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Does acne in someone with darker skin have to be treated differently?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

Dark skin has a slightly different healing process and tends to be more sensitive when it comes to acne, so it can be more difficult to treat. This type of skin is more prone to developing dark marks ( Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) from pimples and from topical acne medications like benzoyl peroxide. Consequently, oral acne medications such as antibiotics or Accutane work better for patients whose dark skin tends to pigment easily. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) will gradually fade over time. To accelerate the process, a light chemical peel (one with glycolic acid, which is gentler on sensitive skin) exfoliates the scarring from the skin. Combination therapy with acne medication and lasers is another good option. More than ever, you need to have an experienced doctor do your laser treatments (since this too can cause PIH), and it is recommended, before having laser done on your face, having small test spots done first to make sure that your skin is compatible with the laser technology.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.