Acne is complicated, to say the least. There’s seemingly no limit to the different ways it can manifest, or the various hard-to-diagnose causes. There’s also the aftermath of a breakout, which can result in hyperpigmentation and acne scars. The two are often confused, but dermatologists say that’s nowhere near the truth. “Many of my patients come in and refer to their dark spots as acne scars when it’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, M.D. “The difference is in texture.”
Dr. Hartman explains that acne scarring occurs when nodulocystic acne — the big, often painful kind — creates scar tissue that pulls down the skin. “We usually call these icepick scars,” says Hartman. “You can tell the difference if there is a noticeable texture when you rub your skin. That is true scarring.” Hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, is discoloration of the skin that generally remains smooth to the touch without raised texture.
Hyperpigmentation and acne scarring can coexist, however, which is why those with dark complexions should be extra careful when treating scars to avoid unwanted pigmentation. Ahead, we spoke to dermatologists who specialize in dark skin about the best methods for treating your acne scars. Continue to read.