Some people develop dark marks – brown or red stains without skin indentation or holes – after acne spots have healed. This is known as macular hyperpigmentation (MH). These spots are not acne scars.
This long-lasting condition can be treated more easily and effectively than true scarring.
If acne is still active, your dermatologist or family doctor can help direct you to more intensive treatments to reduce the inflammation more quickly. This may require prescription topical medications (those containing azelaic acid and retinoids are helpful in both acne and MH), or pills such as antibiotics, hormones, or oral isotretinoin.
Dermocosmetic ingredients to reduce MH also include vitamin C, niacinamide, kojic acid, hydroquinone (low concentration, 2%, and not to be used continuously for more than 6 mths), tranexamic acid, alpha and beta hydroxyacids, bakuchiol, arbutin. Newer ingredients may soon be available.
Procedural therapies may also help: acne facials and chemical peels, intense pulse light, and lasers including fractional non-ablative.
Test your acne knowledge. You may be surprised at some of the answers…