Acne Marks and Spots and Discoloration

Acne Spots

One of the most frustrating consequences of acne breakouts is the discoloration that is left over after pimples heal.  The dark marks and redness seem to linger on as unpleasant reminders of prior unwelcome breakouts.  The discolored spots are so anxiety-provoking that many acne sufferers are more concerned about the discoloration than the actual breakouts themselves.

In fact, it is not uncommon for an acne sufferer to seek treatment only for the spots and marks with less concern over the obvious red pimples!  It seems, at first, so unlikely that someone could ignore the prominent breakouts staring at them in the mirror yet complain only about the spots instead!  However, it is the persistent discoloration that is very often one of the most frustrating consequences of acne for many acne sufferers.

In fact, some of the first questions that acne sufferers ask their providers are focused on which creams or lasers or other treatments can be used to get rid of the persistent spots and marks.  They presume that there must be an effective treatment to finally rid their skin of the persistent discoloration.

Well, the truth is, it is not very helpful to attempt to treat existing spots and marks if pimples are still actively erupting.  As soon as the new pimples heal, they will just leave new spots behind starting the process all over again.

Try explaining this to an acne sufferer hoping for a magic cream or laser that will rapidly erase any sign of the discolored marks that never to seem ready to fade away.  The disappointment in their eyes is very noticeable.  Ultimately, however, they usually understand and shift their focus toward an optimal treatment plan.

Why Acne Spots Occur

But why do the spots and marks occur in the first place?  How can we prevent them from forming?

The answer is found in the development of an acne pimple.  A look deep into the skin will reveal an acne-prone pore filled with inflammation.  Lots of white blood cells and extra blood vessels form in the inflamed pore which then erupts into an active pimple.

The inflammation  can become very intense with the white blood cells invading the pore like a swarm of bees.  This can cause a lot of activity and destruction surrounding the pimple that can lead to deposits of dark pigmentation within the skin resulting in the appearance of visible dark spots on the skin surface.

Also, once the pimple finally heals, all of those blood vessels and other byproducts of the inflammation can persist for a long time.  This can cause the skin to appear red where the pimple had been.  The remaining discoloration is known in technical terminology as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory pigment alteration.

How to Get Rid of Acne Spots

So what can be done to help speed the disappearance of the discoloration?

Well, as mentioned previously, the first step is to seek effective treatment in order to prevent new pimples from erupting.  No new pimples equals no new dark spots.

But what about the marks that are already present?  For these, one of the most important treatments is to moisturize effectively.  Skin that is well hydrated heals more quickly and easily.

Another very important part of the puzzle is to use sunblock when exposed to the sun…all of the time!  The sun can make areas of discoloration become even darker and last for a much longer time.  So it’s very important to use sunblock and reapply frequently when you’re outside or anywhere that the rays of the sun can reach.  This includes while driving a car or sitting indoors near a window.

Ultimately, the best treatment for dark spots and red discoloration left over from acne breakouts is tincture of time.  As long as the acne breakouts are completely stopped with appropriate treatment, patience is then needed to allow the remaining discoloration to eventually fade away.  This can be very reassuring for acne sufferers who are very concerned over their marks and spots which are constant reminders of their prior acne.

With effective acne treatment and proper skin care, you can finally say goodbye to those stubborn, unwelcome spots, marks and discolorations and say hello to clear skin at last!

The Advanced Acne Institute is a unique dermatology practice located in Miami, Florida specializing only in the treatment of acne.   We focus solely on providing the most effective treatments to help our patients achieve clear skin.  We are pleased to share our insights and perspectives in acne treatment as an educational service, however this information is provided strictly for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice and is not a substitute for seeking the advice and treatment by an appropriate medical professional.