I want to know if spots that remain after acne can be removed permanently?

Doctor Answers 3

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) & Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) Typically Resolve Spontaneously

Photos would have been extremely helpful. However, speaking generally, there are three major aftermaths following acne resolution. These include postinflammatory erythema (PIE), i.e, red spots; postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), i.e. brown spots; and acne scars (boxcar, rolling, ice pick, hypertrophic and keloid varieties).

PIE typically resolves on its own over a relatively short period of time of a few weeks; sometimes evolving into PIH. PIH can often fade slowly on its own, but may take anywhere from six weeks to six months (on average about three months), although sometimes considerably longer, especially in people of color.. Prescription strength bleaching creams and a series of in-office superficial peels with glycolic acid, Jessner's Solution, or salicylic acid can accelerate this process. 

Finally, although acne scars are permanent, there are individual or combinations of treatments to address each of the various types of scars. These may include relatively inexpensive approaches, such as subcision with or without fillers, and fractional microneedling. Hypertrophic scars and keloids can often be improved significantly with using intralesional injection of anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative injections, such as triamcinolone.

I have been less than impressed with the results of relatively expensive fraxels, radiofrequency treatments, and ultrasound treatments for any of the above, finding them to be far more backed by device manufacturer supported marketing hype than hard science. 

For more information on the treatment approaches mentioned here, check out the archives of RealSelf.com. Be sure to consult with a board certified aesthetic physician with experience in treating acne and its consequences. Best of luck to you.


New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Spots from Acne and Treatment

I have many patients who seek my advice on treating the marks from acne.  If they are red marks then the V-Beam will help reduce them, if pigmented then bleaching creams and peels are most effective.  If you have scars then I would suggest Fraxel or eMatrix depending on the type of scar.  Best, Dr. Green

Spots after acne...

In my opinion, it would be helpful if you would provide a picture. If your spots after acne are indeed flat, there are good treatments to remove them permanently. If they are hyperpigmented, bleaching creams and peels as well as intense pulsed light will help. If they are red, certain lasers and IPL would be helpful. Should the scars be depressed, the treatment will be different. All acne scars are treated based upon the type of scar. Seek a physician who specializes in acne scar treatment. As to see photos. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Jeffrey Rapaport, MD
Englewood Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

You might also like...

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.