Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Acne scars or hyperpigmentation? - Eugenie Brunner, M.D., F.A.C.S

Dealing with the aftermath of a breakout can be frustrating, especially when you’re left with new marks on your skin. Acne scars and hyperpigmentation are two common skin concerns that often accompany acne. While they may appear similar and persist for an extended period, they are distinct skin conditions with different underlying causes.

To help you distinguish between the two and find the best treatment options, we’re here to clear up the confusion to help you say goodbye to blemishes and hello to clearer, smoother, and healthier-looking skin.

What are acne scars?

Acne scars are marks that can occur once acne has healed. They often develop if you pick pimples or when deep blemishes (cystic acne) cause changes in the skin’s deeper layers after a pimple has almost healed. Acne scars present themselves as “ice pick,” “boxcar,” or “rolling,” depending on their depression. They develop when too little collagen is produced to heal the indented scars caused by inflammation. Acne scars may also develop when too much collagen is produced, leading to raised bumps.

What is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when a dark spot appears on the skin after a pimple disappears. It is caused by an increase in melanin in the skin’s outer layers. This response results in skin patches that are darker than they might otherwise be. Hyperpigmentation can appear red, purple, brown, white, pink, black, or brown, depending on your skin tone or the depth of the discoloration.

Acne scars vs hyperpigmentation

Acne scars involve textural changes to the skin’s surface that have nothing to do with the skin’s natural tone. Acne scars cause a pitted or depressed area or an overgrowth of tissue that leaves a raised scar. Hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, is flat. It is not depressed or raised, simply darker than its surrounding skin.

How to get rid of acne scars?

Dr. Brunner offers the following minimally-invasive devices to safely and effectively treat acne scars:

  • Clear + Brilliant – is a gentle laser resurfacing treatment that uses pulsating light beams to remove layers of damaged tissue caused by acne to reveal a smoother and clearer complexion.
  • FotoFacial IPL treatment – delivers pulsed light in different wavelengths, penetrating the deeper layers of the skin beneath acne scars without damaging the top layer.
  • Fraxel DUAL laser – combines 1550 nm and 1927 nm wavelengths to penetrate deeply into the skin to target acne scarring and improve skin tone and texture.
  • Fraxel Repair laser – penetrates deep into the skin to cause collagen remodelling and new collagen formation to improve deeper rolling acne scars and pigment irregularities.
  • Microneedling with PRP – uses microneedling to promote collagen production and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to accelerate healing, minimizing the appearance of scars and unwanted pigment.
  • Fractora RF/Morpheus 8 – combines microneedling and radiofrequency energy to renew the skin from the inside out. It stimulates collagen production to improve acne scarring.
  • PicoSure – delivers concentrated energy bursts in rapid pulses into the skin to break scar tissue into small pieces the body can absorb naturally
  • AdvaLight – uses high-powered yellow light in 589 nm and 1319 nm wavelengths to promote collagen production and treat various types of scarring.
  • Ellacor – has the potential for good improvement of acne scarring on cheeks by removing micro-cores of skin, which can remove some of the scarring and tighten the skin.

How to get rid of hyperpigmentation?

Dr. Brunner treats hyperpigmentation with the following devices:

  • Clear + Brilliant – is a gentle fractional laser that creates millions of microscopic treatment zones in the skin’s upper layers. It removes dead cells and stimulates collagen to effectively target skin tone and pigmentation.
  • Advalight laser
  • Varilite laser
  • PicoSure laser
  • FotoFacial IPL treatment – uses light energy to target melanin that’s causing skin discoloration. The heat penetrates the pigment particles to break and destroy their bonds. The damaged tissue sloughs off to reveal clearer skin with an even tone.
  • Fraxel DUAL laser – its 1927 nm wavelength effectively resurfaces the skin to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Fractora RF/Morpheus 8 – RF microneedling increases the cellular turnover rate and triggers collagen production, offering a comprehensive treatment that evens out skin tone and eliminates hyperpigmentation.

In addition, Dr. Brunner developed an exclusive line of skincare products, including a Skin Brightening & Hyperpigmentation solution.

Acne scars or hyperpigmentation? Ask a professional

Whether you are dealing with acne scars or hyperpigmentation, you can be confident that your skin condition can be treated. Achieve clearer skin with the help of a professional in Princeton, NJ.

Dr. Brunner is a facial rejuvenation expert who dedicates her time to helping patients achieve their aesthetic goals with a personalized treatment plan. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about the best treatment options for hyperpigmentation and acne scars.