30% OFF $40+ PURCHASE!
Inclusive Clinical Skincare
Inclusive Clinical Skincare
FREE SHIPPING on U.S. orders $50+   Learn More

The Tea on Acne: Breakouts and Hyperpigmentation

African American woman with radiant skin, touching her face

By now, you may be aware that acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. But did you know that researchers are learning that acne may affect people of color at a higher rate, especially when taking post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation into account? It’s true!

According to a 2010 study - yes, it’s time for a major update - clinical acne was more prevalent in African American and Hispanic women (37%, 32% respectively) than in Continental Indian, Caucasian and Asian (23%, 24%, 30% respectively) women. Who knows what those numbers look like now?!

A much more recent study conducted in February of 2020, however, revealed that after studying a cohort of 29, 928 patients with acne, the researchers found that patients who are Black were far less likely to receive prescriptions for acne medication such as systemic treatments like antibiotics than their white counterparts even though darker skin tones may face longer-lasting post-acne marks.

In honor of National Acne Awareness Month, and in light of ongoing skincare disparities along with racial injustice, we’re going to spill the tea on how to deal with acne that’s complicated by skin tone and hyperpigmentation.

7 Tips to combat acne if you have melanated skin

While acne is a common skin concern across all skin types, extensive research has shown that those with darker skin may have different concerns when it comes to treatment and the prevention of post-acne dark spots. So while some of these tips highlight advice for many different skin types, they are also focused on melanin-rich acne concerns.

  1. Find treatments that kill two birds with one stone - acne AND dark spots
    For those with deeper skin tones, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne often go hand in hand. After a breakout, your body sometimes produces cells with too much melanin in them to replace the damaged skin. As such, it makes sense that those who already have melanin-rich skin often find that acne leaves behind even darker spots. That’s why you should find products that are formulated to handle both.

  2. Prevention is key for dark spots and acne
    Keeping acne at bay keeps dark spots away. If you find the right skincare regimen and products to keep your acne under control, you can then prevent major breakouts and the complications that follow such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, acne scars and keloids.

  3. Use products with the right ingredients
    If you have melanin-rich skin, a single product may not be the answer to all of your acne prayers. After all, not every product will contain the top four recommended ingredients you should be searching for - Retinoids (improves the look of skin tone and texture), Benzoyl Peroxide (removes excess oil and helps exfoliate dead skin cells while killing bacteria), Salicylic Acid (exfoliates dead skin cells) and Sulfur (oil-absorbing).

    It’s also important to note here that not every acne product available on the market is created for melanin-rich skin. Finding products that are created with your skin in mind is critical for preventing breakouts and dealing with dark spots.

  4. Pay attention to where you’re breaking out
    Do you notice your breakouts typically pop-up along your forehead, hairline or temples? The issue could be your hair products. If you’re using hair products that contain high concentrations of oil, the oil could be clogging your pores and causing your skin to breakout. Switch hair products or be more vigilant about keeping your hair and said product off of your face.

  5. Find skincare products that are non-pore-clogging
    Are you a cocoa butter lover? You’re not alone. However, cocoa butter isn’t non-comedogenic which means it can clog your pores resulting in an increase in breakouts. If you have oily skin, opt instead for skincare products that have a non-pore-clogging formula to prevent breakouts from happening in the first place.

  6. Avoid applying excess makeup to cover dark spots
    We know, dark spots can be embarrassing and negatively affect your confidence. So the first thing you may want to do after dark spots start to form is to cover them up with makeup. But the truth is, covering the surface of your skin with excess makeup can have an adverse effect on your skin and increase your chances of breaking out.

  7. Find a dermatologist or licensed skincare professional
    Finding a dermatologist can be intimidating for people with deeper skin tones It’s no secret that the skincare industry is way behind when it comes to melanated skin from treatments to products, there is much to be desired from an educational standpoint. But if you do your research, you will find a dermatologist that understands your unique skin challenges and help you find a treatment or skincare regimen that works best for you.


    For other information, education and resources on how to maintain your melanin-rich glow, check back on The Glow-Up Guide often!