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When it comes to acne, some sufferers have more than just the acne to contend with. Not only do they hurt, but they can knock confidence and for some and after the pimple has gone, it can leave something to remember it by – an indented acne scar or darkened spot.

So, what is the difference between a dark spot and a scar?

Dark brown marks on your skin are actually not scars, but post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) marks left by mild to moderate acne breakouts. They are more common in people with darker skin and are caused by traumatized skin being exposed to the sunlight and will fade over time.

Acne scars are deep indentations of the skin that are caused by changes to tissue and they can appear after picking at a blemish – although this is not always the case. Experts believe that there are acne lesions that are prone to scarring, even if it is left completely alone. Genetics and your skin type can greatly affect whether you are prone to developing PIH or acne scars and unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to control these factors.

However, there are a few ways that can help reduce the chances of marks or scarring. If you are prone to PIH, it is recommended to wear daily sun protection (at least SPF 30) to protect yourself from sun exposure and UV rays as much as possible. Experts suggest that a non-pore-clogging sunscreen can have an important role and can prevent acne from leaving discolored marks. This is because spots only get worse if you are constantly being exposed to sunlight.

We’d also recommend not picking at your acne or blemishes and leaving them alone if you can!