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FAQ: What causes post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and how to treat it?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation treatments

If you’ve dealt with a bout of acne or a troublesome spot, you may feel like you’ve won the battle. But often you can be left with the aftermath for months and even years.

Acne scarring or post-inflammatory pigmentation?

Acne scarring occurs when too much collagen forms when the skin is healing after a breakout. Acne scarring can present as rolling scars, which makes the skin’s surface look wavy, ice-pick scars that appear as tiny holes in the skin, and boxcar scars which are wider than ice-pick scars like a crater.

Post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) is the darkening of the skin after an injury or skin disorder and acne is a common cause. It is not categorised as scarring as the skin texture is not affected.

Why does PIH occur?

The red or brown marks are due to excess melanin production, the pigmentary cells that give skin colour, as a reaction to inflammation. The excessive pigment granules darken and discolour the wounded area and remain long after the initial skin condition has resolved.

Your complexion will usually dictate what colour the marks will be; fairer-skin individuals will usually suffer from more red-toned marks, whereas darker skin types will usually be left with darker brown marks. The latter are usually more susceptible to PIH.

How do you treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation should improve overtime with no intervention, yet there are some treatments that can improve and speed up recovery. Your current skincare regime will be reviewed as medical grade skincare will contain active ingredients which can produce a brighter, more even skin tone.

A recent clinical study into the effectiveness of AlumierMD’s Prep & Enhance collection of products found a 70% improvement in brown spots in just four weeks. It also found a 58% improvement in skin redness in patients over a range of ages and a broad spectrum of skin types, ranging from Fitzpatrick Types I to VI.

Chemical peels can treat hyperpigmentation, yet conversely PIH can be a common complication after a skin peel. The Perfect Peel’s blend of multiple acids combined in low percentages mean there is less risk of PIH developing compared to other chemical peels.

The sun can further aggravate post-inflammatory pigmentation, darkening the affected patches, so it is essential to always protect your skin with a broad-spectrum, high factor sun cream.

For more advice on treating all skin conditions, call 0115 772 2363 to arrange an appointment at Dr CP Aesthetics.