Women of color are at greater risk of
Hyperpigmentation from acne compared to female Caucasian patients.
African-Americans are five
to 15 times more likely, and Asians are three to five times more
to develop acne-related keloid scars compared to white people. Dr. Alan Rockoff of The Rockoff
Dermatology Center in Brookline,
Mass., reports that treatment of acne in people of color is not different than treating light skin.
Special care, however, should be taken to avoid irritating the skin and damaging pigmentation.
Prevent Acne Breakouts Prevention of breakouts is even more important for women with darker
skin because it’s more likely to scar from acne that’s not even very severe. Dark spots can occur
after the lesion heals. And though the spots may not be permanent, they can last for months, or
years. To decrease inflammation, Dr. Philip Young, a facial plastic surgeon in Seattle, suggests
using a bacteria-killing, sensitive skin cleanser combined with two percent salicylic acid.
Darker Skin and Inflammation One dermatologic surgeon in Manhattan, Jordana Gilman, MD,
agrees that women with darker skin tones tend to have more inflammation associated with
acne—even with mild blemishes, like those caused by clogged pores. “[W]henever there is
inflammation in the skin, the pigment cells may become hyperactive, leading to a dark mark that
may persist for months after the acne spot has gone away.” Prescription Medication to Treat and
Prevent Acne For treating acne, Dr. Arnold Oppenheim, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach, admits
to putting patients of color on oral medication quicker than other patients. “Retin A microgel 0.04
is preferred since it causes less inflammation. Inflammation can lead to pigmentation damage.”
Since benzoyl peroxide can irritate skin, it’s best that women of color steer clear of this topical
Sun Block to Protect Skin of Color Dr. Gilman also points out that women need to wear sun block.
Many people of color think that they’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays, but in a