Acne must be treated promptly, in order to avoid deep scars and hyperpigmentation that can form after even mild acne clear. Deep scars on the skin form due to imperfect healing of the skin’s surface after acne lesions resolve. But what are the dark spots that can be left behind even without a deep scar? These marks are called “post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.” Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when melanocytes, or pigmented producing cells, overproduce melanin in response to inflammation. Any patient can experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but it is most commonly seen in patients with skin of color.”
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be treated in a few different ways:
- Sometimes topical medications, such as hydroquinone or retinoids, are sufficient to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation
- A series of chemical peels can treat hyperpigmentation that does not respond to topical medications
- The most effective treatment for hyperpigmentation is laser resurfacing, with a laser called the Fraxel re:Store. A series of Fraxel Laser treatments can reduce the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while also smoothing out any deep scars left behind from old acne.
Click here to read more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and types of acne scars.