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Acne Skin Care for Black Women

Acne Skin Care for Black Women Acne Skin Care for Black Women Acne Skin Care for Black Women


According to "Managing Common Dermatoses in Skin of Color," published in the June 2009 scientific journal "Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery," acne is the leading skin problem in patients with skin of color. Skin of color has special concerns related to discoloration and scarring that makes acne treatment more challenging. The consequences of acne in women of color can drastically reduce quality of life in this population long after the acne lesions are gone.

Dark Spots

Dark spots left behind by acne, also called "post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation" (PIH) are common among acne sufferers of color. PIH occurs as a result of excess melanin, the natural substance that gives hair and skin its color. These spots usually disappear or diminish on their own over time but can be embarrassing.


Women of color should not touch their acne, because picking at acne lesions can make both acne and subsequent scarring and discoloration worse. PIH can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription skin lighteners. Cosmetics can be used to hide the spots during treatment.

Some dermatologists recommend that patients with PIH use sunscreen of an SPF of at least 30 to clear up the dark spots. Sunscreens and all other products used on acne-prone skin should be labeled as "noncomedogenic," meaning it will not clog the user's pores.


Many acne medications, such as benzoyl perozide, have a drying effect on the skin. PIH can be aggravated by excessively dry skin. According to "Acne Vulgaris in Skin of Color," published in the February 2002 issue of "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology," retinoids, such as adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin, treat acne in women of color effectively without overdrying the skin.

Moisturizers, whether used to treat dry, "ashy" skin or the drying affects of acne treatments, should be labeled as noncomedogenic to avoid clogging the pores and worsening acne.


Women of color who suffer from acne can sometimes develop keloids, or large, raised scars. Keloids are so difficult to permanently remove that the best course of action is to prevent keloid scarring with good acne treatment.

Pomade Acne

Pomade acne is acne on the forehead and scalp that is caused by the oily, pore-clogging ointments that women of color often use to style and manage their hair. Patients with pomade acne should stop using oily pomades or consider switching to a less-oily pomade, such as those that contain cyclomethicone or dimethicone. Patients who feel that they cannot stop using oily pomade should apply the pomade sparingly to the ends of the hair, without making contact with the scalp and the face.

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