Special care must be taken when treating acne in patients with darker skin tones. Acne causes inflammation on the skin, which can often result in the production of excess pigment, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Additionally, it is important to visit a clinician experienced in treating patients with skin of color, as laser and light based acne treatments often need to be adjusted to be suitable for darker skin types. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Nearly all acne treatments are helpful for patients with darker skin tones, but special care must be taken in order to address the unique concerns of darker skin types. Pigmentation is a much greater concern, as patients with skin of color form areas of excess pigmentation on their skin much more easily.”
Medications, such as Finacea (azeleic acid) and Tazorac (tazarotene), not only treat acne, but they simultaneously lighten areas of excess pigmentation. Patients with skin of color who are experiencing acne can often benefit greatly from these medications. Additionally, laser and light-based treatments can be very helpful for patients with acne, as they can often produce a faster and more dramatic result than prescription medications alone. Treatments like LED light, Isolaz acne treatment, and Photodynamic Therapy can safely be performed on patients with darker skin tones, as long as proper precautions are taken. Chemical peels are another helpful way to treat acne in skin of color; many chemical peels can safely be used for acne treatments for darker skin tones, and will also help to improve hyperpigmentation.