Tarana Burke

Pockmarks, also called pick marks, refer to deep craters, holes or indentations in the skin that occur when the deep layers of the skin are damaged.

Severe cystic acne, chickenpox, or infections leave scar tissue that is very noticeable. This skin condition causes some people to be self-conscious or depressed.

Famous people who have this condition include feminist activist Tarana Burke (pictured above), reality TV star NeNe Leakes and actors Laurence Fishburne and Edward James Olmos.

What Causes Pockmarks?

Cystic acne occurs when the skin produces excess sebum, which clogs pores and causes zits and pimples. Popping the pimples may lead to pockmarks scars. Other factors include chickenpox, which leaves blisters on the skin. If the blisters are popped or scratched, deep scarring may occur.

Skin infections may result if the pimples or blisters become infected with staphylococcus bacteria that normally lives on the skin. Staph usually does not cause problems unless the skin is broken.

What Are Treatment Options for Pockmarks?

Skin Peels

Your doctor may suggest several treatment options for your individual case. Many people opt for chemical peels to reduce the scarring. A layer of acid or enzyme is applied to the skin surface which causes the scarred skin to lift and peel off. New skin regenerates to replace the old, scarred skin.

Dermabrasion achieves the same results as skin peels without using chemicals. A rotating wire brush is passed over the skin to scrape away the top layers. A local anesthetic is used to receive pain. In some cases, if the patient is prone to keloids, the dermabrasion will cause more scars and put the patient at risk of infection.

Tiny crystals are used to scrub away the outer layers of skin. This treatment works best for smaller scars.
Dermal fillers

This treatment uses injections of fillers to fill in and lift pockmarks to the level of the rest of the skin surface.

Click here to see other treatment options for pockmarks.
Home Remedies

Female patients should avoid wearing any makeup. Use over-the-counter moisturizers, butters and oils to soften the skin. Masks and OTC peels may stimulate new skin growth. Moisturize the skin with cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil, hempseed oil, rosehip oil, and olive oil.

Always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before trying home remedies. Always test your skin by applying oil or butters to a small patch of skin first before using it regularly.

This has been your Medical Minute.


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