Murad Q&A: How can I reduce pigmentation and acne scarring?

reduce pigmentation marks

Here we go with the first question for Dr Murad. I think Yvonne’s question will be useful for lots of people; pigmentation and acne scarring is a huge issue and especially in darker skin colours when it often becomes more noticeable.  If you want any background information on this Q&A series then please see the introductory post here. If you want to browse all of my posts related to dark spots and hyperpigmentation, you can see those here.


My question is how do you avoid and reduce blemish marks on black skin? If Dr Murad can help answer this, he will have helped ease the concerns of millions of black and women of colour worldwide as this is one of our major skincare concerns.

Dr Murad:

Hi Yvonne,

Many times people believe that the solution to all their skin care concerns can be found in one product. The truth is that when you want to correct skin care concerns such as acne, fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage or others, it is important to look at it from an Inclusive Health approach. This three-pronged approach includes using topical skin care products, eating a plant-based diet and taking appropriate supplements, and taking time to find your Sense of Self-emotional and spiritual balance in your life. Pigmentation can be more noticeable in darker skins and it can be more prone to scaring. It is important to build up the skin’s barrier function from the inside out.

Age spots, post acne spots and freckles are all signs of melanin coming to the surface of damaged skin. Building stronger, healthier skin cells helps diminish the occurrence of unwanted pigmentation, as does being sun-smart. Once spots reveal themselves, reach for topical products that are high in Vitamin C, which has been shown to be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation and providing powerful antioxidant protection.

Our Environmental Shield range has loads of products that repair and heal the skin, reducing the appearance of scars and breaking down pigmentation and dark spots in the skin while preventing any new damage from forming. It is also extremely important  to always protect yourself in the sun to prevent further pigmentation and prevent existing pigmentation from getting worse. It is important to use a sun cream every day, even when it’s cloudy or dull outside because UVA rays, (the ones responsible for premature ageing, skin cancer and pigmentation), are active all year round and at the same strength no matter what the weather.

 Depending on your age and your skin concerns you could either use the Blemish Control Range which is for younger skin or you could use the Anti-ageing Blemish Control Range which is gentle yet effective in removing blemishes from the skin whilst also treating fine lines and wrinkles.

I would also recommend the Exfoliating Blemish Treatment Gel in the evening after cleansing. This formula is made up of Hydrogen Peroxide to kill bacteria, Salicylic Acid to address the blemishes and Glycolic Acid to provide natural moisture for the skin while generating cell renewal which is proven to lessen the appearance of scars.

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  1. Sara
    September 27, 2012 / 1:25 pm

    Great answer, this helps a lot… even for white girls like me ;)
    Thanks Dr. Murad :)

  2. September 27, 2012 / 1:29 pm

    Very inspiring. I’ve already been taking one of his vitamin routines since at the very least May and cannot believe that it helps so much! Just reordered another month’s supply the other day after going over the ingredients info yet again and find it amazing the Murad vitamins work, not to mention how convenient the packaging is, making it a regime that’s conducive to success. I’ve tried so many other “famous” formulations by other doctors which were failures, but Murad’s really work! Worth every penny! Thanks, Ruth! Xx

    • RuthCrilly
      September 27, 2012 / 3:18 pm

      Upa, they need you on commission! LOL x

      • September 28, 2012 / 4:34 am

        I suppose I do sound a bit too much like a cheerleader! LOL! Whoops! Xx

  3. Jen "Rocker!"
    September 27, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    Sorry if I’m being a bit dense, but what is the difference between “dark spots” and “hyperpigmentation”? I thought dark sports were hyperpigmentation? Just read the above article and the linked articles and I still can’t figure it all out…

    Basically, I am am pale and freckly and have now got a few splodgy freckles (basically sun damage) on my chin/chest from getting caught out in the sun. Are they dark spots?

    I already wear sunscreen everyday and use Dermalogica’s Clean Start “Bedtime for Breakouts” (2% Salicylic Acid) every night to keep my skin clear, so do I just need to buy something high in Vitamin C?

    • RuthCrilly
      September 27, 2012 / 3:18 pm

      Yes, could be good for the morning to have an antioxidant. That Filorga one is immense! Should be on one of the links. Yeah, there’s not really a difference – I just have them in two categories so it covers both terms when people search for it! x

      • Jen "Rocker!"
        September 27, 2012 / 3:57 pm

        Thanks Ruth, I’ll have a look at the Filorga x

  4. PamperedPrince
    September 28, 2012 / 8:13 am

    Thanks for writing this Ruth. My skin has been freaking out recently. I’ve had acne on & off for ages. Sometimes it gets better and sometimes worse. At the moment it’s just looks really unhealthy, few blackheads, few breakouts. So far I’ve trying to treat it will skin care alone but truth is I’m stressed to the max & have been for a long time. Think I need to put less emphasis on skincare & more emphasis on dealing with stress. Otherwise I’m fighting a losing battle with skincare alone x

    • RuthCrilly
      September 28, 2012 / 8:56 am

      Yep, absolutely same here. When skincare doesn’t work (it can’t “cure” underlying problems) it makes the situation even more stressful, and I am convinced that stress is one of the biggest factors with bad skin. xx

  5. Sam
    September 28, 2012 / 11:59 pm

    I am still frustrated with my skin. Although I am eighteen, my skin is prone to going completely mental on me. For a brief period, it is actually clear, healthy, and smooth. And then, for no apparent reason, my nose loves to turn beet red, my blackheads suddenly flare up, and there are red bumps and a few white heads creeping about that I never noticed before. Also, it will get very dry and sensitive. And I eat clean, drink water, and try to stay away from stress. T_T

  6. Syd
    September 29, 2012 / 2:04 pm

    Hello Ruth. If you were to recommend a single product (mid price range) for getting rid of blemishes, which one would it be? Thanks

  7. Kay
    September 30, 2012 / 12:38 am

    Hi Ruth. Do you think that the Alpha H liquid gold could help with acne scarring and pigmentation?

  8. Hatty
    December 10, 2012 / 10:11 am

    Hi Ruth, i have pigmentation patches all over my forehead. I have tried many topical products to no avail. I have recently had a short course of salicylic peels and derma-roller treatments which have helped a little bit. Now my salon wants to use Nlite laser treatment on the patches which make the pigmentation darker before it fades (apparently) – I am nervous to give this a go!! Do you have any knowledge of this treatment? Would you recommend it or steer clear? Any advice you can give me I would really appreciate – all of these treatments are expensive but I am DESPERATE to get rid of these patches as they can make a girl pretty miserable! Thanks!

  9. Mike
    January 17, 2013 / 8:31 am

    Hi Ruth, I have dark sport of acne on my face, i decided to take GNC 1000mg Vitamic C , is this vitamin C help to make my skin even ??, waiting your reply …..thanks

  10. March 29, 2014 / 8:57 am

    Many thanks to Dr. Murad for helping those who are suffering from this pigmentation from acne problem with your valuable suggestions.Nice and very useful article,I look forward for more postings from you.

  11. venkatesh
    April 20, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    purehealplus worked wonders for me! It even has anti-aging effects. Contains resveratrol to repair and rejuvenate the skin.

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