Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Causes and Treatments

This condition can be caused by increased melanin or melanosis within the outer layer of the skin or deposited in the deeper layer of the skin.

Some conditions can cause post inflammatory hyperpigmentation:

Inflammatory response of the epidermis to trauma or disease results in the release of certain substances, such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and other. These substances affect the activity of immune cells and the melanocytes (pigment producing cells). An increased number of these cells produce more skin pigment melanin, which is transferred to surrounding skin cells.

What Does Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Look Like?

It appears as a flat area of discoloration on the skin. The color of this discoloration ranges from pink to purple, red, brown or black, depending on the type and tone of your skin and the depth of discoloration.

PIH develops when a rash, a wound, pimple or other conditions cause skin inflammation. This triggers your skin to produce more melanin. The excess of melanin darkens the wounded area. The discoloration remains after the affected area has healed. 

PIH is very common in those who suffer from acne. It can affect all skin types, but it is more common in darker skin types. PIH affects men and women equally. Note that this skin condition is not a true scar.

What to Do About Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

It may resolve without any additional treatment. The primary care includes:

Home Remedies for Acne Scars and Hyperpigmentation (Lemon Juice for Acne):

Other treatment options can help to reduce the PIH faster. These options include:

Topical application of some treatments may cause side reactions. There are some safety concerns about hydroquinone. Some studies show that is has cancer-causing potential. Topical retinoids can cause irritation and dryness, resulting in an increased hyperpigmentation.

Professional Treatment

A number of oral and topical agents are currently under investigation. Individuals with post inflammatory discoloration should be informed that hyperpigmentation can be slow to reduce, even with treatment. Epidermal pigmentation can persist for a year, dermal pigmentation can remain for years. More persistent cases of skin discoloration may be treated at your dermatologist’s office or skin spas. A number of treatment sessions may be required to fade discoloration.

When to Seek Medical Care

See your doctor if it‘s distressing to you, if you suffer from a chronic skin condition resulting in the darkening or if you notice a general unexpected and unexplained change in your skin color. 

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