Treatment recommendations for acne-associated hyperpigmentation: Results of the Delphi consensus process and a literature review

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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology


Acne vulgaris can be associated with hyperpigmentation, particularly in individuals with skin of color. This acne-induced macular hyperpigmentation (AMH), also called postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, is often long lasting and negatively impacts quality of life. Large-scale, randomized, controlled clinical trials with regard to the treatment of acne and AMH are lacking. For this reason, evidence-based treatment recommendations cannot be made. However, AMH is a common condition, and it is important for clinicians to have guidance on management strategies. The authors, a group of 10 board-certified dermatologists, conducted a modified Delphi consensus process to reach a consensus on first-line therapy for AMH and determine whether therapeutic choices change in different patient subgroups. We reached a consensus that most patients with acne and AMH should receive early and efficacious acne treatment with a topical retinoid and benzoyl peroxide. Therapies aimed at addressing AMH-including hydroquinone, azelaic acid, chemical peel, or antioxidants-may also be considered for enhancing the effect of the treatment regimen on acne and pigmentation. Chemical peels may be used as adjunctive or second-line therapy. This article details the results of the Delphi process, reviews relevant literature for providing recommendations for AMH, and discusses appropriate treatment options.

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ePub ahead of print