How to Remove Black Marks on my Face From Pimples? (photo)

Hi, This is the first time i got a big pimple and i started pinching it and the pimples spread over just like anything on my left cheek and the result is full of black marks which are just like chicken pox black marks. Could you please look into the below picture once and let me know the solution so that it will a great help for me. Thanks in advance, Sravanthi

Doctor Answers 21

The PIH will resolve in most cases

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Thanks for the question and including the photos that show what we call post-inflammatory
hyperpigmentation or PIH as a result of the acne and your pinching or picking at them. You need a
consultation with a board-certified dermatologist to get your acne under control and to determine the
best treatment for the PIH. Over time, the PIH will resolve in most cases. Various bleaching creams,
including hydroquinone and some of the “active” fading cosmeceuticals can also work well here. Light
chemical peels also can improve PIH when needed, so find the right provider and see what will work best
for you.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Sunscreen, Hydroquinone, Lytera and chemical peels

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You have what is known as PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation- a super common condition that occurs in darker skin patients after the event of acne. The treatment of this condition is as follows-

1. Sunscreen and sunprotection- this forms the absolute cornerstone of management. You need to be on this for the duration of any treatment .

2. If you can get hold of HQ or bleaching cream (hydroquinone), I would use 5-7 % daily. For at least 8 weeks. 

3. If no HQ is available, Lytera is a good agent. 

4. Chemical peels such as glycolic acid can help. You will need 4-7 treatments over the next few months. 

5. Vitamin A such as tretinoin can help. 

The best treatment is a combination of the above. 


Dr Davin Lim 
Laser and aesthetic Dermatologist

How to treat discoloration from acne

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Hi Sravanthi,

Thanks for the question. Acne is an inflammatory problem and the inflammation from acne bumps can irritate the color producing cells in the skin. This can result in darker (hyperpigmented) or lighter (hypopigmented) skin in the area of an acne bump. Discoloration from acne can be very frustrating for patients. Here is how I treat it.

1) Treat and cure the patient's acne. This is most important. The inflammatory process of acne must be shut down in order to prevent skin discoloration. Each patient is different, however, all patient's must be put on a successful regimen for their acne before the discoloration can truly improve.

2) Treat the discoloration. There are multiple ways to help with the discoloration. The most often successful and important are to practice sun protection with strict sun screen use and to use a fade cream such as hydroquinone. In addition to these basic treatment, select patients may benefit from chemical peels, retinoid creams, and laser treatments.

Hope this helps! Take care!

Tarek M. Fakhouri, MD
Houston Dermatologic Surgeon

Dark spots from pimples

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You have what's called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).  It is very common in dark skin individuals following any type of inflammatory process (pimples, burns, cuts, chemical peels or laser treatments).  It can improve on it's own but you need to use sunscreen over it while it is healing and protect it from direct sun exposure.  Prescription strength skin lightening creams such as Hydroquinone 4% can also speed up the process.  It not meant to be used for long term as it can cause side effects.  Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a great options as it is safer on darker skin types, but will require multiple treatments.  Fractional lasers can also lighten the skin and is usually safer for darker skin types than traditional CO2 lasers (which can cause a lot of uneven pigmentation in dark skin individuals).  It can also improve the appearance of the scars as well.  A series of light chemical peels may also help but you have to be very careful with the chemical peels with your dark skin type since they can make the PIH a lot worse if they are the deeper peels.  Best wishes.

Treating Discoloration From Acne

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Based on what I see in your pictures, it appears you have mostly discoloration (hyperpigmentation) from the acne lesions.  This is very common, especially in darker skin types. In addition to treating the active acne, there are treatments that can help fade the dark spots, specifically topical RetinA (tretinoin) and hydroquinone which can both help to lighten the color.  There are also office-based treatments such as Silkpeel Dermalinfusion which can help exfoliate the skin and improve the discoloration. I recommend you consult with a board-certified dermatologist to discuss what will work best for your skin. 

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

Dark spots on face related to acne

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Dark spots on the face are common after acne eruptions, particularly when these lesions are picked at. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It does tend to fade over time, but in some cases can be permanent.

The first step is to get the acne under control and prevent future breakouts as much as possible. Attention can then be directed to improving the pigmentation issues. A series of light peels and an agent to block the production of pigment can be helpful (these may include hydroquinone, or other topical agents). An agent to increase cell turnover such as a retinol or tretinoin can also be helpful. Often, a multifaceted approach incorporating several of these treatments is needed.

A doctor specializing in facial aesthetics can help walk you through the process and treatment options.

All the best,

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Treating dark spots after acne

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Thank you for the picture and for the question.  What you have is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation also known as PIH.  This occurs very commonly after an acne breakout and is more pronounced in people with darker skin types and in those who pick at their acne breakouts.  We like to treat PIH with something called Silkpeel dermalinfusion, which is a diamond tip microdermabrasion that also simultaneously cleans out the pore with vacuum suction and infuses various types of serums that are effective in controlling acne as well as treating the hyperpigmentation.  The serum which is very effective in reducing the pigment is called Lumixyl or Decapeptide 12 which is highly effective in blocking melanin production and is a naturally occurring peptide which makes it very safe with minimal side effects.  It is also available as a topical preparation and can be used topically in conjunction with the Silk Peel dermalinfusion procedure. 

Hope that helps.

Best of luck,

Dr. Flashner

Paul Flashner, MD
Boston Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Dark stains from acne

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Dark stains from acne usually resolve by themselves after many months. Avoiding sun exposure, especially when they are red, may help reduce the risk of getting dark spots somewhat. There are over-the-counter bleaching creams that help lighten the spots and prescription creams that work much better.

Robert S. Bader, MD, FAAD
Boca Raton Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Black marks after acne are PIH

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Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is not permanent but occurs in non-Caucasian skin tones after acne has resolved. Sun avoidance, sun screen, a comprehensive cream program can keep this at bay. Chemical peels such as the 3 step peel assist in this great. 

Zein E. Obagi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Start Slow

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Thank you for your question. Acne scars can be difficult to treat. Based on your pictures it may be best to start slow. You may consider a skin care regime like Obagi. It can help to fade some of the dark spots and even out skin tone. It is best to consult with a local physician. Good luck!

Janet Allenby, DO
Delray Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.