Acne in Skin of Color

Acne vulgarisI didn’t suffer with acne until I was an adult. Just into my thirties, I noticed more breakouts. What’s worse, the annoying red pimples left brown marks on my skin for weeks to months! Now I understand why.

Those of us with brown skin often have a robust – and highly visible – response to injury, bacteria, and sun damage. Our melanocytes, the cells that produce the brown pigment called melanin, respond to inflammation and injury by releasing even more melanin to damaged superficial and deep skin cells. The result is even darker brown, spotting (known as hyperpigmentation).

If you suffer with adult acne, learn more about its causes, including medications that may make you more acne prone and how to treat it with over-the-counter remedies, laser, and antibiotics or other prescription medications. Your first responsibility is to make sure you don’t pick or pop your pimples, or you’ll end up with scars and more dark spots.

There are many products and treatments that promise acne-free skin, but you need to learn more about what’s right for your skin tone. For instance, laser can be a wonderful way to zap acne-causing bacteria and overactive oil glands. But for skin of color, the choice of laser is crucial to avoid laser-induced hyperpigmentation. Learn more from Dr. Charles Crutchfield, an expert in skin of color, on his approach to laser treatment of acne for darker-skinned people.

Published on 11/19/2009 | Last updated on 08/03/2017