Red Acne Marks Erythema

I have recently started getting acne. The acne will clear up in a few days but will leave behind a red mark. The marks have faded slightly in just a few months but they are still extremely noticeable without makeup. My dermatologist says it is PIH. I am very fair skinned and I believe it may be PIE (Erythema) instead. I am hoping to not having any type of laser treatments. Will this type of post acne mark completely go away on its own? If it will what kind of time frame am I looking at?

Doctor Answers 4

Laser vs Time

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Yes, you have the cheapest option available and it works- TIME and sunscreen. Over time most of the redness will fade, however lasers such a V Beam or Excel V can quicken recovery. 

As a guide, laser will fade the marks over 3 months, whilst leaving them alone ... marks will fade within 6-12 months. 

Video as a guide below explaining the treatments. 

All the best,

Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist, 

Red Marks from Acne

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The redness that you are describing can happen after acne.  Typically patients with acne either heal red or brown depending on their skin type.  The lighter complexions typically heal with redness, PIE, and the darker complexions typically heal darker with PIH.  The marks eventually go away but it can take many months to go away.  The V-Beam Laser will remove these red marks quickly and heal those areas up quickly.  In the meanwhile Dermablend makeup is a very good makeup to help hide acne scars.

Discoloration is Normal After Acne

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It is normal to experience discoloration on the skin after active acne subsides. There are topical treatments that may help. There are also laser treatments that we offer that can be helpful in diminishing the appearance of PIH. I would recommend that you make an appointment for a consultation with your dermatologist to determine if you are a candidate.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

PIH and Erythema

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It does sound like erythema, but erythema will evolve to PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) in some people.  I would suggest for an in-office treatment, IPL works great for the redness of acne.  Another few at home options are to apply a non-steroidal topical anti-inflammatory like aloe vera, bromelain, cucumber, chamomile, calendula.  When trying a new herbal skin product, do a test spot on one small area of the face to make sure you are tolerating it.  There are some over-the-counter redness reducing skin creams that can be purchased online or in cosmetic offices such as SkinMedica Redness Relief Calmplex, and also some prescription skin creams designed for reducing redness in rosacea that may help too such as prescription Mirvaso or Metrogel.  See a dermatologist for these.

Karen Stolman, MD
Sandy Dermatologic Surgeon

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.