Ask Afrobella — Get Rid of Acne Scars

Shante Broadus

This Ask Afrobella question touched my heart in a special place. Girl, I know exactly how you feel.

Dear Bella,

I’m writing you because on the web you are the only one I’m looking up to. You inspire me in so many ways and even though I don’t leave comments on your website, I can tell you that wherever I am in this world, this is the website I have to log on to. I do have low self-esteem and it has a lot to do with my physical appearance.

I have sunburn on my neck that never fades away and also many scars from injuries in my childhood and from the flat iron. I feel ugly at times, I really do. I can’t wear an afro anymore because when my hair’s all up in the air the sunburn on my neck shows. As for my legs, feet, and knees, it takes me from rocking shorts or skirts. I’m always stuck with long pants or dresses. What product should I use to clear away the blemishes and dark spots all over my body? I’m trying to avoid products that contain hydroquinone though I know it’s sometimes less expensive and easier to find in stores. I have heard of Meladerm but they don’t sell it here in Canada. Before I purchase it I want to make sure it’s worth the try. It costs about $50 plus the shipping fees (about $25) to Montreal where I live. I have also heard of Fair & White, Topiclear, Meladerm, Proactiv for the acne scars and other products such as Scar Zone and Mederma. Which one would you recommend? Have you heard/tried other products that I haven’t mention in here? Thank you in advance.


Hey Olivia, thank you so much for your kind words. I am sure more than a few readers out there are nodding in agreement while reading your message. Black skin has a tendency towards hyperpigmentation, and that condition isn’t necessarily limited to your face. Backne and its inevitable scars have been the bane of my existence, and it prevents me from freely sporting halter and backless tops. But I want you to know that skin care issues don’t have to keep you down and destroy your self esteem forever. Your skin can be a flawless canvas. Really, Olivia — this is possible.

Like anything else you really really want in life: physical fitness, healthy natural hair, finding that dream job, saving money, writing that damn book already — it takes dedication and daily effort. Your skin will not transform overnight, although you can disguise your most troubling flaws quickly and easily with makeup. Look at Snoop Dogg’s wife, Shante Broadus, for example.

When she got arrested for DUI recently, the blogosphere lit up with comments about her acne scarred skin as revealed in her mugshot. Honestly, I never would have guessed the “Boss Lady” had skin issues at all — she’s obviously mastered the secret to covering up her flaws for the most part. I mean, she generally looks good on the red carpet, and well put together on Father Hood — so you know she must have HATED that mug shot. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, people who you don’t think have skin issues, have skin issues. You’re not alone in your predicament by any means.

I haven’t done a hyperpigmentation post in forever, so lemme get down to that to begin with, secondly I’ll address some covering-up solutions to get you through the meantime, and thirdly we’ll talk a little bit about self-esteem.

A month or so ago I had the good fortune of getting a facial at GBS Fort Lauderdale (this was immediately after Larramy gave me the curl cut, actually). The aesthetician’s name was Polin Bekner, and she’s amazing. Dedicated, gentle, attentive — I highly recommend her. Polin works in a newly created spa space at the back of GBS, call if you want to make an appointment. We spoke at length about the particular skin issues of women of color, most specifically hyperpigmentation.

Polin recommends vitamin C ester, vitamin A topical creams (like Retin A), and yes — ye olde hydroquinone. I know you’re trying to avoid it, and even I did a post a while back about the fact that too much can be dangerous. But according to Dermatology Times it can be tremendously effective as a spot treatment. But note that it’s only meant to be used on your spots, and sunscreen is a MUST. Especially if your skin tends to break out and scar easily. That same article indicates that SPF 30+ “will help prevent redarkening and maintain some of the benefits resulting from use of a lightening product.”

The most effective hydroquinone product I’ve used thus far is TriLuma, which is prescription only in the USA. Not sure about Canada. I’ve heard of the others you’ve mentioned — and I’ve actually used the horribly named Fair and White, but never tried any of the others. Or noticed results from Fair & White. Meh.

black dermatologist

This Tampa Bay Online interview with black dermatologist Dr. Thomas M. Taylor, makes a recommendation for OTC variety strength: “a 0.5 percent hydroquinone cream, which can be purchased over the counter, can be effective in fading dark spots from acne and other skin imperfections. Don’t apply it to your entire face or body, only on the dark spots in the morning.

For faster results, a 1 percent to 2 percent hydroquinone cream can be obtained by prescription from a dermatologist. Combined with a retinoid, it can be applied at night to speed the fading process.”

Fret not Olivia, if you don’t want to steer towards hydroquinone, Polin also recommended looking into natural lighteners like licorice extract, paper mulberry, and kojic acid — all of which are mentioned in this informative article on skin bleaching. Which again reiterates the rigorous use of sun screen. You see, you make your skin problem worse by not using it. That sunburn on your neck that bothers you so much could likely benefit from exfoliation and regular use of sunscreen. Try it, stay dedicated, and see if you don’t get results. Keep me posted.

I hear amazing things about Dr. Susan Taylor’s RX for Brown Skin Bright and Even, but I have yet to try the brand myself. Polin’s recommended brands of skin lightening products are Murad and Dermalogica, which takes an intriguing three-part approach. She also advised that if you have “classic oily combination skin,” like I do, then you should exfoliate regularly, and use a clarifying mask. Not a typical exfoliator with little beads and stuff, according to Polin those are especially bad for people with hyperpigmentation. “They thin the skin and create more acne scarring,” she declared.

neutrogena rejuvenator

Dr. Susan Taylor recommends careful exfoliation, and steering clear of microdermabrasion. Lately I’ve been taking my exfoliation efforts to the next level with Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Rejuvenator. This battery powered bad boy has made my skin so clear, luminous, and effortlessly bright. I still love my Clarisonic, don’t get me wrong… but the Neutrogena is waaaay cheaper, and the puffs helped to exfoliate areas of my face I had almost dismissed as hopelessly rough. Like my chin. Smooth as a baby’s behind, thanks to this exfoliating kit. I don’t think you’ll be at all disappointed with this purchase.

So the skin care equation I recommend to you based on my interviews, research and personal experience is — Regular exfoliation + sunscreen + a decent product with which to target your problem spots X time and continuous effort = results. And that goes for your legs and neck as well.

Polin actually went the extra step and recommended regular facials. “With facials, one time isn’t enough. It’s not plastic surgery. The products you need, use them for 28 days. It takes 28 days for the corneum layer of your skin to shed and for new skin to emerge. That’s why exfoliation and regular facials are so important. And if you break out after a facial, it’s good — it means your skin is ridding itself of impurities.” Good to know.

OK, now let’s talk makeup. It will be your BFF until your skin has cleared up, and beyond that as well.

For your facial scars, the most important thing is to find the perfect foundation and concealer for you. If you’ve been struggling with that — allow me to recommend a book for you — Fine Beauty by Sam Fine. It’s one of my beauty bibles. In the chapter on concealer, Sam Fine recommends a concealer that comes in a pot or a stick, and he explains that “concealers are not supposed to be your exact color, but in fact one shade lighter than your natural color in order to lighten the dark areas you want to even out.” And then you use foundation to even out the rest of your complexion, set with powder, tah dah. A light hand works best, and I still side with makeup artist James Vincent — it’s all about “dealing with the problem areas and focusing on the center of the face where most women have discoloration; then blending the makeup out from there. That will keep you looking younger, fresher, and keep the neck and the face matching so you don’t get that ashy look.

Lo and behold Sephora’s concealer collection. One bella just e mailed me to say that she adores Make Up For Ever full cover concealer, it comes in a decent range of shades. So does Smashbox, and MAC’s studio finish SPF 35 could kill two birds in one stone — concealer with SPF. Excellent.

It seems to me that the mineral makeup trend has subsided somewhat, but it’s still super popular among the converted. If you’re considering Bare Escentuals or something, I’d advise you watch out for ashiness. It’s happened to me, and it’s not cool.

My personal everyday coverup consists of Benefit Play Sticks blended over my most problematic areas, then dusted over with a light layer of that very Queen Collection Cover Girl Natural Hue pressed powder. Cheap, nothing fancy, and I use a light hand — too much of that powder can make my face look dull. I’d say less is more with powder in general.

Prescriptive brush

On my cheeks I’ve been using Prescriptives Blush More or Less creamy cheek color — it’s the subtlest blush and makes me look effortlessly radiant — mine is not this bright pink, but rather a neutral, bronzy shade. Two thumbs up for Prescriptives, if you need an exact match for your skin shade, look no further than their stick foundation.

OK Olivia, your issues extend to your neck, legs, knees, and feet. I wouldn’t recommend covering the back of your neck with makeup, you just know it’s gonna melt off and mess up your clothes. Keep working on the problem area, and make sure you use sunscreen daily! That problem can definitely be reduced by exfoliation and sunscreen — I never paid much mind to Mama Bella when she’d lecture me about the back of my neck as a girl. Now I pay close attention and use a good exfoliant every other day.

Perfekt beauty

For legs, knees etc, there’s a fabulous brand of products called Perfekt Beauty. It’s all meant to create an airbrushed glow that’s like makeup without makeup. I wasn’t blown away by the Skin Perfection Gel, they claim Jennifer Hudson uses it, but for me the product was too thick and silicon-y. Didn’t blend effortlessly into my skin, and the shades are too few for me to find my ideal. But the Body Perfection Gel worked wonderfully on my legs and decolletage, giving my skin an even and inviting glow. It worked great to reduce the appearance of my backne scars. For the record, I also know quite a few bellas who have busted out the self tanner for areas like legs — it can help to give a uniform appearance when it comes to your legs, knees, and feet.

Whew. I hope that ridiculously long-winded answer helped you somewhat in your journey towards addressing the skin issues that are holding you back. I know how it is to feel self conscious about beauty issues, but I’ve learned something as well — more than half of the time that you’re obsessed with worry about a beauty issue, and thinking “OMG I can’t wear this because…” there isn’t a single soul other than you, who’s thinking about your skin, examining you closely, or saying anything close to the negative thoughts that are swirling around in your own mind. This happens to me most often when I go to the beach. I will be all paranoid and concerned about what to wear to best conceal my figure flaws… then I get to the beach and realize that the people next to me are letting it all hang out without any concern. And half the time, I might look cuter than I thought I did in the first place!

I’m not sure if I’m expressing myself eloquently on this point, so I’ll just wrap it up by saying this — Olivia, life is way too short to let self doubt and self consciousness restrict you from wearing what you want to wear and doing what you want to do. I say work on your problem issues behind the scenes, yes… but wear your shorts and skirts, wear your afro, work it all with fly accessories. And always, always remember the most important weapon in your beauty arsenal — confidence. Hold your head high, give yourself a dazzling smile in the mirror, get out there and show the world how beautiful you are. And write back! Lemme know if this helped or not.

Any of you bellas have additional feedback for Olivia? Please leave a comment if you’ve got product suggestions or think I didn’t answer her question correctly.

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  1. I would also recommend Prescriptives foundation and concealer if you have dark spots or skin imperfections that you’re trying to hide. I have a problem with hyperpigmentation in patches on my skin and occasional breakouts, and this is the only makeup that doesn’t clog my pores and it makes my skin look flawless. Because the foundation is blended to perfectly match your tone you can try on several shades and the makeup artists can add or detract tones until they blend your exact shade. They can even custom blend your powder if you like. I also get a sunscreen and a toner added to my foundation and the overall feel is way lighter than MAC. Prescriptives can get a little pricey but its worth it because no one can see the real skin issues I’m dealing with right now.

  2. I meant to specify the Prescriptives liquid foundation in my above post :-)

  3. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    I like to make my own skin scrub with brown sugar,and ginger root juice.My scrub is really effective when i’m going through a break out.I also use Olay cleansing cloths on a daily basis.Purpose has a good soap bar that I use sometimes if hyperpigmentation shows up,but I agree with bella about sunscreen,because it is a must have all year around.

  4. Bebroma says:

    Dermablend is a very good cover that many people use for acne scars, hypopigmentation (light/no pigment areas), birthmarks, etc. My mother has used it for many years, and a girlfriend used it for major bra strap grooving dark marks when she was in a wedding. I like Oil of Olay cleansing products, they have really helped smooth some very rough areas on my face that had been that way for years.

  5. veggieeater says:

    I used to have very acne marked skin. I was visiting a aesthitician form chemical peels and microdermabrasions.

    THE BEST THING I EVER DID WAS GO TO THE DERMATOLOGIST!! I was prescribed HYDROQUINONE, DUAC GEL, and ATRALIN. I always put the hydroquninone on first followed by atralin at night and duac gel in the morning.

    I don’t wear any makeup as I always thought it would make the problem worse. Everytime I used foundation I got a new pimple.

    The money I spent on the prescriptions was worth every single penny. My mom is so happy, and I am so happy that I no longer have any problems. My coworkers and peers compliment me on how good my skin looks and it feels so good.

  6. I second Dermablend for scarring – I have old scars on my arms and ankles, and Dermablend is excellent. Can tend to break out your face because of the full and heavy coverage, but you can give it a shot. Also covers any discoloration.

  7. @ Veggieeater:

    Darling I couldn’t agree with you more!!! Folk’s stop wasting your time and money or product’s that work a little or not at all and head to your DERMATOLOGIST.

    Doctors have tons of information and products that can help you improve the look and health of your skin. Skin is your largest organ and if there was anything wrong with any of your other organs you would go see a professional. Why not treat your skin the same way?

    And it doesn’t hurt to follow up with a aesthitician. Trust me chemical peels and microdermabrasions can make a big difference.

    Olivia, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a Clarisonic facial brush either. I know the thing cost like $200 but trust me when I say it’s worth EVERY penny. I love, love mine!!! It helps me maintain what the dermatologist has done. I also like Clinique Even Better. $40 for 1 oz but a little goes a long way.

  8. I just recently started using Wexler glyco peel and anti acne system, LORD thank YOu JESUS. this stuff really works- it improves the overall health and condition of the skin, preventing new blemishes, FADING acne scars and discolorations etc instead of just covering them up. Its a lil pricey available @ Bath and Body Works, but sooooooooooo worth every dime. I tried everything over the years, from prescription creams and products from my derm to Pro-activ etc nothing has worked like Patricia Wexlers acne system tho, nothing.

  9. I like Clinique, Oil of Olay and Aveeno products.

    But we can’t seperate the skin from the body as a whole. Exercise, meditation, eating right, and drinking lots of water can work wonders for a sisters self-esteem. No beauty product can make up for that; cause they are only temporary solutions. Real self love comes from knowing that you were born for a reason; despite what the current state of your outside may look like.

    Bella. You are a sweetheart for reaching out to Olivia.

  10. Black soap…has anyone had any success using *real* black soap for their face (or anywhere else)? My cousin recommended it to me some years back, and I think I may find some and try it.

  11. Olivia Brown says:

    I have had acne on my face and on my back as well. These are the products that worked for me: 1. Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser Oil Free, 2.Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Form Wash, and Aveeno Ultra Calming Night Cream.

    From experience I have pop pimples, put tooth paste on pimples and use Witch Hazel to clean off my face but it tends to leave behind lil nicks & scars that are visible on my face. With the products above, I have used & it brought back my skin tone, leaving it smooth, healthy & clean.

    I use those products at least 4 times a day. With the 1st product use warm water to wash your face then with the foam use cold water to rinse off, that will close the pores. After that just apply the Aveeno Ultra Calming Night Cream as a soother/moisturizer (I use it any time of the day when my skin is dry). I have had acne on my back as well, like a little bit below the back of my neck, to get rid of them I used the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser Oil Free as a part of my shower routine. It will clear up fast.

    Also to minimize those annoying pimples that show up out of no where just change your pillow cases every night or every other night because keeping those same pillow cases on every night tends to agitate the skin.

    Hope these tips will help :o)

  12. dettygirl says:

    Simply drinking more water & steaming my face (in a sauna) has helped me alot with breakouts everywhere. I use that new clinique spot corrector on my face spots & have seen a difference. Also, I have tried the Susan Taylor line & while it didnt do anything to reduce my breakouts, my skin was very soft and my tzone not so shiny.

  13. Dr. Susan Taylor Bright and Even is wonderful on new dark spots. However on older spots, it lighten the marks a little. Recently, well thanksgiving 07, I had a bad allergic reaction to the food and it left my face covered in bumps and I am a dark african women so I was left with hyperpigmentation. It made me feel so unattractive, so I know where ur coming from but as a makeup artist I can cover it effectively. On the other hand I never wanted to be a slave to makeup. Especially when ur having those intimate nights with your significant other. I take my makeup off and I am looking in the mirror saying ewww. So imagine what that did for my self esteem.

    At this current time, I am doing an at home chemical peel. I can give pics to afrobella, so that u can see the before and after. Maybe u can go that route.

    However, if you have acne prone skin then u have to be very selective of the makeup u put on your face because it can further the problem. Wooo.. If you want more info you can email me. Just click my name on post. I hope ur recovery to great skin is quick. Best wishes sis..

  14. Bella,

    I think it’s wonderful you reached out to Olivia. I hope she knows that she is not alone. And your advice to remember to have confidence is bond.

    However, I’d like to know what you suggest for those of us who are allergic to sunscreen. If any product with sunscreen (even those formulated for sensitive skin)touches my skin, I breakout with a horrible, raised, red rash.) I know there are others who are in the same boat. I’d like to protect my skin too! Thanks Bella!

  15. Afrobella, first let me say I love how you intermingle product advice with self-esteem boosters. I love this website! For Olivia, I also have old scars on my arms, which I used to be really self-conscious about. I never wore sleeveless shirts and if I did, my cardigan was always close by. But after 28 years I’ve learned that life is too short to hide yourself due to what you think are your shortcomings. I’m not completely over it, but I’m on my way. This starts from within, and once you’ve grasped that everything else will fall into place.

    I agree with the other posters, water has been my friend, I used to have acne on my face and bad back break outs. I do have the occasional pimple and my pores could be smaller, but those problems go in and out. Somehow over the years my back has cleared up and I don’t have that problem.

    Now to products, I’ve tried Dr. Susan Taylor’s RX for Brown Skin, and like Bella said, even though my face feels soft, I didn’t see a difference. Here are a couple of products that this combination, more oily than dry bella has tried and feels work.

    Ambi’s new line is just as good as Dr. Taylor’s (I’m sorry but that’s how I feel). It’s cheaper and it’s a welcome departure from the Ambi of old. Try the Foaming Cleanser (your face gets remarkably clean and fresh) and try the exfoliating face wash every couple of days. I also like the moisturizer (yes people with oily skin should use moisturizer) it has an SPF of 30, the key is that I use a small amount (a little goes a long way). For a mid-range product I like Carol’s Daughters Wash Away the Oil Gentle Face Wash, especially it’s lemony smell. For an added bonus I put my bottle in the fridge so I have a nice refreshing treat in the morning and at night (I wash my face and hands as soon as I get home, after being in the New York City subways it’s a necessity).

    I know this a long comment, but one more thing, egg yolk mask. I’ve been doing this for years, my mom told me about it a while ago when I was suffering from bouts of acne as a teenager, and it worked sometimes. Just take the yolk of a raw egg and stir it, apply it to your skin, leave it on for about 10 minutes, wash off and it helps with drying out pimples.

    Lastly, like one poster said if all else fails, and you’re financially able to go see a dermatologist (if you’re black go see one who specializes in black skin or knows a lot about it). I don’t know how many of you are from Dallas but as a youngster I would take trips to see Dr. Blackburn, a popular black derm there, he had this concoction that you had to refrigerate that definitely got rid of dark spots, old and new on your face. The only thing is before it got rid of the spots you looked like a palomino horse!

    Good Luck,

  16. Sorry I meant to say like dettygirl wrote pertaining to Dr. Taylor’s line.

  17. Does anybody have any advice on what to do about blackheads? Does the clarisonic brush work good on them? I’ve been thinking about investing one.


  18. Does anyone know anything about the product MELADERM or any of the Civant Skin Care Products?

  19. afrobello says:

    GREAT post. For years hydroquinone has been my drug of choice, but a couple months ago 2 acne scars on my otherwise clear face showed up unannounced and refused to leave, hydroquinone or not. And I use the 4% cream.

  20. My two cents on hydroquinone: I first used Black Opal Essential Fade Complex gel back in the spring. The gel has 2% hydroquinone. Anxious to achieve instantly flawless, even-toned skin, I applied way more than the recommended dose on my entire face and headed out into the sun, sans sunscreen (the bottle encourages application of a single thin layer on dark spots only and liberal application of sunscreen to preserve results). It wasn’t until two days later that I noticed that a discernible mask of dramatically darker, dry, peeling skin had developed. I panicked and then researched. I’ve since chucked the bottle, forgoing chemicals for more natural, gentle options. Now my skin is finally regaining it’s natural honey cocoa glow. Adding a bit of baking soda to my antibacterial cleanser every few days has helped immensely. Exfoliation is key! And sunscreen is now a staple in my beauty bag. Trust me.

    Also consider your skin troubles a good indicator of what’s going on internally. For me, drinking a liter of water daily seems to have quenched my dry skin, scalp and hair. And, I’ve found that sweating is very effective at eliminating toxins and impurities, so exercising, hitting the sauna, going out dancing may be helpful to you too. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Take vitamins. Brush your skin. Get a massage.

    Be good to your body and your body will reward you.


    PS: I love this blog!

  21. I think that chemical peels performed by an aesthetician knowledgable in ethnic skin are helpful, and should be done at a minimum of every two weeks. I use Jan Marini products and lytic lotion plus from the Epionce skin care line. C-Ester cream, a cleanser with glycolic acid and a lightening cream that also contains salicylic acid (better for adult skin) to control your acne breakouts are extremely important.If some of your dark spots comes from extreme picking or ingrown hairs, you might consider laser treatments. Hyroquinone is okay to use, but you may want to check with a dermatologist to get prescription strength provided that your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction to it. Some people can actually get more dark spots from using it. No matter what you decide to use, always use sunscreen even on cloudy days. Be prepared to use sunscreen religiously for the rest of your life because it not, those nasty spots you worked so hard to get rid of could return. I don’t really wear makeup very much because my skin is pretty clear now. The only other thing I can suggest is that you drink plenty of water to flush out toxins in your body, eat healthy and exercise,do things to relieve stress, get enough sleep, and love and pamper yourself. I hope this helps.

  22. Oooh! Informative vid on dermatology issues for people of color (hosted by Al Roker):

  23. I must add my voice to those saying “See a dermatologist!” I regularly spent hundreds of dollars on over-the-counter products and cosmetics before I finally went to see an actual trained professional dermatologist about my skin problems. The cost of three or four visits over the course of a year was less than what I’d been spending on creams and the rest. The dermatologist saved me money by keeping me from wasting it on stuff that wasn’t going to help—oh, I still buy skin care products, but I buy only the right ones, and I know that buying the wrong ones will not help! My skin is clear and I get many compliments, and I know it is only because I got fed up and took it seriously and filled the prescriptions I got and used them as instructed.

    I looked for a dermatologist who specialized in my conditions, you should do the same—searching the internet and just asking around were helpful to me.

  24. there is only one product u need. Palmers Skin Success Eventone Fade Cream. I have had acne all my life, and once the breakouts finally stopped i was left with horrible scarring. This product is the ONLY thing that worked..and quick, you’ll see results in about 2 weeks…and they now have regular formula, and one for oily skin..its awesome, trust me…’ll never need anything else…

  25. ya_despierto25 says:

    Afrobella and Olivia:

    Someone asked about the african blacksoap. I buy it online and it is great!! I wash my natural hair with it (it can be drying), shower and wash my face with it. It actually lightens the skin, so be careful. It cleared up all my pimples and fade dark spots since it has lemon juice in it. Give yourself one month for it to work but wear sunscreen every day.

  26. jasmine the jigsaw says:

    Whoa I just e-mailed you last night about problems I was having with my facial birthmark and this helped me! I also have issues with certain body scars and was recently concerned about those as well, so this post came right on time!

    Thank you <3

  27. a product that works wonders, and is available in Canada is NeoStrata HQ Plus
    it is a 4% hydroquinone. it’s pricey but it is a product that works.

  28. in the UK and most of the EU hydroquinone in any strength is banned in cosmetics and cannot be bought over the counter. it can only be prescribed and hospitals are looking for alternatives. I pray to God I never need it

    My knees and elbows are like 10 shades darker than my skin so I use Bio Oil. It does work with consistency. It also works on stretch marks too.

  29. her best bet is to see a dermatologist like everyone said. she can’t really take advise on certain products since everyone’s skin is different. so professional help is the best.

    also, i’ve been to dr.taylor quite a few times in the past for my acne. she’s quite popular for her work with black/brown skin, but my husband and i weren’t impressed at all. we were both there for different skin issues; and while her practice is well equipped with the latest of everything from skin care lines to instruments, all we felt was the pressure to buy all her products and come back for more 15 min appts were all she did was write prescriptions for stuff that didn’t work.

    i finally got my acne cured when a white doctor had the guts to suggest accutane and i gladly accepted. i wanted accutane for yrs and drs like taylor all turned me done saying it would go 28!!!!!!!!!!!! ive been off accutane for 6 months and my acne has all gone away. i get 2 white heads when my period rolls around and 80% of my scarring has gone away. this same doc also has lasers that can work on darker skin if i want to remove a very troublesome deep scar that wont go away. keep in mind ive tried everything under the sun for my acne and accutane was the only thing that worked…and the side effects arent as bad as they make them out to be.

  30. Nicole M. says:

    Ok let me put in my 2 cents. Olivia and others, I have suffered enough stress in this life as a result of facial acne. I have been called “the pretty girl with the spots on her face”. I battled for years off and on and suffered a loss of confidence. I worked for years as a model and there were times when I hid from the biz because I felt so spotted and all leopardy.

    Anyhoo this year I discovered MaMa Lotion. It is a blend of mandelic and malic acids. I started it in March I’ll say, and I noticed a considerable improvement in the first week. My spots began to fade and my face took on an overall brightness that was sort of ethereal. I love MaMa Lotion, it continues to make my skin baby smooth and soft and even-toned, and I have no plans to stop using it. I rarely, almost never, get a pimple. Definitely something I’m recommending.

    I wish you the best in finding what works for you!

  31. dettygirl says:

    I second the MaMa lotion!! It does work, but I wish the bottle was bigger. You can get samples of it on ebay if you don’t want to commit to the whole bottle. B/c I had stopped using it once my skin got better & have now noticed more spots trying to pop up so I will be ordering some more soon.

  32. I too went to dermatologists, but my coverage was always changing, and the doctors always prescribed something different. Now I don’t have any coverage but I’ve found a routine that works for me.
    For the health thing I drink at least a liter of water everyday. In the wintertime I substituted water for green tea and the results really showed on my face. A friend commented that I was glowing.
    I use the Murad cleanser, lotion and acne spot lotion. I only breakout when my period is coming. Other than that my face is soft and pimple free. I am sure my face would be clear of all marks by now if it weren’t for my tendency to pick at my pimples, but lordy is it hard!
    I’ve learned that when my cleanser isn’t doing its job, it’s time to exfoliate. Before I would buy a completely different product, and thus experimentation with a million products that varied in performance. I use St. Ives Apricot scrub. The Renew and Firm is gentler and less grainy than the Invigorate one.
    I too had backne. For that exfoliation is the key again. I do it at least twice a week, or whenever I feel like my skin isn’t smooth. When I was a teenager I had it bad. I used to wear the same shirt over and over again because I had a uniform. When I stopped that I saw a remarkable difference.
    For that reason I am also diligent in changing the pillow covers every week.
    When it comes to sunscreen, don’t forget that you need it in the wintertime too. A lot of people think that because it’s not sunny you don’t need it, but in fact the harmful rays still reach you. Wear sunscreen all year long!

  33. nolachic says:

    I never had a acne problem in all my years until i moved to a new city after Hurricane Katrina,I don’t know why it started then but a friend told me she used a cheap tube of hydrocortisone cream to get rid of her acne and for those dreaded scars she used plain old lemon juice.As crazy as this sounded this sista just had to give it a try and let me tell you i have never received so many compliments on my skin in my life;and all it took was $3.50.After washing my face with my Dove bar I pat my skin dry and add a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream and head to bed.For those pesky scars buy yourself a lemon squeeze for the juice and use a cotton ball to apply to your face leave on for 15 minutes rinse and add whatever moisturizer you desire.Hope it helps you guys it has worked for every person i know with an acne problem.

  34. Hello there!
    Has anyone heard of Extra-derm age defy solution?
    It has 2% hydroquinone and 0.01% tretinoin. Its meant to be very effective. Any reviews? Please help!

  35. Bella, thank you so much for replying to mail via your website. Wow, can’t believe you did it so fast and yet the information is so accurate! You’ve got a deft pen and you’re definitely in style.Thanks to all the other bellas who contributed by leaving comments amd sharing experience. Now I know I’m not the only to feel this way and I have now the feeling that it is POSSIBLE to improve my skin problems.

  36. Mochasiren says:

    I was wondering has the young lady been tested for insulin resistance? A darkened neck can sometimes be a symptom of insulin resistance and/or diabetes. The term for this condition is “acanthosis nigricans”.

  37. Aisha:

    I’m allergic to most sunscreens, too, but I’ve finally found a solution, with help from my dermatologist. I’m willing to bet that you’re allergic to chemicals sunscreens, as I am. What you want is a sunscreen that has titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as its active ingredients–stay away from Helioplex, Parsol and all those other fancy chemical ingredients.

    Physical blocks have a bad reputation for feeling greasy and causing breakouts and also for leaving a whitish/ashy film on darker skin tones, which can be true in the case of cream or lotion physical sunscreens. But, I discovered powdered mineral sunscreen a while ago and I *love* it–it’s not greasy, it doesn’t give me zits and it definitely does not give me itchy red rashes!

    Peter Thomas Roth makes a powdered, mineral based SPF-30, as does Colorescience. The Colorescience sunscreen is translucent, but comes in a variety of tints, including a darker one that I think would work on most brown skin tones. Also: both Bare Minerals and Jane Iredale mineral foundations have SPF 15 built in–I usually use those and then add the Colorescience powdered sunscreen on top, for added protection.

    Sorry this is so long, but I’m excited to help someone who is also allergic sunscreen. I hope this helps! It took me several years to figure all of this out through trial and error–I hope you won’t have to go through the same thing!

  38. MeikMeik says:

    Right now, well since March, I’ve been using the Rx for Brown Skin Bright & Even cleanser, and witch hazel with some tee tree oil as my toner. I have naturally oily skin so during the summer months I don’t use a moisturizer, but I do use Aveedo facial sunblock. Three time a week before I go to bed I apply Rx for Brown Skin Bright & Clear enzyme peel (Bright & Clear is for acne prone skin).

    Also, I got a sample of this facial brightener from Sephora called Lumedia. The sales associate said it $90 for a 4 oz bottle, but this stuff works. I have seen considerable results by following my regimine (very few breakouts and lightened hyperpigmentation).

    I want to get one of those Clarsonic facial brushes but I’m not sure if it would cause my already oily skin to go into sebum production overdrive.

  39. cloud*Dee says:

    Hi bellas!,

    I’ve struggled with acne and hyperpigmentation for years :( , I notice that a lot of people recommend using sunscreen along with their other treatments, but I cannot find a sunscreen to save my life it seems. They all break me out. Can you lovelies share what sunscreen you use? Also, those who’ve seen a dermatologist, what prescriptions are you using for your skin?

  40. Can you reccomend a none beaded exfoliator?

  41. paradisebird says:

    recently i burned myself ith some hot olive oil and messed up the wound when i try to remove the plaster strip i put on for work…ouchhh. the nice ladies from nappturality recommend pure rose hip oil as a natural remedy against scars and discoloration scars. i did some research and found out that rose hip oil is also recommend by some plastics surgeons to improve the healing process in surgical cars. i bought one (it was 8€, which is approx. 16 USD) and used it since two weeks. i have noticed softer skin and the scars seem lighter. but i ill have to continue this for a long time i think. i bought mine at the pharmacy but i am sure you can also get it in a good wholefood or health food store. HTH

  42. cloud*Dee on August 3, 2008 11:09 pm

    Hey cloud I’ve recently been using Purpose sunscreen moisturizer on my face under my makeup and i love it..its cheap, non-greasy, and made for gentle skin or if you get sunburned. You can find it at walmart or walgreens or anywhere like that.

  43. great discussion… i enjoyed this post



  45. This is by far the best forum I have seen on black skin care. You basically touched on everything pertaining to hyperpigmentation. I just started to use the RX for Brown Skin fade cream about a week ago, so I have to PATIENTLY wait and see if there are going to be any significant results…It took me a while to get that product because it’s not available at the Sephora stores in Toronto…. I also have these stubborn breakouts, so I use a LITTLE bit (not too much because it will burn the skin) of Tea Tree Oil (from the Body Shop) to get rid of them

    But thank you for the info Bella!!

  46. I’ve used Murad to keep acne at bay, baking soda to exfoliate and cleans, this actualy helps get rid of my dark spots as well, lemon juice to tone my skin, and Bare Minarals foundation to look extra fabulous.

  47. I use nothing but Dudu Osun African Black Soap on my face. I have very oily skin and this stuff works wonders. I use the black soap twice a day and every otherday I use a fine sugar scrub in conjunction with the Black Soap. Recently I was asked by a few friends that I had not seen for about 2 years, if I was sure that I was the mother and not the daughter because I looked so much younger and they commented on how beautiful my skin was now. I use the black soap on the rest of my body also but I will use other soaps just for the scent sometimes. Nubian Heritage Ivorian Coco Butter soap has worked very well for reducing my dark spots. I have several friends that I introduced it to and they love it. This is what has worked for me and trust me I have been able to change years of damage to my skin and my self esteem because looking better has made me feel much better about myself. I think we as black women let our flaws hold us back from too many things. We are all beautiful flaws and all so the sooner we can embrace ourselves the easier it will be for others to embrace us. I wish you much success with whatever routine you choose.

  48. To ya_despierto25,

    I’m doing some research on African black soap and was wondering which website you purchase yours from? Is it good for people with oily skin? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

  49. You can find African Black Soap at or at My skin is extremely oily and I use to suffer from adult acne and this is the only soap that I will use on my face. I pick my face all the time but you would never know that. You have to be carefull with it because it can be a little abrasive so I suggest just lathering it on your hands and put it on your face that way. I have been using it for over a year and I no longer wear or need any type of foundation on my face. If you try it I hope it works as well for you.

  50. Ladies, don’t fret! Try Eminence Skincare Line. The Linden Calendula is GREAT for dry skin, and the Stone Crop Serum is great for fading skin discolorations. The Eight Greens Serum is perfect for controlling breakouts as well. And the best part yet! These products are all natural. If you get a good esthetician, you can almost ditch the dermatologist. I could not live without my facial expert. I also use Vivant Cleansing products for clarity….3% BP Cleanser which cleanses and contains an exfoliant, and green tea cleansing gel, a soothing cleanser that still rids skin of impurities sans exfoliating. Also, their mandelic acid is awesome; it lifts off skin discoloratoins such as brown spots–you will notice the layer of skin peeing off with a day or two most likely. With these two skincare lines, my skin is looking fab! Check them out on and I also use Neutrogena Healthy Defense Sunscreen on my face! Hope this helps someone out there!

  51. peeling off* not peeing, LOL.

  52. Hello

    i would like to know what bleaching vreams contain 0.5% hydroquinone.

  53. robyn sears says:

    I have had sever acne in the past and was left with unattractive scars on my face.

    I purchased the Dr. Max Powers Scar Serum from their website online – it was medium expensive for a scar cream – because I needed a solution. The Max Powers Scar Cream does work well, but don’t expect to see results instantly. You need to apply it regularly and consistently for about a month in order to see results. It really does work though.

    My scars are much more toned down and less visible.

  54. Nadie Pearson says:

    I began using the Dr Max Powers “Stretch Mark Treatment” every single day about two months ago and it works WONDERS. First you can use it for stretch marks and you can use it for scars and to moisturize your face and neck, ladies!

    You must follow the instructions even though they are pretty simple. If I am using this for acne scars, skin discolorations (sun exposure), uneven skin tone I apply either over makeup (may not be recommended as this could remove your makeup)and on a freshly washed face.

    I use the lengths of my fingers not fingertips since they produce the oils that could cause you breakouts from YES touching your face. I rub into the affected area or scar (even works on cystic acne scars) atleast two to three times a day when I am able to. But if not I do this at night before going to bed. Be patient and wait one to two weeks before you notice a big difference as the scar gets lighter your face appears to be glowing and skin discolorations slowly fade.

    Keep on it atleast everyday. I thought it was only for men who workout – based on the way the product looks, but I am glad I bought this and one bottle lasted me over two months and I used it everyday! Give this product a try, be patient, follow the directions and you will not be disappointed.

  55. I am so glad that I visited this website. I too, have acne and acne scars that are making me feel unattractive. This website made me realize that I am not the only one dealing with this problem. I visited my local dermatologist in Houston and he gave me some retin a and dual topical cream.The good news is that I am on my way to the road of recovery hopefully by the summer I will be back to my “old self”. God Bless everyone for their contributions to this post you ladies have brightened up my spirits.

  56. Thanks for the suggestions Afrobella.The general consensus especially when it comes to adults is that if you keep your face clean and well nourished, acne has very few chances of cropping up.I’m going to have to try out all your suggestions.

  57. skinsavey says:

    I have been struggling with acne since I was 12 and have tried nearly everything on the market to no avail.Thank you Afrobella for changing my life and giving me back my confidence!!!

  58. Thanks for this review! I’m a believer in drugstore brands and am on the hunt for a good acne removal product. The one I’m currently using has a oily feel to it that I don’t like and, after a few uses, I’m ready for a change. Now I will definitely going to try this..

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