One of the most frustrating aspects of acne is that once a pimple has resolved, it often leaves a mark behind. At the Clear Clinic, we refer to hyperpigmentation as the ‘ashes after the fire.’ The pimple goes away, but a spot of excess pigmentation remains on the skin. Its impossible to determine whether hyperpigmentation will develop after each individual pimple remains. For this reason, it is important to treat all acne lesions promptly, in order to do our part to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Schweiger notes that, “Hyperpigmentation is more commonly seen in patients with skin of color. When more melanin, or pigmented, cells are present in the skin, they are more likely to produce excess pigmentation after an inflammatory insult to the skin. For this reason, we often recommend topical medications that treat hyperpigmentation as they address acne and in-office treatments that reduce hyperpigmentation while getting rid of acne.”
If hyperpigmentation does develop, there are ways that these spots can be lightened. Topical medications, such as retinoids and hydroquinone, can be applied directly to the skin. In-office treatments, such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing, also play a large role in treating hyperpigmentation after acne. We often combine in-office treatments with at-home treatments, to get the best results and fastest improvement of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
There is no way to predict whether you will develop hyperpigmentation after you treat a pimple, so it is important to keep in mind how to prevent hyperpigmentation and how to treat it if it does appear on your skin.