By John Todd

If you have dark or olive skin, you should find out all you can about your acne before you try treating it yourself or going to a dermatologist. In fact, if someone you know who also has skin of color has seen a dermatologist who knows about the subject, you are in luck. That is because many doctors do not know how to treat skin of color.

If your skin is darker, it has more melanin. That makes it different than the lighter skin that many doctors were trained to treat. Skin with more of the melanin that deepens its color is more prone to dark spots or light spots when treated. It must be treated carefully to avoid these discolorations.

You may have noticed that your skin forms darker spots in places where you have a rash or a pimple. These darker spots will appear when you have acne that is healing. It is a normal reaction to inflammation. However, it is not a desirable one. The good news is that they seem to fade away as time goes by.

If the darker spots do not go away, your dermatologist should help you by prescribing a skin-lightening agent. This should be used in such a way that it does not overdo it, but you retain your original skin color.

Surprisingly, one treatment for these darker spots is sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen helps the spots to go away. Just remember to use noncomedogenic sunscreen, as it will not promote further acne by clogging your pores.

Topical treatments that work by drying out your skin are not right for you if you have skin of color. Products like those containing benzoyl peroxide will not only irritate it, but will also cause discolorations in your skin as well. It is interesting to note that, although many people think that skin of color is tougher, it is actually quite sensitive.

There are topical treatments your doctor can prescribe that will help you. Retinoids are very helpful, and they do not dry or cause discoloration. Some of the ones you can use are: adapalene, tazarotene, and tretinoin.

Your dermatologist should also be aware that if you use pomade for your hair, it can cause problems with acne. This kind of acne is called acne cosmetica. You can get it on your forehead along your hairline, for instance.

An uninformed doctor, if he notices at all, might insist that you stop using pomade altogether. While it may come to that if the problem will not clear up, it might not be necessary at first. You can try applying pomade an inch or so back from the hairline first. This will leave the forehead with more normal oil content.

You may use moisturizers to relieve dry, ashy skin if you have it of color. You can usually avoid acne by using one that is noncomedogenic. If you still get acne, seek help.

There are other treatments that are not available to you. Pulsed-light therapy with ALA is not recommended for people with its color. Until more therapies are designed specifically for darker skin, it is wise to use the ones that will not damage your skin. Then, stay away from the treatments that will harm you.

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