation, and dermatological treatments. These interventions can significantly accelerate the fading of pimple marks and improve overall skin texture.

Q. Difference between dark spots and acne scars?

Ans. Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, stem from excess melanin production in response to skin inflammation or injury, appearing as flat, discolored patches. They're often caused by factors like acne, sun exposure, or hormonal changes. In contrast, acne scars arise due to damage to skin tissue during acne healing, presenting as either indented atrophic scars or raised hypertrophic scars. Dark spots tend to fade gradually over time, while acne scars may require specialized treatments like chemical peels, microneedling, or laser therapy for improvement. Proper skincare, sun protection, and dermatological advice can help manage both dark spots and acne scars, restoring clearer, smoother skin.

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