My acne has gotten better but now I am left with dark marks and acne scars. How can I get rid of these?
Dark marks left by acne can be disheartening since the skin does not look clear. Luckily, this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation will resolve on its own. Red spots left by acne can take about 6 months to fade, while dark spots can take up to a year. Once this discoloration does fade (and it will!), your skin will look more even. Continued acne treatment is important to keep skin clear and prevent new dark spots from forming.
Daily sun protection is very important to help discoloration fade more quickly. You should use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every morning (we offer our own derm-appoved sunscreen, 'Screen) and wide-brimmed hats whenever outdoors. Regular use of tretinoin will help hyperpigmentation fade more quickly by increasing cell turnover. Other treatments such as azelaic acid and hydroquinone can also be helpful. If you think you would benefit from one of these other prescription medications, please submit a follow-up visit with your dermatology provider.
Scars are permanent depressions or pits in the skin. Tretinoin is the best topical medication for treating mild acne scarring as it can build up collagen after at least 6 months of use. Tretinoin can help improve the appearance of milder scars but is unlikely to get rid of deep acne scarring. You may consider lasers or chemical peels, which would require an in person dermatologist consultation.