This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


Benzoyl Peroxide Makes My Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Worse.

6 posts in this topic

This is not true for everybody, but this is my experience.

I do recommend trying the regimen, but if you find dark marks are more of a concern for you than the acne then outlined below is the solution that worked for me.

I'm female with sensitive skin that is prone to dryness and moderate acne. Even the smallest spot will leave a dark brown PIH mark, and my marks do not fade for many many months. I also get blackheads on my nose.

I found that Benzac did help clear up my skin, but the PIH marks were so dark that I needed heavy make-up to feel able to leave the house, and the second I stopped using Benzac everything would flare up again so the dark marks just kept accumulating and had no time to fade.

I have found what has really worked for both my acne and PIH (after MUCH trial and MUCH error) is using retin-a CREAM and hydroquinone.

I have tried everything short of accutane (differin, retin-a gel, epiduo, minomycin tablets, benzac, etc etc) but recently I've had a breakthrough.

As tempting as it is to just smother my skin with retin-a every night I've been using retin-a CREAM (not Gel!!) only every second or third night.

I use hydroquinone, mixed with a little of the retin-a, to spot treat dark marks everynight without fail. (I mix it on the back of my hand and then rub it into the marks directly with a q-tip, then wash hands).

Aside from that I have been using gentle cleansers for sensitive skin, and only mineral makeup, spf 30 sunscreen for sensitive skin EVERY day and avoiding too much sun on my face, and gentle moisturisers for the nights I'm not using the retin-a cream.

After 6 weeks of just sticking to gentle products and the retin-a cream/hydroquinone my skin is SO SO SO much better. My skin is smooth aside from the odd pimple, and the marks really have faded.

I had tried hydroquinone in the past, with retin-a gel and no success, as my skin was just so irritated. The trick (for me) is just sticking to a routine, and being gentle.

The down side is a really can't squeeze my pimples now (and I am SUCH a picker), the retin-a gel makes my skin quite "weak", but in the long term retin-a does promote collagen production.

And sunscreen is an absolute MUST, every single day, without fail! And whenever possible I wear hats.

I kind of can't believe something so simple worked for me, it doesn't feel "agressive" enough for my taste, but it has worked, and there is no way that I'm stopping. I feel like I'm onto a really good thing.

I really recommend trying it. I'm so much happier with my skin. For the first time in years I don't hate looking at myself in the mirror.

Also, there is a post here about make-up removal and cleansing if you're interested.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also use the retin-a cream every night, been seeing some difference but not too much. Which type of hydroquinone do you use, brand? Has it clogged any pores or cause any break outs? Also, which percentage is it? I know some countries have banned hydroquinone as it might cause cancer? Was thinking about using it but the cancer part got me worried.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi HoustonD,

I've been using Eldoquin Forte 4% Cream.

I know that there are a LOT of studies outlining a whole range of adverse affects associated with using Hydroquinone, from severe skin irritations, to making hyperpigmentation worse, to cancer. I'm not qualified to weigh up the pro's and con's, I just know I personally thought it was worth trying because of how bothered I was by my PIH.

I am cautious though, and I only use very small ammounts applied to individual spots.

I also do not plan on using hydroquinone long term and am thinking about ceasing use soon.

If you are worried about the risks I recommend just sticking to the Retin-A cream, wearing sunscreen, and forget about the hydroquinone.

I think the hydroquinone does speed up the fading of PIH, but only very slightly, and it still takes time.

If I apply hydroquinone to a larger area my skin does get irritated, the pores can get clogged - but I do not get clogged pores from direct spot applications if I apply really small ammounts with a q-tip rather than rubbing in with my fingers.

I think the Retin-A is the more effective than the hydroquinone in helping my skin. And if I stop with the hydroquinone (which I am considering as I do not want to use hydroquinone long term) I will not stop using the Retin-A, as the longer I use the Retin-A cream the better my skin gets.

I only really get really tiny white heads now, and the odd "real" pimple. Just be really gentle with your skin, ALWAYS wear sunscreen, and cleanse gently but thoroughly.

Hope that helps you in making a decision, and I hope you continue to see a difference.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience with acne is similar. I have moderate acne and the PIH is more of an issue for me then the acne itself! and my skin is sensitive.

Ive spent years using topical BP and other topical creams/gels and taking antibiotics. I used bp in various strengths 2% to 5% and 10% ansd although it controlled my acne it made my PIH very dark in contrast to my skin colour.

But when my doctor precribed me Isotrexin gel which is 2% erythromycin /istretinoin 0.05% my skin improved dramtically in 4 months. Apart from all my my acne being controlled and stopping new spots forming it faded my scars (HIP) like 80%. I was realistic I know my skin wouldnt be 100% clear but it was an amazing difference with a few odd scars here and there comapared to a whole sections of my face covered in scars. I had a side effect of hair thinning and stopped it but all my acne came back in 2 months which resulted in all the PIH scars. back to square one!

So I went back to using retin-a again.. This time I used it maybe twice a week or every two days because I was worried about the side effect of hair thinning. And it made a difference and I didnt get any side effects this time around. Although Id say it hasnt been 100% effective as the first time maybe 80% because i dont use it every single night, I still get a few flare ups. But in comparison to not using retin-a my flare ups would be really bad and my PIH would be very bad also..But its the PIH that has improved the most which is my main concern rather then the acne itself. So Iam the same, retin-a is probably the only thing I can use to control my acne to some degree which in turn improves my PIH.

I have tried cream based retin-a but it wasnt effective in controlling my spots but lightens my marks but the gel does both which is why I found the gel is better

I use Retin-a every other night and use aleo vera gel on the night I dont use it. Now I use ambi mosture daily oil free lotion on my face with spf 15 protection, La roche facial gel facial wash for oily sensitive skin.

I want to try using hydroquinone and seen reviews that it does work very well but its banned in the UK which questions maybe it really is a health risk and is quite bad

.Ive tried to calm down on wearing pounds of foundation to cover my scars which has been hard because Ive always been self concious about it but because my PIH has got allot better Iam less self concious about it and wear less foundation! and more happy in my own skin....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Biads,

I actually thought it was me writing your email as it highlights my own pathways towards finding better skin products that reduce both Acne and Hyperpigmentation.

The Hydroquinone and tretioin (Retin-A) cremes one can buy as one is called Pigmanorm. This is available through NHS prescription. But, obviously one would have to be recommended this by a dermatologist, first. I agree, the retin-A gel is not anywhere effective as the creme formula. Hence, the NHS is not pulling its weight here.

In the private sector, I have found the Obagi nu-derm system to be great in clearing and toning the skin free from acne and hyperpigmentation. Though, it is expensive. Obagi range consists of a foam wash, toner, exfodern and a hydrquinone for night and one for the morning. This Obagi 'system' is the perfect daily cleansing formula for the face.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also have PIH but i cant have any products because i live in japan do you think turmeric will help my PIH while using the regimen? Thanks in advance

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites