“Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation” is a fancy term for those red or purplish marks that hang out after pimples go away, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne marks, which are commonly confused with permanent scars, are temporary skin discolorations.
Acne marks color can also be tan to dark brown especially if your complexion is darker. Although acne marks should fade on their own, they may not diminish for months, and you may want to take steps to fade them faster.
You should be wearing sunscreen every day anyway. However, if you haven’t made sun protection a habit yet, be forewarned that exposing acne marks to the sun may make them darker and more visible than before, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. To maximize protection from your sunscreen – and to avoid increasing your risk of new acne marks from oily lotion – apply an oil-free product that is broad-spectrum and has at least SPF 30. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including your neck, on a daily basis. Also, give it about 20 minutes to kick in before you step outdoors.
Cream that has the corticosteroid hydroquinone as an active ingredient can help lighten discolorations from acne. A non-prescription product should only contain up to 2 percent hydroquinone, and a prescription product can contain 4 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Steer clear of any product that doesn’t list its concentration of hydroquinone. Also, avoid any product that contains more than 2 percent hydroquinone, or else you may end up with severely discolored skin. If you get a prescription cream that has hydroquinone, it may also contain ingredients such as tretinoin. Other prescription acne mark fading products contain ingredients such as adapalene, tazarotene, and azelaic acid.
Other Treatment Options
Creams aren’t the only treatment that will help you get rid of acne marks. For example, your doctor may prescribe a series of at least four to six chemical peels to fade acne marks. Although you may find some chemical peels for sale at the store, they may not be effective at treating discolorations, and they may even cause irritation, warns the American Academy of Dermatology. Microdermabrasion is another potential option you may receive as a standalone treatment or with other treatments. A microdermabrasion machine sloughs off your top skin layer to reveal the healthier, smoother skin.
Keep in mind that most discoloration from acne marks tends to fade without any treatment. In the meantime, consider masking it with cosmetics. If your skin discoloration is lowering your quality of life or if your skin is getting progressively darker. A skin doctor can help you find the right form of fading treatment, according to MedlinePlus. Don’t try to treat acne marks without getting professional advice in advance.
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