Most acne medications can be used for all skin colors, however if an individual with darker skin has the possibility to develop PIP (post-inflammatory pigmentation), different medications may be necessary. If two months of self treatments yield very little result, you should visit a dermatologist immediately. PIP can get worse under sun exposure and to be entirely effective, any treatment should also involve the use of bleaching medications and sunblocks. It is necessary to take measures to reduce ultraviolet exposure, for example by wearing protective clothing and hats when going outdoor. The best defense is to avoid the sun altogether.
Benzoyl peroxide salicylic acid
Common OTC (over the counter) medications including, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are good cures if you have a mild case of acne. Before using them, you should make sure that your skin can tolerate them, as they can be irritating on some people’s skin. You may begin with benzoyl peroxide initially and stick with it if your skin can tolerate it and you see enough improvements. You can boost the treatment by adding another OTC, the salicylic acid; simply apply it over the recently dried layer of benzoyl peroxide on your skin.
On some people the combination of both OTC medications can produce whitish scales on people with dark skin. The scales often look “ashy” and accompanied with irritations. Similar scales also appear on people with lighter skin; however they are not easily visible. If scales still appear after you use both OTC medications, you should apply a mild water-based moisturizer. If you also have dark spots, it is necessary to choose a moisturizer that also contains sunscreen agents instead. If your skin can tolerate it, you may choose greasier, heavier moisturizer, while people with sensitive skin should use mild water-based products with about 2.5 percent of benzoyl peroxide. Repeat the treatment every two days and slightly increase the dosage if you can tolerate it. Similarly, if you get irritation from salicylic acid products, switch to products that have no peeling effect and start with 1 percent concentration. Use the product every two days.
If you have PIP spots, you can use OTC products that contain 1 or 2 percent hydroquinone, a substance that is commonly used to treat PIP. Black Opal, Porcelana, Esoterica and Ambi are companies that manufacture OTC hydroquinone-containing gels and “fade” creams. Apply these products on the affected areas of the skin twice a day. On certain people temporary skin darkening and mild irritation may occur, however stop using them if darkening and irritation persists; seek professional advices to get better alternative treatments.
Some bleaching agents already have sunscreen in them, however if you go outdoor often, you may need to use a sun-blocking agent and wear protective clothing, to shade the treated area. OTC products can help, but they may not be strong enough, consequently, prescribed medications may be necessary. Avoid products that contain 10 percent hydroquinone or higher, they are often originated from Asia and Africa countries and can make their way illegally into the US, especially in ethnic neighborhoods. High concentration of hydroquinone may actually cause ochronosis or a darkening reaction.