Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation involves the dark marks that remain after a blemish has healed. This is also known as acne scarring, but considering these marks do fade over time, they are not considered an actual scar. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation will result from the overproduction of melanin after the skin has become inflamed. Inflammatory mediators and cytokines can have a type of stimulatory effect on melanin, resulting in an increase in production
What Causes Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?
Inflammation in the skin can also cause the demise of basal keratinocytes, which in turn result in the accumulation of pigmentation in a concentrated area. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can occur after the skin has become injured, either by a traumatic injury, dermatitis outbreak, or acne breakout. While this condition isn’t considered physically harmful, most people will seek out treatment because of their uneven complexion.
While this condition can occur in anyone, it’s typically more noticeable and common in people with darker complexions. The severity of the hyperpigmentation will depend on the location in the skin and the person’s natural skin tone. Repeat inflammation occurring on the same area of the skin will exacerbate the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
This condition can take a long time to treat. The best preventative measure is to avoid any type of skin inflammation, in addition to the treatment of the skin condition that caused the inflammation to occur in the first place.
How to Prevent Skin Discoloration
Using sunscreen on a daily basis and applying it liberally to the areas of exposed skin, thirty to sixty minutes prior to leaving the house can help to prevent skin inflammation and further skin damage.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that are typically used to treat acne, but can also work to fade areas of hyperpigmentation. Retinoid creams will work by increasing epidermal turnover, thus facilitating melanin removal and dispersion. Common side effects you can anticipate from retinoid use include skin that’s dry, red and irritated. Should you experience these side effects cease using the product as it can worsen the hyperpigmented area of the skin.
Chemical peels are designed to remove the top layers of the skin, allowing new skin to take its place. Over the counter chemical peels will work to remove only the top layer of skin so they might not be effective if you have extensive skin damage. Chemical peels that are available through dermatologists and plastic surgeons will delve deeper into the skin, removing several layers. These peels are significantly stronger than what you’ll experience when using an over the counter product and they can take one to two weeks of recovery time. Side effects can include inflamed, dry and irritated skin.
The daily use of vitamin C can help to suppress the production of melanin. Other benefits of vitamin C use include anti-inflammatory effects and a boost to the immune system.
The healing process for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation will vary from person to person and will depend on the severity and age of the scarring. While some treatments can help to effectively reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, it may take more than one treatment before you’ll notice a significant improvement in the appearance of your skin.