All pimples leave behind some degree of skin discoloration after they resolve. There are 2 explanations for why this may happen: Firstly, inflammation at the site of the acne lesion produced by the body to defend itself against the bacteria inside the pore. This is known as Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and is very common particularly in our darker Asian skin tones which seems to inherently heal in this way. In people with fairer skin, red spots are frequently seen. This is the result of an influx of blood vessels that have been recruited to the acne site, to aid in the repair mechanism, and is referred to as Post-acne redness.
Most of the time these marks will fade on their own within 6-12 months. There are however a number of very effective interventions that can be utilized to hasten the entire recovery process:
1. First and foremost, always have on a good broad spectrum oil-free sunblock if you are going to be out and about. Unprotected exposure to the sun causes more skin damage and delays healing. Moreover healing skin is more susceptible to pigmentation form UV and may potentially darken further.
2. Brown colored marks after acne resolution are very common and typical of PIH. Topical creams containing active ingredients including Alphahydroxyacids (such as Glycolic acid), Azeleic acid or Vitamin A derivatives (Retin-A, Tretinoin) are useful to improve acne and reduce inflammation, as well as gradually lighten pigmentation. For more rapid results we can use Pigment lasers to directly target and disperse pigment deep in the skin, while at the same time minimizing pores and helping with oil control.
3. Post acne redness is often is difficult to conceal, making the evidence of acne more pronounced even after it has healed. The Vbeam pulse dye laser works well at targeting these broken capillaries, causing them to coagulate and be reabsorbed by the body.