Doctor's Answers (2)
Good to hear that your acne has cleared up. Sorry to hear that you are still suffering from obvious red marks which must be quite distressing for you.
These red marks are known as Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE). They present as localized skin redness following any type of skin inflammation, and may progress to scarring. Facial PIE improves with time, but very slowly, and in some cases, complete clearance of PIE cannot be achieved. Acne erythema should be understood as a scar with erythematous components and not as a simple erythematous or vascular lesion.
What are effective topical treatments to speed up the fading of Post Acne Erythema?
Unfortunately, acne-induced PIEs are generally resistant to available topical medications. There is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of topical treatments for Post Inflammatory Erythema. The following topical off-label treatments could possibly help:
The mainstay of treatment for Post Inflammatory Erythema remains energy based devices such as:
Clinical photographs showing improvement in post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) after Fractional Microneedling Radiofrequency. The treated group showed improvement in redness 8 weeks after the second session of treatment (B) compared with baseline (A), whereas the control group showed no improvement (D) compared with baseline (C). (source)
I own and use both Long Pulsed and Fractional devices. Personally, I prefer to use Fractional Resurfacing treatments as they improve concomitant scarring or active acne often present in patients with PIE. Long Pulsed Lasers do however have advantages in having less downtime.
Needless to say, it is important to control active acne and reduce sun exposure to prevent further skin damage and development of marks.
Do speak to your doctor to find out how best to manage your red marks.
Hope this helps!
Dr Wan Chee Kwang
Sorry to hear that you are troubled with post acne red marks. Laser is indeed the best way of removing these marks.
We usually use the pulsed dye laser (VBEAM) as it is excellent in shutting down the blood vessels and resulting in fading even after 1-3 sessions.
In terms of topicals, we usually advise patients to practice strict sun protection and apply sunscreen daily as well as to reduce sun exposure as much as possible. As long as there are no new active acne forming, these marks will usually fade gradually over time.
Hope this helps!
Dr Stephanie Ho, Dermatologist