Acne can affect nearly 50 million Americans yearly. People of all skin types and complexions are affected by it. Acne is often followed by dark spots or patches called hyperpigmentation, for people with skin of color. Luckily, dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology state there are lots of things people with skin of color can try at home to help clear their acne, as well as the dark spots that remain afterward.
"Acne is the most prevalent condition of the skin in the U.S., and it can be especially frustrating for people with skin of color as discoloration and scarring that can occur after pimples heal," reports board-certified dermatologist Crystal Aguh, MD, FAAD.
For these purposes, it's important to treat acne in skin of color carefully and avoid skin care products that can intensify discoloration.
- Keep your hands off: Avoid picking, squeezing, and popping your acne, leading to scarring. This is mainly important for darker skin tone people, as they are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Choose your skincare products carefully: Try products containing benzoyl peroxide, retinoid or salicylic acid to treat mild acne. Choose non-comedogenic products which doesn't clog the pores that lead to breakouts.
- Be gentle when washing your face: Pick a mild cleanser that won't clog the pores, and use only your fingertips to clean and rinse your face, as vigorously scrubbing will worsen your acne.
- Skip heavy, oily makeup: While you may notice that these makeup products efficiently hide dark spots, they can close your pores, causing new blemishes. Hence, choose makeup labeled "non-comedogenic" instead.
- Protect your skin from the sun: Sun protection can help decrease the dark spots that occur after breakouts. Always protect your skin from the sun by applying a sunscreen with a good amount of SPF.
- Try skin-lightening products on dark spots: Skin-lightening products could help speed up fading. Ingredients like retinoids, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, or kojic acid are a great pick for skin-lightening.
It is essential to be patient when treating acne, as it can take at least four to eight weeks to see good improvement after using a topical acne medication if no improvement is seen talking to a board-certified dermatologist, who can create a treatment plan tailored for you.