Acne Scars & Women of Color
Acne scar treatment is varied and usually involves the use of topical and chemical treatments, as well as abrasive treatments that remove the top layers of skin. However, as a woman of color, scar treatment can be a bit more complicated. Standard scar treatments could cause skin discoloration and even a loss of pigment.
Acne scars can appear in many different forms, and each require a different treatment strategy. For instance, mild scarring can appear as just slight red or brown marks. This can fade on its own over time. A more severe scar causes a depression in the skin. Slight depressions are called rolling scars; those with defined edges are called boxcar scars. The last type of scar is called an ice pick scar, which leaves a deep and sharp depression in the skin.
Hyperpigmentation is a common type of scarring that shows up where a previous acne blemish has healed. Although those with lighter skin can suffer from this condition as well, it's much more pervasive and persistent in those with darker skin and takes longer to fade. Likewise, standard lightening creams that are used to fade dark spots can't be used in those with dark skin because they could cause blotches of depigmentation.
Though very rare, keloid scars can form over former acne areas more often in those with darker skin. Keloids are characterized by raised lumps of scar tissue that can keep growing and expanding far beyond the confines of the original acne pimple. Unfortunately, even if you have a keloid removed, it's likely to come back over and over again, so seek treatment as soon as you notice one forming.
Women of color and any person with darker skin may notice that her skin is on the dry side. Because of this, you might produce extra oil to compensate for the dryness and break out more. To combat this, use an oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and to reduce the look of acne scars by making them softer and eliminating peeling skin.
Chemicals and Dark Skin
Much of the time, acne scar treatments are administered in the form of a cream or chemical. However, women of color are more sensitive to chemicals and might experience negative effects such as bleaching or completely depigmented areas of the face. For these reasons, chemical peels using acids and cleansers, and creams using benzoyl peroxide should be avoided. Those with darker skin fare better with topical vitamin A applications such as retinoids, which soften scars and fade hyperpigmentation, without bleaching the skin.
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