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Acne Dark Spots

3 min read

Dark spots are one of the more distressing effects of acne breakouts.1 They result from inflammation in the skin which leads to overproduction of melanin pigment and makes skin appear darker than it should.

There are various treatments available to fade spots on the skin, including topical lighteners such as hydroquinone, tranexamic acid, glycolic acid and kojic acid.

Acne Treatments

Acne dark spots are typically caused by inflammation. As your skin recovers from healing, more melanin is produced which darkens the area; this phenomenon is known as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and more common among those with darker complexions.

There are various methods available to treat acne dark marks and prevent them from reappearing, both over-the-counter and with prescription. An exfoliating cleanser combined with noncomedogenic moisturizer may help stop new dark spots from forming, while serums containing lightening ingredients like niacinamide or tranexamic acid can brighten skin to even out complexion and even out any spots or dark patches that have already appeared.

Hydroquinone-containing spot treatments may help diminish the appearance of dark spots; however, results may take several months. It’s also important to avoid picking at pimples and use broad spectrum sunscreen daily in order to lower risk of further hyperpigmentation. Dr. Green offers various skincare products from her line MGSKINLABS that may help diminish acne dark marks while also improving uneven skin tone.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

If your blemishes are unresponsive to over-the-counter treatments, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who can evaluate your skin and prescribe prescription-strength medicines that may help clear away dark spots.

Munavalli recommends topical retinol creams for unclogging pores and decreasing inflammation, and four percent benzoyl peroxide washes to combat bacteria growth. She further advises exfoliation at least twice each week using products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or glycolic acid in order to help fade scarring.

Hadley King of New York City-based dermatology suggests this bi-phase formula designed to address brown spots and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation without irritating the skin. It features pro-retinol, niacinamide and hexylresorcinol for lightening dark marks; vitamin E and lactic acid to improve tone and texture; as well as tranexamic acid for even skin color and diminishing red marks.

Medical Treatments

If your skin has dark marks left by acne scars, it is essential that you seek help from a dermatologist for treatments to lessen their appearance. Hypertrophic scars (keloids) develop when an irritation to the surface causes more pigment to gather within its structure – these scars require more intensive treatments such as injections of steroids or V-Beam laser treatments than marks alone.

Flat, non-raised acne dark spots known as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation tend to fade over time on their own; this process usually takes months. Products suitable for your skin tone such as lightening creams containing active ingredients like niacinamide and tranexamic acid may help accelerate this process, as can chemical peel procedures or microdermabrasion treatments; other medical solutions like tretinoin or hydroquinone may be prescribed in order to lighten and brighten skin and fade acne marks faster.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels enhance facial skin by exfoliating its damaged outer layers, helping treat wrinkles, uneven tone and sun damage. There are several types of facial peels with differing intensities and costs; most cosmetic procedures do not fall under insurance coverage.

Light chemical peels target only the outermost layer of skin – the epidermis – for wrinkles, dryness and uneven skin tone issues. They also help thin out your skin to make other facial treatments more effective; you may require repeat treatments until desired effects are seen.

Deeper chemical peels utilize stronger acids like TCA or phenol, mixed with croton oil for treatment of moderate to severe uneven skin tone, blotchy pigmentation, sun damage scarring and scarring from acne or other conditions. While this treatment option offers greater results for uneven tone issues than its predecessors, side effects may increase, particularly among individuals with darker skin tones.

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