Your acne or rashes starts clearing up and your skin tend to get clearer every day. However, as you take a closer look, you start to notice pink or brown spots starting to appear on your skin where the rashes or acne lesions are starting to heal. Now, you’re starting to panic. Is it scarring? Will it fade away? What should you about it?
If this sounds like you, then you have come to right place. Today, we’ll be discussing a common yet troubling condition which affects men and women of all ages – Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. If you are interested to know more about this condition, read on and we’ll tell you more about it.
What Is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is referred to as the darkening of an area of the skin caused by an increased production of melanin, a natural substance that gives color to our skin, hair and iris.
Hyperpigmentation causes are usually associated with inflammation, sun damage and other skin injuries, including acne vulgaris.
Hyperpigmentation is linked with several diseases or condition including Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. People with darker skin tone are more prone to hyperpigmentation. This is especially true if they are often exposed to the sun.
What Is Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is a medical term used to describe darkening of an area of the skin after an inflammation occur. It is considered as our skin’s natural reaction to inflammation.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation presents itself as a flat area of discoloration that ranges from pink to red, purple, black or brown, depending on the person’s skin tone and depth of the discoloration. This develops when a pimple, rash, wound or other stimuli causes inflammation. As a result, it triggers the skin to produce an excessive amount of melanin.
With the increased production of melanin, it results to darkening and discoloration of the wounded area. Unfortunately, discoloration remains even after the rash or wound has healed. The more inflamed the breakout, the darker the macule tends to be. Popping a pimple increases your chance of developing Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation.
Acne-prone people are the most common sufferers of PIH. Though it occurs on all skin types, this condition is more common among people with darker skin tone. Fortunately, Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is not a true scar and may lighten overtime.
Most acne sufferers are relieved to know that Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation may fade over time, with or without treatment. The treatment of Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation involves a very long process. Ideally, it takes about 6 to 12 months to achieve the desired results. Although in some cases, it may take longer.
The length of time it may take for the discoloration to fade may depend on how dark the macule is as compared to your natural skin tone. Mind you, the bigger the contrast between your skin tone and the macule, the longer it may take for it to fade.
There are a lot of treatment options available. However, the management of Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation should start by addressing the underlying condition. Otherwise, a new pimple may cause another hyperpigmented macule and may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment rendered. Early treatment is important as it helps speed up the healing process and prevents further darkening.
First-line therapy typically includes topical hyperpigmentation products combined with a sunscreen. These agents include glycolic acid, corticosteroids, tretinoin cream, arbutin, licorice extracts and hydroquinone.
Though improvements may take time, please bear in mind that these topical creams have to be used regularly in order to achieve desired results. Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen is also an important part of the treatment regimen.
Photoprotection is another integral part of the treatment process and should not be underestimated nor overlooked. The sun may darken the discoloration. As a result, fading time may be a bit longer. Patients should also be advised about the use of protective clothing and daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 and above.
Lightening of the hyperpigmented area may be achieved through the use of any of the topical agents mentioned above. However, in order to see significant results a combination of topical creams, sunscreens, chemical peels and gels may be necessary. It is important to use caution when applying these agents in order to prevent skin irritation and worsening of the condition.
These topical agents may cause excessive redness, dryness or irritation, which in turn, may increase hyperpigmentation. It is important to contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these side effects.
Most people may consider this condition as a nuisance. However, there are a number of safe and effective treatments including a variety of topical agents that may help lighten the discoloration. For treatment to be effective, it is important to address the underlying condition. Daily use of sunscreen is also an integral part of the treatment regimen.