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Dark Spots from Acne - How to get rid of them AND Prevent Recurrence.

Updated on November 23, 2016
Ebonny profile image

Ebonny shares her views on lessening dark spots and uneven skin tone, drawing from past experience and experiences of those she cares for.

© copyright 2013 Ebonny

Are you frustrated or depressed in your quest to get rid of dark spots from acne?


Your answer to the following question could be key to ending the cycle of dark marks reappearing

Do you use sunscreen?

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What is acne?

Acne is a skin disorder where hair follicles become blocked with sebum and, combined with bacteria and oily skin, lead to pimples, spots, zits, pustules, whitehead, blackheads, cysts and/or nodules. Such inflammation and breaking of skin can create acne scars/darkened areas of skin, marring the appearance of the affected area. The most common sites for acne are the face, shoulders and back, although it can manifest elsewhere on the body.

Acne Scars

The advice herein is applicable to all skin hues, including dark or black skin.

Whilst it is important to see a doctor to diagnose and treat acne, the main focus of this article is how to get rid of the dark spots/hyperpigmentation which acne and other skin trauma can leave behind and how to help prevent re-darkening of skin.

Acne and Acne Scarring can lead to isolation and depression

Acne spots, pimples, cysts and scarring can cause a person to become extremely self conscious, even worrying that others may perceive them as dirty even thought this is NOT the case. When treatment options do not work out as hoped for the prolonged presence of acne and acne scarring can lead to mood swings and depression.

Many try to isolate themselves and non essential outings are avoided. They may avoid looking others in the eye, perhaps with the exception of very close family members and are uncomfortable with other people looking at them. Thus the psychological effects of acne and acne scarring can be very debilitating.

As well as taking medical advice to address the physical and mental consequences of prolonged severe acne, it is also wise to seek out support groups as it can help to communicate with others who know what you are going through. If you are severely affected by acne please do not suffer alone.

If you have dark spots/hyperpigmentation ...

and are not wearing an SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen every day, why is this?

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Sunscreen should not be regarded as an optional extra if you have dark spots/hyperpigmentation

Fallene Total Block Face UVA/UVB Complete Broad Spectrum Sun Protection, SPF 60 Tinted, 2 fl Ounces (59 ml)
Fallene Total Block Face UVA/UVB Complete Broad Spectrum Sun Protection, SPF 60 Tinted, 2 fl Ounces (59 ml)

This broad spectrum sunscreen comes in clear and tinted formulations, and the tint is variable to your skin tone. As at December 2013, it is rated 4.2 stars out of 5 stars based on approximately 140 reviews.


Regardless of your skin condition ...

When a person is beautiful on the inside it attracts others who are also beautiful on the inside, and these are the people you should aim to be around.

Whether or not your skin tone is even, think and act positive and allow your inner beauty to shine through. As far as practicable, distance yourself from those who are constantly negative about your skin.

Sunscreen - Why it's your first line of defence

Many who try to get rid of dark spots on their skin without success are in that predicament because they do not use a high SPF Broad Spectrum Sunscreen on a daily basis. In addition to using sunscreen, it is very important to keep out of sunlight as far as is practicable.

The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology advise that sun exposure is a top reason why those with hyperpigmentation (i.e. skin which is darker than prevalent/normal skin colour) produce excess melanin. Such excess melanin prompts the formation of visible dark spots, melasma, liver spots etc. on the skin.

Hyperpigmentation can have a number of causes e.g. heredity, hormonal, allergic reaction and since there is no "cure" for hyperpigmentation, limiting sun exposure is paramount if you want to fade existing dark spots AND help prevent them redeveloping.

To reduce sun exposure generally, be conscious to try to keep your back to the sun rather than have the sun shine on your face. Wear/use a hat, visor, parasol or umbrella to limit exposure and keep in the shade as much as you can.

As well as helping with preventing further hyperpigmentation, some other Important benefits of using sunscreen are it helps protect you against wrinkles/premature skin aging and skin cancer. Also note that too much sun can cause eye damage/cateracts.

Applying sunscreen needs to become second nature


Even if you have dark skin / black skin, Sunscreen is essential

Many people with dark skin or black skin skip using sunscreen altogether. They may feel that since their skin does not burn as easily as fair skin sunscreen is an optional extra rather than an essential preventative against dark spots.

Black people who attempt to find a high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30+) often give up because they find that when they apply such sunscreen it leaves an unsightly while cast or glow on their skin. Hence they either elect to use a low SPF sunscreen, or skip sunscreen altogether.

The "white" in the sunscreen generally comes from the presence of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or similar which is necessary to help protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Tinted sunscreen helps overcome the issue of a white cast on the skin for those who are not fair skinned but for women of colour, especially those with a deeper skin tone or black skin another possible solution would be to apply makeup on top of the tinted sunscreen, thereby entirely eliminating the ghostly white appearance that the high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen leaves on the skin.

Mineral foundations are usually easily applied over sunscreen and help give the skin a flawless appearance whilst hiding the ghostly cast of the essential sunscreen.

Avoiding the look of a white cast on the skin is a bit of a chore to begin with, but a chore well worth carrying out as using sunscreen is an essential preventative measure if you want to help stop the dark marks from recurring.

How to get rid of dark spots - Some Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are cost effective and sustainable and therefore it's worth trying them before you resort to other more expensive or invasive options for lightening dark spots from acne. Whatever treatment option you choose be sure to use sunscreen daily and limit sun exposure in addition. (Please also see the brown text in the box below before starting any new treatment regime.)

Customer reviews which specifically mention dark spots can be seen here.

NB: Apply the serum directly to cleansed skin. Then apply moisturiser as necessary and, most importantly, Sunscreen. Make up can be applied also if desired but note the Vitamin C serum needs to be applied to the skin before anything else to maximise its effects and help fade dark spots. To apply it only to very small darkened areas of skin, using a cotton bud is advisable.


Pure D'Alpha Vitamin E Oil helps fade darkened skin

Vitamin E 14,000 IU Nature's Plus 0.5 oz Liquid
Vitamin E 14,000 IU Nature's Plus 0.5 oz Liquid

Applying Vitamin E Oil to the skin helps fade dark skin patches/black spots, scarring and helps with wrinkles. This pure D'Alpha Vitamin E Oil has been rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by reviewers as at December 2013.


Vitamin E Oil

To lighten dark skin, use a cotton bud/cotton wool to massage/apply vitamin E oil to the cleansed affected skin. If you have dry skin you may wish to leave this on for prolonged periods/overnight. For those with oily skin wash off after 60 minutes.

For best results choose pure/natural D-Alpha vitamin E Oil, (see the image on this page) rather than synthetic Dl-Alpha vitamin E. Also note tht pure vitamin E oil is yellow rather than clear in colour and has a thick consistency. If you find the oil too thick you could try mixing it with a little of your usual face cream. Another alternative is to mix it with lemon juice (lemon juice being another natural remedy for lightening dark skin patches). Important - always thoroughly wash lemon juice off the skin before exposing skin to sunlight, as lemon juice can make skin photosensitive.)

Baking Soda

Mix a small amount of baking powder in just enough water to form a thick paste. To reduce acne scarring, on a daily basis, apply the paste to cleansed areas of dark skin, using a cotton bud or cotton wool, dependent upon the size of the area to be treated. Try to limit the paste to areas of darkened skin only. Leave the paste on the skin for approximately15 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.


Grind oatmeal in a blender to form a powder and mix the powder with just enough water to form a paste. To fade acne scars, use a cotton bud or cotton wool to apply the oatmeal paste to the cleansed acne scars only, i.e. avoiding areas unaffected by the acne. Leave the paste on the skin for up to 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water. Repeat daily.

Vitamin E Oil, Baking Soda and Oatmeal are but three natural remedies for fading acne scars. See the blue links box above right for information on other home remedies which can reduce hyperpigmentation, melasma, liver spots, age spots, freckles, black spots etc.

Sensible Things to Consider when Fading Dark Skin - (NB: Click within the frame for larger print)

(NB: Click within the frame for larger print)
(NB: Click within the frame for larger print) | Source

When will you see results?

If you expect to get rid of dark spots overnight you will be disappointed. Be patient rather than give up on a regime prematurely.

Carry out your chosen method of fading the scarring alongside daily applications of carefully chosen broad spectrum sunscreen, it being a vital component of lightening acne scarring as detailed above.

Everyone is different and some will see results after only a couple of weeks, whilst others may not see results for perhaps 6-8 weeks.

Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or above, DAILY

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 1.7 oz
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 1.7 oz

This light, oil-free broad spectrum sunscreen can be worn beneath makeup, and is recommended for sensitive skin. Following over 470 reviews, as at December 2013 it is rated 4.6 stars out of 5.


Checklist for how to get rid of dark spots on face from acne / hyperpigmentation


To help break the cycle of fading darker skin and it constantly reappearing

  1. Use a broad spectrum, high SPF (30 or above) every single day, even if you are not going out (sunlight can enter buildings through windows etc.) and even if you have dark/black skin.

  2. Reduce sun exposure e.g. wear a broad brimmed hat, shelter under a parasol, stay in the shade, turn your face away from the sun, winter and summer, on vacation or at home.

  3. Be consistent with using your chosen method of fading the dark skin. (It's important to choose a cost effective regime which you can sustain for the long term e.g. natural remedies such as Vitamin E Oil)

All three of the above are necessary to help fade dark spots and to help holt the reformation of dark skin.

Finally, It has to be said that there is no fast "magic wand" way of guaranteeing that dark spots will disappear and never reappear but by conscientiously carrying out the above advice you will be doing yourself a huge favour and you will maximise your chances of attaining a clearer, even toned and beautiful complexion.

© 2013 Ebonny

Dark Spots from Acne - You are welcome to share your experience of dealing with this issue.

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    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 3 years ago from UK

      Many thanks for dropping by Ologsinquito

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      I'm all for the natural remedies whenever possible.

    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 3 years ago from UK

      Hi stricktlydating - many thanks for your comment. Great to know that you are so attentive to taking good care of your skin (must be tricky in your climate) and interesting to note what you say about lasers.

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 3 years ago from Australia

      Great advice! I wear sunscreen every day, it also helps avoid wrinkles from sun damage. And a hat if I am out and about. Even though I do this, a bit of pigmentation shows itself in summer from sunshine, I guess it's hard to avoid the sun completely being an outdoorsy Aussie girl. We have periods of heat waves during summer, you can burn just ducking out to hang a few clothes on the line. For any pigmentation that does annoy me on my face and neck (Caused by the sun coming in through the window whilst in a car) I just get removed in an annual laser treatment, the kind that zaps small areas of pigmentation. This is a quick fix which I find benefits my fair complexion ;-)