Red Skin After Acne
Acne patients whose skin condition was particularly severe often develop scars once their lesions finally clear. But there's another type of disfigurement that's common to former acne sufferers--red skin, which can appear in blotches or in spots where your pimples had been. These blotches or spots aren't really scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But they potentially can affect your self-image just the same. If you have red skin left over from a bout with acne, treatments can help.
Dermatologists call red skin spots or blotches from acne "post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," which simply means coloration that develops after inflammation clears. As your pimple begins to heal, skin pigmentation called melanin congregates in that area, causing your skin to turn red, purple, pink or even brown or tan, according to the AAD. If you tan easily rather than burn, or if your skin tends to be olive or dark even without tanning, you have a higher risk of getting these spots or blotches, according to Acne.org.
Bleaching creams available over the counter that contain the active ingredient hydroquinone can help fade some people's red skin, according to the AAD. If you decide to try one of these creams, look specifically for a cream with 2 percent hydroquinone in it. More hydroquinone can cause white spots that are hard to reverse, and less might not be effective.
Dermatologists can offer solutions to red skin after acne. Prescription creams that contain several ingredients often work well, according to the AAD. Your dermatologist may recommend that you use a cream containing hydroquinone skin bleach, a retinoid such as tretinoin to encourage new skin cells to grow and a corticosteroid to subdue inflammation.
Lasers potentially can treat red skin that appears after acne, but dermatologists only recommend them for people with dark skin if other treatments fail to produce results. Chemical peels provided in a spa-type setting or a physician's office potentially can help the skin rejuvenate, as can microdermabrasion. Both of these procedures stimulate the top layer of skin to encourage growth of new cells and collagen.
Regardless of whether you choose an over-the-counter cream, a prescription medication or a procedure, you must avoid the sun or risk your red skin spots and blotches worsening. Even people with very dark skin need to avoid sun exposure, which encourages melanin proliferation at the site of your acne spots. If you use sun protection methodically, your red skin from acne will fade eventually.
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