How can I get rid of pigment marks on my back due to acne?
Post acne pigment marks are a common occurrence, especially for back acne.
There are 2 main forms: post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation- PIH (brown marks) or erythema (red marks).
Unfortunately, exfoliation alone is unlikely to help very much. Apart from "over-the-counter" exfoliation products, you might want to try medical-grade chemical peels like Glycolic or Jessner's peels. These superfical peels can help to lighten pigmentation over several treatment sessions.
The type of pigment marks that you have will determine which treatments you need.
For removal of brown marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is one of the effective types of treatment. Other effective treatment options for back acne PIH include topical whitening creams, chemical peels and pigment lasers (Picosecond Lasers, Q-switched (nano-second) Nd:YAG lasers, etc). Sun protection is equally important to ensure good results from your treatments.
For removal of post acne erythema (red marks), IPL can be effective too. Studies have shown that IPL is effective and safe for treating post acne erythema even in darker, sensitive skin patients (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29854634).
You might also want to consider other vascular lasers such as Pro Yellow, VBeam and Excel V, if u have persistent erythema (red marks).
In my practice, I use a combination of treatments including creams, chemical peels and lasers because of their synergistic effects.
On a personal note, do speak to a trusted doctor regarding the most suitable treatment/s for you as there isn't a "one size fits all" treatment plan. Although IPL and Lasers might sound high-tech, simple chemical peels and topical creams might be more cost-effective for you.
With so many treatment options out there, please speak to an experienced doctor for expert advice! Hope this helps!
Dr Justin Boey
Ditto as to what my friend Dr Justin has mentioned.
On a side note, the use of the Picoplus picosecond laser has been showing exceptional results with the management of post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) Left from acne in our practice and others'. This is inspite of the fact that PIH responds rather variably to light-based devices.
Used in combination with peels as Dr Justin has mentioned can further accelerate results.
Otherwise, the laser itself results in little down time and can produce significant results in a matter of sessions.
Feel free to inquire if you would like to know more on the expected results or the procedures involved.
Dr Shane Tan
Those pigmented marks that you have mentioned are Post-Inflammation Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and/or Post-Inflammation Erythema (if those marks are red).
Personally, I use a combination of lightening creams and lasers to lighten these marks.
I use different pigment-specific lasers to target the dark pigmented "marks" at different levels in the skin for optimal results and a laser of a different wavelength to target those that are "red" in color. Do note that multiple sessions are required for expedited and best results.
IPLs does not penetrate deeply into the skin as compared to lasers and it would not be my treatment of choice as they are less effective.
Hope this helps. All the best!