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Post Inflammatory Skin Condition : Causes, Types, Treatment & Prevention Tips

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The dark marks or spots left behind after a pimple heals are known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). They are frequently even more unpleasant and distressing than pimples. PIH is skin darkening that persists after a wound has healed. It’s the skin’s natural anti-inflammatory response.

What is hyperpigmentation?⁣
Hyperpigmentation is the over/ uneven production of melanin (natural skin pigment) as skin’s response of external trauma. As a result skin looks uneven/ tanned in a certain areas where the exposure is too high.⁣

Symptoms Of PIH:

The most common symptom of PIH is a flat spot of discoloration or hyperpigmentation on the skin. Depending on your skin tone and the depth of the discoloration, it can appear white, pink, red, purple, brown, or black.

PIH can affect any skin type. People with medium to dark complexions, on the other hand, experience it more severely and for a longer period of time. PIH affects both men and women.

Causes Of PIH:

Inflammation can be triggered by a variety of factors, including injuries, acne, rashes, excessive sun exposure, or picking or manipulating the affected areas. 

Melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) release pigment granules as a result of the inflammation. 

These granules darken and discolor the patch, making post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark spots (also known as lentigines or macules) on the skin more noticeable.

Risk Factors For Developing PIH:

  • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurs as flat patches of hyper coloration on the face and torso, especially in UV-exposed areas. 
  • Depending on the depth of hyper coloration and the skin tone, they can range in color from pink to red, brown, or black.
  • Men and women are both at risk, and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can affect any skin type, though it is more common in darker skin tones.
  • Increased melanin production is the root cause of PIH. Melanin is the pigment that gives a person’s skin its color, and it is activated by the way skin regenerates after an injury or inflammation. 
  • The more inflammation there is, the larger and more noticeable the patch of hyperpigmentation will be in size and color.

Types Of PIH:

PIH can be broadly classified into two types:

  • Atrophic PIH or Atrophic Scarring: This sort of scarring appears as though the skin has been indented or pitted. Icepick, Boxcar, and Rolling scars are three forms of atrophic scarring that can be distinguished by their shape and depth.
  • Hypertrophic PIH or Hypertrophic Scarring: An expansion of skin tissue over the surrounding non-inflamed skin causes this thicker type of scarring. It will frequently appear elevated above the rest of your skin.

Diagnosis Of PIH:

The easiest way to determine if you have PIH is by doing a “Pressure test.” For doing the pressure test, follow the steps below:

  • Apply gentle pressure on the discolored area.
  • Take note of the hue shift.
  • If your skin turns a different color over a short period of time, you have Post-inflammatory Erythema or PIE. This is also known as skin blanching, and it occurs when the pressure from your fingers constricts the blood vessels, temporarily removing the coloring from the skin.
  • If the color does not change, it is most likely a case of PIH.

Treatment Of Mild, Moderate & Severe PIH and Over The Counter Medications:

Consider seeing a dermatologist who is board-certified and can distinguish between PIH and contact dermatitis. Once you’ve been diagnosed with PIH, you can talk about your treatment choices, which include:

  • Topical treatments like 15 to 20% Azelaic Acid, Cysteamine, Kojic Acid, and Hydroquinone can all help with PIH look. 
  • A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich Vitamin C skincare products with brightening properties for milder cases. BHAs and retinol too can help.
  • For milder cases of hyperpigmentation, stronger prescription-strength chemical peels can be highly beneficial, while microdermabrasion may be indicated. 
  • Laser treatments or laser therapy, such as laser resurfacing or intense pulsed light (IPL), can also be beneficial, albeit they normally require multiple sessions before obvious results.
  • For overall dermis or skin health, more severe cases may require a prescription such as Tretinoin or the addition of an over-the-counter supplement such as vitamin-packed glucosamine, niacinamide, or arbutin.

PIH Myths:

The following popular myths about PIH are absolutely wrong:

  • PIH can only be treated by laser surgery.
  • PIH is the result of skin thinning.
  • Dark-skinned people are less likely to get any form of hyperpigmentation.
  • Skin lightening treatment could cure PIH.

Prevention, Habits & Management Tips:

  • Don’t touch your face often or without washing your hands.
  • Regularly wash and change your pillow covers, bedsheets, and towels.
  • Never wear makeup to bed.
  • Never skip on sunscreen application when outdoors.
  • Never pop any pimple or zit.
  • Don’t scratch or pick on any skin issue.
  • Don’t use any skincare or makeup product without doing a patch test first.
  • Eat a proper diet, get adequate sleep and drink plenty of water.

Deconstruct’s Range Of PIH Treating Products:

Conclusion

After a pimple heals, black spots called PIH to appear on the skin. It does not harm the skin and so does not cause pits or raised scars. Without treatment, PIH normally recovers over time, but it can take up to a number of years. Some blemishes may never go away. OTC creams, prescription drugs, and in-office treatments are all options for treatment.

Make sure your acne is under control and that you apply sunscreen to achieve the best outcomes from treatment. Keep a close eye on your skin during therapy for signs of inflammation.

FAQs

  1. Who is at risk of getting PIH?
    PIH can affect people of any age and gender, however, it is more common in people with darker complexions. Any of the causes listed above could be the cause.

2. Is PIH ever going to be cured?
Unlike acne scars, PIH does not last forever, however, it might take months to years to dissolve. The more inflammation there is, the more noticeable the coloring becomes. The longer the recuperation time is when the area is treated with abrasive treatments or picking.

3. What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation) is a prevalent skin disorder that affects both the face and the body. Increased melanin production, the pigment that determines a person’s skin color, is to blame. PIH might emerge as black spots or change the pigmentation of previously inflamed areas.

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