Effects of Topical Retinoids on Acne and Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation in Patients with Skin of Color: A Clinical Review and Implications for Practice

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American journal of clinical dermatology


Acne is a common cause for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), particularly in patients with skin of color (SOC), and PIH is often more distressing to patients than the acne itself. Topical retinoids are approved for the treatment of acne and for pigmentation disorders such as melasma or mottled hyperpigmentation associated with photodamage; moreover, they have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation in patients with SOC. Therefore, treatment with topical retinoids should be started as early as possible unless contraindicated. Use of novel formulations or application of commonly recommended moisturizers may help reduce irritation. Combining retinoids with other topical agents and procedures such as superficial chemical peels can help to improve hyperpigmentation. Primary acne lesions are likely to improve weeks before PIH resolves and helping patients manage their expectations may reduce frustration. Providing clinicians and researchers with more education about the presentation and management of dermatologic conditions in patients with SOC is also recommended.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print