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How to Get Rid of Acne Scars on African Americans

Dealing with acne scars on black skin can be a bit of a challenge. While there are numerous treatments available, exercise caution when using them. Skin-lightening creams, for instance, can permanently remove pigment, which can be disfiguring for someone of African American descent 1. Likewise, acne scars may lead to keloids, which are large and difficult to treat and remove. Patience and consistency are required for getting rid of acne scars on African-American skin 1.

Apply a topical retinoid cream to any acne blemishes you may have. Retin-A, which is available only by prescription, works better on African-American skin than other acne creams, such as benzoyl peroxide, because it's not as drying 1. While African-American skin isn't inherently drier than lighter skin tones, dry skin makes post-acne marks more pronounced 1.

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Purchase an over-the-counter retinol cream and apply once a day to lighten dark marks from acne. Called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, these marks can be black, red or brown and can be just as disfiguring as acne 3. This hyperpigmentation is caused by excess production of melanin but is not specific to dark skin. However, it can be more pronounced in African-American skin and last for a greater period of time 1. Apply the cream consistently to see a gradual lightening of these marks.

Apply an oil-free sunscreen to your entire face each day before you go outside. recommends an oil-free SPF 15 formulation for those with darker skin pigment 1. Your skin is more susceptible to sun damage when using scar creams and products, so sunscreen is essential.

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Consult with a dermatologist to have keloid scars removed. Keloids occur more commonly on darker skin tones and show up as raised scars where a wound occurred. Though keloids can occur after any injury to the skin, they tend to show up following severe acne lesions. These scars expand beyond the boundaries of where the acne was located and require prompt treatment to control. Surgery is usually required to remove a keloid, during which the scar is cut out and the tissue around it is stitched together.