Pockmarks are hyper-pigmented patches (black spots/blemishes) and depressed scars due to incomplete healing of deep tissue on the face caused due to skin infections, old acne, chickenpox and other skin irritations. These marks can be quite severe for some people; however, there are several different treatments and home remedies to eliminate stubborn pockmarks. This guide will help you understand the treatment options and modalities for pockmarked skin.
Understanding Pockmarks: What are Pockmarks?
If you have a pockmarked face, it’s important to understand exactly what this is and why it appears on the skin. Also known as pick marks, these acne scars form concave dips on the skin. When the under layers of the skin get damaged, they form indentations. These dips look like tiny holes and make the skin appear bumpy. As the damaged layers of skin start to heal, they produce collagen that may not match the rest of the skin, and as a result, they look like tiny dark spots.
Because of this, pockmarked skin is visibly different from normal skin and people with this skin condition may feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious.
What Causes Pockmarks?
As these pick marks appear due to regeneration of damaged skin, there are numerous causes for this damage. By identifying pockmark causes, one can take preventive measures for the same. Some of the main causes of pockmarked skin are as follows:
The most common cause of pockmarks is acne and pimples. Acne is a result of excess oil and sebum production of the skin caused due to hormonal changes, genetics, or certain lifestyles. When these pimples pop or if you tamper with acne, it leaves scars and pockmarks after healing. That’s why it’s vital to leave pimples alone. Severe cases of acne, though, can still leave acne pockmark scars on the skin.
Another reason for this skin condition is the buildup of bacteria in the skin’s pores. Bacteria in the hair follicles can cause swelling, which later leaves marks on the skin. Marks from blisters or even sharp cuts from razors can cause pockmarks.
Diseases like chickenpox or smallpox are characterized by itchy pimples that leave scabs after healing. This too causes pockmarks, especially if one scratches the scabs before they heal completely.
Precautions to Take to Avoid Pockmarks
One way to avoid pockmarks is to use proper skincare for your skin type. For oily skin, opt for products with salicylic acid, sulfur and benzyl peroxide. For dry skin, choose products with nourishing ingredients and oils. Maintaining a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables and staying hydrated also keeps acne and infections away. Besides this, using sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage is also beneficial.
For pockmark removal, there are many treatments and methods available. Besides various home remedies for pockmarks, there are also medical pockmark treatments. Some of the best treatments are as follows:
Chemical peels: pockmark home remedies
One of the best pockmarks home remedies is applying chemical peels on the affected areas of the skin. The acid and enzymes from the peels help to reduce the appearance of marks. The exfoliators sink into the damaged skin layers and promote regeneration of skin cells. It also improves the skin’s texture; however, this needs to be applied regularly for best results.
OTC scar removal treatments
There are many over-the-counter treatments for pockmarks and scars. They work by hydrating the skin and include oils like rose-hip seed oil or tea tree oil, which are known to reduce the appearance of scars and prevent acne. OTC treatments are generally available in a typical pharmacy and are better suited for those with a mild case of pockmarks. Beware of product side effects like redness or itching.
Facial massages promote blood circulating in the skin, and this reduces inflammation, drains away toxins and improves skin texture. While it doesn’t totally eliminate pockmarks, it’s a good remedy to aid the skin’s overall complexion. Dermabrasion
This is a medical procedure that involves skin resurfacing using a sanding machine. It is performed after administering general or local anesthesia and aims to remove the skin’s epidermis and middle layer to reveal smooth skin. It’s not as effective for very deep scars and may also cause side effects later on, like enlarged pores, new scars, blotchy skin or infections.
Microdermabrasion is another alternative to dermabrasion. This treatment is also known as collagen-induction or needling. It only removes the top layers of the skin to reduce pockmarks and is performed with crystals of aluminum oxide and bicarbonate. It’s a very effective treatment for small scars.
Fillers or fat-based collagen can also be recommended to treat pockmarks. They are injected into the skin for a plumping effect so that the tiny holes get lifted to the normal skin level. This treatment is not permanent and lasts for about 5 months to a year.
This treatment involves pricking the pockmarks with tiny needles so that when it starts to heal, more collagen will be produced to fill up the marks. These treatments will have to be repeated frequently, but they provide very visible results within a span of a year.
Ablative laser resurfacing
This is the most invasive treatment for pockmarked skin and involves removing several layers of the skin with a laser beam. It takes a few weeks to heal; however, the results are fairly long-lasting. There are also side effects like redness, swelling and infections that need to be managed.
Non-ablative laser resurfacing
This pockmark removal treatment focuses on stimulating collagen production to minimize the marks. It’s not as intense as laser resurfacing but takes less time to heal.
This treatment is devoid of side effects and is done using a punch tool designed to be bigger than the scar. It removes the pockmarks; though, it leaves a lighter scar behind.
Based on the intensity of your pockmarks, a dermatologist or skin specialist can recommend appropriate action. Home remedies like moisturizing oils and creams may be all you require. In case of severe skin conditions, any of the above treatments may be recommended. Ultimately, skin scarring and marks are a condition faced by numerous people, and if you experience the same, there’s no need to worry.
Just consult with a dermatologist and practice a good skin-care routine to start seeing results.