Retinoids and azelaic acid to treat acne and hyperpigmentation in skin of color

J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Apr;12(4):434-7.


In this review, we examine published data reporting the efficacy of pharmaceutical agents to treat associated postinflammatory hyperpigmentation commonly seen in skin of color. Retinoids and azelaic acid have been widely used to treat acne. Now there are increasing data describing their use in skin of color for the treatment of both acne and the subsequent postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Historically, some dermatologists have been hesitant to use retinoids in skin of color because of perceived hypersensitivity in this patient population. However, recent data support the use of retinoids and azelaic acid in skin of color as both safe and beneficial.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / adverse effects
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / drug therapy*
  • Hyperpigmentation / pathology
  • Retinoids / adverse effects
  • Retinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Pigmentation


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Dicarboxylic Acids
  • Retinoids
  • azelaic acid