What Are the Treatments for Dark Acne Spots?

Dark acne spots are call post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Dark acne spots are call post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jason Rogers)

Acne causes inflammation which may trigger the skin to produce too much melanin, resulting in dark spots of pigmentation. Though thought to be acne scars, this type of superficial pigmentation is referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. There are different kinds of treatment options to fade the dark spots.

Treatment creams

Treatment creams containing hydroquinone, which blocks the melanin production in skin, are the only topical treatments approved by the FDA for the fading of dark spots in the skin. The natural alternatives to hydroquinone are products containing vitamin C, or the extracts of bearberry, mulberry and licorice.

Skin care treatment

Alpha hydroxy acid chemical peels and microdermabrasion exfoliate the top layer of the skin allowing new, spot-free skin to emerge.

Time frame

When using bleaching agents it may be eight weeks before a change is seen in the acne pigmentation. When the bleaching agents are used in conjunction with chemical peels and microdermabrasion a difference may be noticed sooner.


The pigment producers (melanin) in our skin are very sensitive to the sun. To prevent the melanin from reacting and producing additional dark acne spots, a broad spectrum sunscreen must be worn daily to protect the skin from UV rays.


The risk of allergic reaction and contact dermatitis are high with the use of hydroquinone. Vitamin C may cause irritation to sensitive skin types because of its acidic nature.

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