Even mild acne flares can leave behind red marks after they clear. This can be frustrating, as sometimes these marks look just as bad as the active acne. In fact, many people confuse the flat red marks for pimples, even though they are just marks left behind from the inflammation of the pimple. This phenomenon is called post-inflammatory erythema.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “The reddish spots left behind after acne clears are caused by post-inflammatory erythema. Post-inflammatory erythema can take up to a year to clear without treatment, and sometimes does not completely resolve in that time. Luckily, there are laser treatments available to speed up the process.” These laser treatments include red light therapy and the KTP laser.
Red light therapy is an in-office light treatment that can be performed on both active acne and post-inflammatory erythema. It is anti-inflammatory and contributes to skin renewal. Red light therapy is often used to treat acne acne and potentially decrease the chance of forming post-inflammatory erythema after the acne resolves.
The KTP laser is the best treatment for red marks from acne (post-inflammatory erythema.) The KTP laser is a vascular laser, which targets the hemoglobin (red cells) in the skin. It diminishes the appearance of redness on the skin after one to three treatments. Many patients notice a huge improvement in the red marks from acne after only one treatment. There is no downtime after the KTP laser. Some patients experience mild redness lasting an hour or two, but no real downtime.