Why is my Scar Darker Than my Normal Skin?

Why is my Scar Darker Than my Normal Skin?

Scarring can lead to rough texture in the skin, an increase of collagen bundles, and a lack of hair follicles or sweat glands. However, it may also create discoloration within the skin, with damaged tissue taking on a darker shade. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and it ranks among the most common effects of hypertrophic, keloid, and atrophic scarring.

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when a body’s cellular process is changed. Damaged tissue is detected and several chemical responses occur, with a sudden increase of collagen, protein, and melanin (the property that determines the color of a person’s skin, eyes, and hair). These elements are meant to heal the scar. However, they often trigger a sudden darkening of the skin.

Read More: Hyperpigmentation

How Does Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Affect Scars?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation directly targets scars, sending an excess of melanin to the damaged tissue. This causes instant discoloration, especially around the edges, and can create a variety of shades: brown, black, gray, or even red. Spotting, freckling, or patching can also occur.

It should be noted that no pain is associated with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Its effect on scars is purely cosmetic. However, those suffering from the condition may still wish to treat it.

What Solutions are Available for Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation has no cure, but it does have several treatments – all of which can lessen its severity and restore most of the skin’s original texture. These include:

Topical Scar Creams

Topical scar creams prove ideal for treating most post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation cases. They offer much-needed nutrients (such as Vitamin C) that penetrate the skin and restore balance to the melanin production cycle.

Chemical Peels

Those experiencing extreme post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may find topical creams lacking. Chemical peels may instead be needed to address the issue. These options remove layers of damaged skin, softening both the appearance of scars and the starkness of discoloration.


Ultra-violet rays can exacerbate the effects of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Those wishing to correct the issue must therefore protect their skin. Use lotions with high SPF counts and avoid extended exposure to the sun.

These methods have been proven as successful in the treatment post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. However, it is important to note that the healing process can never be guaranteed. Results will vary.

Hydroquinone: A Warning

A common treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is Hydroquinone. This skin-bleaching agent is meant to counter discoloration and lighten skin’s overall appearance, but these results come with a cost.

Hydroquinone has a high toxicity level. This means it can cause severe damage to the skin, including blistering, burn marks, new discoloration, and extreme tightness. While the product is legal and available without a prescription, it should be avoided. There are better, safer alternatives.

Read More: The Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Want to know more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation? Leave a comment! We’ll be happy to respond. Don’t forget to also subscribe to Scars and Spots. Our posts will be sent directly to your inbox.

The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


  1. How long does hypertrophic scar be completely healed and flattened out without treatment?

  2. how much time post hyperpigmentation take to fade if it has been there on face from 8 years??????
    ofcourrse by applying sunscreen and scar creams

  3. Everytime I get a cut, scrape, scratch, anything I heal with these dark marks and they never go away. I’m ashamed to show my skin. What’s the best most natural treatment?

    • Hi Shereta, we’re sorry to hear this. To fade dark marks, you’ll want to use a scar treatment with a stable form of Vitamin C. You’ll also want to make sure that any skin that is exposed to the sun is always protected with sunscreen as UV rays can continue to darken them (sometimes permanently.)

  4. Hi, I have a scar that I’ve had for about 7 years and sometimes it gets small sometimes it goes bigger.It doesn’t hurt at all, and it’s black. It’s little and forms a circle shape, I want to get rid of it what do I do ?

  5. I have these scares on my arm that are pretty bad and they are dark I have been putting cocoa butter on them but it doesn’t seem to be working. Please give me another solution.

  6. Hello,

    I have a very old scar from a burn that occurred about 10 years ago. It had faded to almost nothing and only recently suddenly turned dark brown. Should I be concerned?

  7. I did a hi fu treatment and burnt lesions on my face .this happened a month ago.was wondering whether I can use invisible and will the marks away .am desperate .

  8. Rohan Bhattacharjee says:

    I had a overexfoliated skin on my cheeks that was really bad and the upper layer of skin got damaged. But, the scar healed a lot and now new unharmed skin is formed on my cheeks on the affected part. But, the parr looks darker than usual skin. In 3-4 weeks time I’ve noticed the dark colour has faded a bit. Is it Post Inflammatory hyperpigmentation or something else and is it permanent ?

    • Hi Rohan, it sounds like during the healing process your body produced more melanin than it needed. You can fade this type of hyperpigmentation, but it takes time. We recommend InviCible Scars, 2x daily for 12 weeks, and you should also be wearing sunscreen as well, as UV rays will continue to darken it without protection.

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