What You Can Do Now
Its important to be patient with your acne treatment. While some treatments may work immediately, you may not see widespread improvement for several months You should also use caution in using too many acne products at once this can cause dry skin. In response, your pores can create more sebum, then leading to more acne issues.
You should also confirm whether any bumps or swelling are actually the result of acne. There are several skin conditions that cause symptoms similar to those with acne, though they are something entirely different. These include:
What Is Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or PIH, is a type of skin discoloration that commonly occurs after an inflammatory skin condition such as a rash, acne, or other wound. Patients with skin of color are much more prone to developing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation after experiencing an acne breakout. After a blemish subsides, patients often see a brown or black spot that affects the texture of the skin. For many, this mark is temporary: patients who see red spots or swelling are typically noticing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is a temporary mark caused by irritation from an acne infection on the surface of the skin. The skin reacts sensitively to the injury that is caused by excess oil production and bacteria, and thus creates a red, pink, tan or brown mark behind.
However, for some who suffer from dark spots due to acne, the dark spot can have either an atrophic or hypertrophic appearance. These acne scars can cause unwanted discoloration that, if not treated by an expert dermatologist, can be permanent. Particularly for patients who experience hypertrophic scars or keloids, working with a thoughtful medical professional such as Dr. Green can make all the difference in addressing acne scars without irritating the surrounding skin.
Special Acne Treatment Tips For People With Black Skin
1. Look for micronized benzoyl peroxide. This type of benzoyl peroxide penetrates better into the skin pores and thus is more effective and less irritating to your skin.
2. Never pick, pop, or squeeze or acne pimples. These will increase your risk of getting dark spots and scars.
3. If you have many pimples on your forehead, near your hairline, or over your temple,s you will need to change your hair care routine. Look for hair care products that contain water or glycerin instead of oil.
4. If you must use hair gel, use it only in the middle of your scalp and the tips of your hair.
5. Never apply cocoa butter or shea butter on your face, back, or chest. These products can clog your pores and cause more acne breakouts.
6. Try to avoid thick, oily makeup. It may be an effective way to hide blemishes, but these makeups will frequently worsen your acne. The best makeups for dark acne-prone skin would be mineral makeups that are clearly labeled “oil-free,””non-comedogenic or “for acne-prone skin.”
7. Stop using harsh exfoliators or elector skin brushes. These will damage the protective layer of your skin and will actually cause more breakouts and more brown spots. The best way to wash your face is with a medicated mild cleanser and your bare hands.
8. Always pat dry your skin with a clean towel.
9. Beware of baseball caps, headbands, or any other hats that rub on your skin. If you do not wash them frequently, they will accumulate sweat, dirt, and oil to cause more acne.
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Distinguishing Different Types Of Acne
There aremany common types of acne. Identifying the type of acne that is present on yourskin will help to ensure that you treat it with the use of the most appropriateand effective method. Keep in mind that acne types tend to be organized intotwo categories, inflammatory and non-inflammatory. It can be useful to help youidentify the different types of acne by paying attention to whether your acneis inflamed or not.
Common Causes Of Acne
Understandingthe various causes of acne can aid in preventing acne from arising. In somesituations, acne is simply a result of genetics. If your parents had an issuewith acne, it is more likely that you will also have an issue with acne. Whencertain bacteria types are present on the skin, it can also lead to thedevelopment of acne. Too much oil production causes pores to become clogged,which allows acne to develop. An excess amount of the androgen hormone, as wellas other hormone fluctuations can lead to acne. Many people think that stressis one of the main causes of acne. Though it certainly can increase thelikelihood of acne, this is in a more roundabout manner. When you are morestressed, your skins oil production is likely to increase. This means that itis more likely that pores will become clogged and acne will surface.Alternatively, dry air in the wintercan cause the skin to overcompensate and produce too much oil.
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How To Treat Acne Safely On Darker Skin Types
Many people are eager to start treating their acne scars as soon as they appear. However, anyone who is struggling with active acne breakouts should address this concern first. It is preferable to completely resolve any active acne prior to starting acne scar treatment since any in-office treatment designed to resolve acne scars would be useless against an active inflammatory acne lesion. Any active acne can potentially lead to the creation of a new acne scar, and that is what we want to avoid! There is a myriad of treatment options available for resolving active acne and Dr. Green will work with you to determine which acne treatment is the best for you and your skin.
57 year old Cosmelan for Melasma
Microneedling For Acne Scars
Experts throughout the dermatology industry agree that microneedling is one of the best non-invasive methods to reduce the appearance of depressed post-acne scars, commonly referred to as ice pick, rolling and boxcar scars. Microneedling treatment, administered via small handheld devices, uses tiny needles along the surface of the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin. Collagen and elastin are responsible for youthful, smooth looking skin, and thus can work to fill in depressed acne scars, as well as to get rid of fine lines and stretch marks. Microneedling is safe for all skin types and skin tones and, over time, successfully smooths the skin and reduces the appearance of scars and fine lines with minimal downtime post-treatment. Dr. Green often combines microneedling with Platelet Rich Plasma to achieve the best cosmetic rejuvenation.
Microneedling with PRP 5 months
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How Is Acne Treated
Your healthcare provider may suggest some non-prescription medications for your condition. Depending on the conditions severity, your age, the type of acne you have and how effective the over-the-counter remedies have been, you may need stronger prescription medications.
The use of certain contraceptives can sometimes help a womans acne go away. The Food and Drug Administration has approved three types of birth control pills for treating acne. All four contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone .
Various medications and therapies have proven to be effective. They target the underlying factors that contribute to acne. You might require at least one or multiple, depending on the severity of your condition.
Medications applied topically:
Medications taken orally :
Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider might suggest one of these specialized therapies, possibly combined with medication.
How Do I Know If My Acne Is Hormonal
Hormonal acne is not a different condition from acne. It develops due to changes in a personâs hormones. A rise in testosterone can cause hormonal acne.
For adolescents, hormonal acne usually happens in the âT-zoneâ. This covers the forehead, nose, and chin. For adults aged 20 years and over, hormonal acne usually occurs on the lower areas of the face, such as the chin, jaw, and lower cheeks.
A person can work with a doctor to determine what is causing the acne.
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Scar Prevention And Treating Acne For Black Skin
All types of acne can cause scarring, including cysts, nodules, and blackheads. If itâs left untreated, your acne can worsen and lead to deep, painful pimples and permanent scars. The best way to prevent these scars is to treat acne early. If you have acne or acne scars, talk to your doctor about the right treatments for your skin.
American Academy of Dermatology Association: â10 Tips for Clearing Acne in Darker Skin Tones,â âAcne: Overview,â âHow to Fade Dark Spots in Darker Skin Tones,â âRetinoid or Retinol?â âScars: Signs and Symptoms.â
Cleveland Clinic: âAcne Scars,â âUnderstanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products.â
Dermatology Research and Practice: âAcne Scars: Pathogenesis, Classification and Treatment.â
Eternal Dermatology & Aesthetics: âLaser Treatment For Skin of Color: Is It Safe?â
Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publishing: âAcne: Considerations for darker skin.â
Indian Dermatology Online Journal: âVitamin C in dermatology.â
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: âAcne ScarringâPathogenesis, Evaluation, and Treatment Options,â âEffective Treatments of Atrophic Acne Scars.â
Mayo Clinic: âAcne scars: Whatâs the best treatment?â
Medscape: âNonablative Resurfacing.â
Causes And Treatment For Each Type Of Acne
What causes blackheads?
As the name says, blackheads appear as a black spec on your skin. They are also known as open comedones because the pore is open to the air.
Dr. Young McMahan, a Board-Certified Dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners, explains that oxygen from the air triggers a chemical reaction oxidation with the material in your pore, causing it to turn black. Simply put, blackheads are not dirt stuck in your pore but the mixture of dead skin cells and sebum.
You will commonly find this type of acne on your face, shoulders, back, and arms. If they show up more on the nose, chin, or cheeks, thats most likely due to excess oil or clogged hair follicles.
How to get rid of blackheads:
- Wear an oil-free sunscreen every day.
- Use a gentle exfoliator with AHAs and BHAs 2-3 times per week.
- Use a clay or charcoal mask that is effective as a blackhead treatment and skin detox.
- Try topical retinoids or salicylic acid gel.
What causes whiteheads?
Whiteheads appear as round, white bumps on your skin and in various sizes either invisibly small or noticeably large as acne blemishes. They are similar to blackheads, except instead of being open to the air, the pore is closed off by a layer of skin. Thats why they are also called closed comedones.
Whiteheads occur when dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria become trapped within your pores. You can commonly see them on your face, neck, shoulders, and back but not usually feel painful.
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What If Its Not Acne At All
Before jumping into treatments, it is important to recognize that there are other conditions that can look like acne but are not. Individuals with darker skin may be more susceptible to ingrown hairs, for example, which can look remarkably similar to acne and cause the same dark spots. These bumps, however, are caused by hair growing out of the follicle in a tightly coiled way, and may require treatments such as laser hair removal. In the beard region, this is called pseudofolliculitis barbae, and may be mistaken for acne, particularly in men of darker skin types. A dermatologist experienced in treating darker skin can provide a proper diagnosis and customize an appropriate treatment plan.
Pimple Types: 6 Types Of Acne
Acne can present in a number of different forms, from small blemishes to noticeable cysts.
The following are common types of blemishes associated with acne and their commonly-used terms:
- closed comedones, or whiteheads
Each type of acne lesion requires a different treatment. Receiving prompt, correct treatment can reduce the risk of long-term skin complications, such as pitting and scarring.
Acne blemishes fall into two categories, depending on whether or not they cause inflammation of the surrounding skin.
Most minor acne blemishes respond to at-home care and over-the-counter medications. However, people with severe or long-term acne should speak with a doctor or dermatologist.
Whiteheads and blackheads are types of noninflammatory acne lesions. They are typically the least severe forms of acne and do not cause swelling or discomfort.
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Topical Creams Gels And Lotions
Topical treatments can work well for people with mild to moderate acne. The following are safe and available without a prescription:
The American Academy of Dermatology assure people of color that although benzoyl peroxide can bleach clothing and bed linen, it cannot bleach the skin.The AAD recommend starting with a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel or cream to ensure the skin does not become dry or irritated. After cleaning the area, apply the product once or twice a day. Use sparingly, especially at first, to prevent irritation.
People who use benzoyl peroxide tend to see improvement only after 6 weeks.
Retinoids, such as adapalene 0.1%, work by removing dead cells from the surface of the skin, which may help unclog pores and hair follicles.
A 2013 review found retinoids to be effective and safe for people of color, and these products may also help reduce complications from acne, such as hyperpigmentation.
However, retinoids are not safe to use during pregnancy. They can also cause irritation and stinging, and they increase sensitivity to sunlight, so it is important to use sunscreen.
A person applies topical retinoids at night, after cleansing the affected area.
Always use caution with this treatment and consider consulting a dermatologist or another healthcare provider before beginning, to prevent adverse reactions.
Are Acne Scars The Same As Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is a term that is used in dermatology to refer to areas of skin that are darker in appearance compared to the rest of the surrounding skin. Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, a type of hyperpigmentation that occurs secondary to an inflammatory skin condition such as an acne breakout, is not considered to be a form of true acne scarring. Dark patches of hyperpigmented skin that are associated with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation tend to clear on their own, although this process typically takes several weeks and can even take months to fully resolve on its own. On the other hand, there is another category of dark patches of skin that are left behind after an acne lesion and are associated with an acne scar, these are considered to be patches of hyperpigmentation. The difference between a dark mark associated with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and a hyperpigmented acne scar is whether or not there is damage to the follicle in the skin that creates a change in the skins texture. If you are looking for a solution to spots of hyperpigmented skin that have been left behind after an inflammatory acne breakout, Dr. Green can help you determine whether you have acne scars or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and help you resolve the appearance of dark marks and acne scars.
Cosmelan 3 and 6 weeks before and after
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How Does Acne Develop
Acne develops when the hair follicles in the skin become blocked by the oil. The oil leaves the sebaceous glands and heads to the skins surface and it mixes with P.acnes bacteria and dead skin cells – this is why double cleansing is a non-negotiable. This causes inflammation that contributes to whiteheads, blackheads and other types of spots surfacing on the skin.
Acne can range in severity, from:
1. Whiteheads – closed plugged pores with a white top
2. Blackheads – open plugged pores with a black or brown top
3. Papules and pimples – small reddened bumps
4. Nodules – large, solid cystic lumps under the skin which can be painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin
You can experience acne on the face, chest, upper back, arms and shoulders and whilst very common it can be a very emotional time. If acne is causing distress, consulting your GP or dermatologists will help you find solutions.
Types Of Acne Scars On Dark Skin
About 80% of people between ages 15 and 30 will get acne, and 1 out of 5 will have scars. Acne scars are usually atrophic scars that sit just below the surface of your skin and look sunken or pitted. Anyone can get an acne scar, but some types are more common in dark skin.
Dark spots. Also called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation , dark spots arenât technically scars. These are purple or brown patches of melanin that show up after your acne clears and can sometimes last longer than the acne itself. Your skin releases melanin, or skin pigment, in response to acne inflammation. Dark spots are more common in skin of color and will fade on their own with time.
Ice pick scars. These types of scars are the most common acne scars. Theyâre named after an ice pick because they cause a wide hole at the surface of the skin and narrow to a point deep in your skin, like a V.
Boxcar scars. Boxcar scars are the next most common and can be deep or shallow. These scars are round or oval and have sharp edges. They look like a U with a wide base.
Rolling scars. Rolling scars have a sloped edge, which causes a shadow and makes the skin look wavy or rolling.
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Q& a About Types Of Acne And Acne Treatment
Food doesnt cause or prevent acne itself. However, some foods may make it worse and trigger breakouts, such as skim milk, whey protein, and diets high in sugar.
According to dermatologists, popping, picking, or squeezing acne may lead to scarring and inflammation. The reason is you are likely to push bacteria deeper into your skin, making your pimples more inflamed and noticeable and slowing down the natural healing process.
Rather than popping your pimples, get rid of them with the following ingredients: