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Chemical Peel Will Help Remove Dark Spots Left Behind from Acne?

I recently had an awful breakout from a birth control my body didn't agree with.. Left behind lots of darks spots on my cheeks and chin area. I believe my skin type/complexion scars much easier then others... I will not leave my house without make up on and my boyfriend (soon to be husband) has never seen me without foundation on.. These dark marks NEED to be significantly better by may! (none of these scars are indented or raised, they are just dark spots)

Doctor Answers (4)

Dark spots from acne

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You are experiencing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, this is a discoloration caused by trauma to the skin such as acne. This is very treatable, there are a few different options such as IPL, laser or chemical peel treatments. usually this pigmentation is very superficial so a session of 1 to 3 peels should easily take care of your uneven skin tone. Chemical peels  also have additional benefits such as anti aging and improving skin texture.


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

How to Erase Dark Spots After Acne

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Brown discoloration is very common after acne outbreaks but fortunately, it's treatable. To some degree, "post inflammatory hyperpigmentation" fades slowly by itself providing you stay out of the sun, use SPF daily, and don't get further outbreaks. But to hurry things along, you can actively treat it, most easily with a prescription cream from your doctor. Triluma contains a mild lightening agent, a mild steroid, and tretinoin- and must be performed under the care of a doctor so you know how to use it optimally. While Triluma is the easiest, there are multiple other treatments for PIH, including other skin lightening creams, intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacials, and/or light chemical peels. In my practice, if someone needs help quickly we will recommend a brightening peel followed by a skin care regimen that includes a lightening agent and daily SPF for prevention. Adding low dose retinol cream can be protective against further outbreaks too. Good luck! -Dr. Capone 

Randolph Capone, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Chemical peels for dark marks after acne

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Acne commonly leaves behind dark marks especially in people with darker skin.  Chemical peels can be an excellent way to address the blemishes, however, it is key to treat the acne. Consult with a board-certified dermatologist to determine what combination of prescription-strength acne medications, bleaching or brightening creams, and procedures, such as chemical peels, would be best for you.  It can take months to clear this problem so if you want results by May see someone ASAP.  Good luck!

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Responds Well To A Combination of In-Office Chemical Peels and At-Home Topicals

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Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or skin stains that follow inflammation, trauma, surgery or skin infections is a very common, troubling and frustrating problem. Acne is a form of skin inflammation and when pimples clear up they typically leave brown skin stains in their wake that most acne sufferers often confuse with permanent scars. 

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which may persist for weeks to months, when left untreated, can be the source of much frustration and concern. If the spot feels flat to the touch and shows no evidence of being elevated or depressed upon the surrounding skin surface, the brown skin stain that follows acne is likely to be simple post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. In most cases, this form of post-inflammatory pigmentation will fade slowly and completely with time.

To speed clearing, a combined regimen of home use of fade creams (there are many different kinds these days containing hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, licorice derivatives), retinoic acid, alphahydroxy acids, topical steroids, etc. may be recommended or prescribed for several weeks alone or in combination with in-office treatment with a series of superficial chemical peels to accelerate fading. Successful in-office peeling agents include Jessner's solution, salicylic acid, low strength TCA and high concentration glycolic acid.

Consultation with a board certified dermatologist who specializes in aesthetic medicine is advisable to arrive at the best treatment plan for you.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.