What are Pockmarks?
Pockmarks are a mark, pit, or depressed scar caused by a skin condition such as smallpox or acne.
Pockmarks can be caused by acne, bacterial infections, and infectious diseases such as smallpox.
Pockmarks caused by acne are categorized as atrophic, meaning indented, scarring.
Pockmarks on the face often cause the most concern because they are visible during social interactions and can cause low self-esteem.
There are treatments available, both at-home and at a professional dermatologist office, so there are ways to improve all types of facial scarring including pockmarked scarring.
What causes Pockmarks?
Pockmarks vs Indented acne scars vs pitted acne scars
Pockmarks, Indented acne scars, and pitted acne scars: How are they different?
Pockmarks are a type of pitted acne scar, both of which are categorized as indented acne scars.
All types of indented acne scarring forms due to extra, rushed collagen production while acne is healing. This results in hollow, indented scarring on the skin, which has different names including pitted scarring, ice-pick scarring and pockmark scarring, all of which are types of indented scarring.
Pitted scars tend to be the deepest and widest, ice-pick tend to be the deepest and narrowest, and pockmark scarring tends to be a collection of shallower scars all across an area of the face. All three of these scar types are indented, making them an atrophic scar type.
The other scarring category is a raised scar which includes hypertrophic and keloid scars.
There are multiple ways to remove or lessen the appearance of pockmarks:
- Microneedling: Microneedling, also known as Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), uses tiny, sharp needles to create hundreds of micro-channels in the skin. This needling process induces the skin to release growth factors and cytokines, producing more collagen and elastin, resulting in younger looking skin.
Microneedling is one of the most-studied procedures that can be done both at home using a derma-roller or derma-pen, or in a professional setting at a deeper level. It has been shown to improve the appearance of acne scars, and is even done to help improve the appearance of wrinkles, skin firmness, discoloration and stretch marks, because it triggers the skin’s ability to repair itself, something needed for skin appearance improvement.
Microneedling also creates temporary micro-holes in the skin that allow it to absorb healing product ingredients better including Vitamin C serum or copper peptide serum, both of which can be put on skin after microneedling to give the skin ingredients it needs to heal.
- Fillers: Fillers can be used in the skin, done in a professional setting, to make pockmark indents look smoother and more plump. This is dne by injecting a filler material into the skin to plump the indented area and make it appear more smooth. This is a temporary solution and needs to be re-done every few months. .
- Punch excision: Punch excision can be used on indented pockmark scarring and is most suited for boxcar pockmarked scarring. This needs to be done in a professional setting by a certified dermatologist as well.
- Chemical Peel A chemical peel is done by a professional dermatologist and works by removing the top layer of skin so healthy skin can regenerate underneath and can help improve the appearance of pockmarks.
- LaserThere are different types of laser treatments that can help with pockmark scarring. A licensed dermatogolist can tell you what would work best for your specific case.