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How To Remove Dark Spots Caused By Pimples

Fact-checked by Kristel Lagorza

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 12, 2022

    How To Remove Dark Spots Caused By Pimples

    How to remove dark spots caused by pimples? As a pimple heals, your body sometimes produces cells with too much melanin in them to replace the damaged skin. This results in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which we sometimes just call a dark spot. There are home remedies, OTC options, and even some dermatologist treatments offered to make these dark spots fade faster. Speak to your doctor if you’re at all concerned about dark spots due to acne

    What are dark spots caused by pimples?

    Hyperpigmentation occurs when a dark spot appears on the skin after a pimple disappears. These dark spots may occur in all skin types. But they occur more commonly in people with darker skin tones.

    What causes dark spots?

    Dark spots may appear on the skin after a pimple resolves because the skin produces extra melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives the skin color. The overproduction of melanin in one spot or patch on the surface of the skin can cause it to appear tan, brown, or dark brown.

    Some hyperpigmentation acne lesions can occur in the dermis. These deeper lesions will appear blue-gray and can be permanent.

    Doctors are unsure what causes different intensities of hyperpigmentation. Further studies are necessary to determine what affects this factor.

    The overproduction of melanin can occur following inflammation of the skin. Researchers suggest that some inflammatory and immune factors can stimulate the production of melanin. The exact mechanism behind this is still unclear, but these factors may include:

  • Prostanoids
  • Cytokines
  • Chemokines
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Once a person develops hyperpigmentation acne, some external factors, such as sun or UV light exposure, may aggravate its appearance.

    How to remove dark spots caused by pimples: Remedies

    Some people may resist using medication or surgical therapies to hide hyperpigmentation acne. Cosmetic camouflage, or using makeup to cover up dark spots, is another option for people wishing to avoid medical intervention or to complement medical treatment.

    Dermatologists recommend using a waterproof, long-lasting, nongreasy, and non-comedogenic concealer. If acne is causing hyperpigmentation spots, people should avoid applying products that promote acne.

    Some people also search for home remedies to treat hyperpigmentation acne, such as liquid bleach. However, this product can seriously damage the skin, so people should avoid applying it.

    You can start with home remedies if you’d like to cure post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Sadly, many of these home remedies have only anecdotal data to support them. But for the most part, there’s little danger in trying them. Always consult your dermatologist before trying anything on your skin. 

    Aloe Vera

    It’s true that aloe vera is an outstanding healing agent, especially when it comes to your skin. It has been shown that regular usage of aloe could stabilize the amounts of melanin in cells. But further study is required to determine the extent of this effect.

    Grapeseed Extract

    Another natural product that might help to reduce dark spots is grapeseed extract. Research demonstrates how taking grapeseed extract orally for six months can help persons with melasma, a skin disorder that is related to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,

    Sunscreen protection

    Treatment of any dark spots should begin with diligent sun protection. Applying sunscreen every day, whether the day is overcast or humid, with an SPF of at least 30 will help prevent further skin damage.

    Can you lighten scars caused by dark spots

    Treating acne scars is different from treating acne dark spots since scars require damaged or enlarged tissue. These are challenging to completely eradicate, and typically still show.

    It may take a long time, but dark patches eventually fade away completely and tend to get lighter over time. It may take anywhere between three months and two years.

    Varieties of goods

    There are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for dark spots that you can try if home remedies aren’t working. The active ingredients for these types of products vary widely, but some have been shown to be more effective than otc treatments for dark spots.

    Retinol is a type of retinoid that can unclog pores and fade dark spots. You can find benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol in acne products.

    These substances remove dead/ old skin and promote new development while stopping the synthesis of melanin in dark spots. However, some solutions run the danger of eliminating too much color from your skin, leading to hypopigmentation.

    Before using over-the-counter medications to remove black spots brought on by acne, consult your dermatologist.

    After getting the go-ahead from your physician, look for products that include a combination of the following ingredients:

    • vitamin e (tocopherol)
    • retinoids (vitamin a
    • alpha hydroxy acids (aha), such as mandelic acid, kojic acid, and azelaic acid

    Skin therapies

    As an upgrade from over-the-counter remedies, you could consider dermatologist-only procedures.

    Chemical peel

    Chemical peels are performed to remove damaged skin cells and expose younger-looking skin underneath. With chemical peels, a potent mixture of several topical acids are applied to your face, which is subsequently removed while also removing layers of skin cells.


    A more advanced form of exfoliation called microdermabrasion works to buff away flaws and leave your skin looking smooth and evenly toned. This treatment is seen as reduced risk and minimally invasive. It is frequently used to address dark spots, especially those brought on by acne.

    Resurfacing with laser

    With laser skin resurfacing, dead skin is removed from the body while new skin cells are stimulated to grow in the deeper layers of the skin. Lasers can also be used to dissolve scar tissue and lighten dark spots brought on by acne.

    There are lasers that specifically target the pigment layer of the skin thereby hastening the lightening of dark spots.

    When to go to the doctor?

    Solar lentigos are flat, brown sunspots that are benign and resemble large freckles. However, if the spots change color or become flaky or scaly, they should be evaluated by a dermatologist. If you notice that you have dark spots on your skin frequently or if the presence of these dark spots is interfering with your daily life, it’s time to consult your doctor.

    Making a treatment plan with your dermatologist can give you a realistic perspective of dark spots caused by pimples. 

    Key Takeaways

    Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or hyperpigmentation caused by acne appears as dark spots on the skin after pimples disappear. Dark spots may occur more frequently in people with darker-colored skin. But they can appear in all types of skin. Hyperpigmentation acne is not harmful, but it can cause significant psychosocial effects.

    People may seek treatment for hyperpigmentation acne for cosmetic purposes. Dermatologists can help evaluate the intensity of the dark spots and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

    Some dark spots may disappear without treatment, but fading takes time. It can be months to years before the spots fade.

    Learn more about Acne here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Fact-checked by

    Kristel Lagorza

    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 12, 2022

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