Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, also known as dark spots or red spots that are left after acne lesions heal is a common difficulty that acne sufferers with non-Caucasion skin share.1-3 Hyperpigmentation is common among people of African, Asian, and Latino descent, as well as other forms of "ethnic" skin.4 Various forms of acne therapy are often mistakenly blamed for the creation of these marks, but it is the skin's inflammatory process which creates them. These marks can take months, and in rare cases years, to fade.5 Although they are often referred to as "scars," they are not permanent. Nonetheless, they cause many people intense distress. Often, people with hyperpigmentation describe this issue as more concerning than the acne itself.
Picking at acne lesions is perhaps the worst culprit when it comes to these marks. Absolutely do not pick at acne lesions. Properly pop a pimple, and then leave the lesion alone. Also, while it may seem intuitive to scrub marks away, harsh scrubbing will only prolong their duration and should be avoided. Next, wearing a sunscreen is a huge help in getting these marks to fade as fast as possible.1,4,6 But the best way to prevent the marks is to treat the acne itself, thus preventing future acne lesions and any hyperpigmentation that they might leave behind.7 Acne is treated the same regardless of skin color and responds extremely well to proper topical treatment. When acne is severe, widespread, and deeply scarring, Accutane is also an option.
Useful link Frances, one of Acne.org's earliest members, posted a niceoverview of hyperpigmentation on the forum.