Persistent Red Marks Left Behind Folliculitis/acne? (photo)

Dear Doctors, I wonder what happened to my face, I had red marks left after folliculitis/acne, they have been there since 2011 June (1.5years+ now). I have tried all kinds of treatments and nothing seems to work. Do you think bacteria is still alive beneath skin? though I had only minor small acne (once per month or so) since 2011 June. How can I get rid of these red marks!! Please help me!! I don't want to live day and night in shame & regret & tears!! Sincere thanks!!

Doctor Answers 5

Persistent red marks after acne

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It appears that you have persistent erythema (redness) after inflammatory acne.  It commonly takes months for this to fade.  Sometimes using a topical retinoid (e.g. Retin A) or light treatments such as IPL or V-beam laser can help accelerate resolution.  Of course, if your acne is not under control, there will always be red marks because as one acne lesion goes away it leaves another mark that takes months to resolve.  Do a consultation with a board-certified dermatologits to determine what the best treatment would be for you.

New York Dermatologist

Red Acne Scar treatments

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Hi Andrenewskin.  The gold standard for your situation would be pulsed dye lasers.  Pulsed dye lasers are effective with all forms of vascular conditions including Rosacea, red scars, veins and red birthmarks.  This laser would help you get rid of the red marks.

One other point is that you may want to keep the photos and see if the new acne you are describing is the reason you keep seeing these red marks.  Many times these acne scars will resolve on their own, but it's difficult to see that when new acne is present.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Scarring with acne

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It appears you may still have a bit of activity on both cheeks so I would highly recommend you continue with a Retin A at bedtime as well as a good acne cleanser and mild exfoliator for skin care. I like OTC acne products that use salicylic acid as the main exfoliator.    Many people with acne have persistent redness or 'hyperemia' after the worst part of the acne has cleared. The tincture of time will help but one can certainly speed this up using red light therapy to control the inflammatory component.  Omnilux light diode therapy as well as Sciton BBL treatments work beautifully for the erythema.

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Red Marks From Facial Acne

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It is very common for acne on the face to go away and leave red or brown marks on the skin, which we term post-inflammatory pigment alteration. This discoloration can take a very long time to fade away and can be even more difficult to treat than the acne itself. There are some topical treatments including topical tretinoin (RetinA) and hydroquinone which can speed up this process. In additionally, I have found a series of Isolaz (combination of vacuum and laser therapy for acne and pores) treatments can also improve discoloration from acne. But unfortunately, the fading of the red marks takes a long time and the key is to control the acne so as to prevent new red marks from coming out.  Also be careful with the sun as sun exposure will darken the red marks. 

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Lasers for red acne scars.

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Post inflammatory redness is very common. It can take a few months to settle, sometimes a year. I like to use V BEAM laser, you will need 2-4 sessions, spaced 3-4 weeks apart.

Video in the web reference shows the procedure.

kind regards

Dr Davin Lim
Brisbane, Australia. 

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.