If you’re one of the many people who suffer from skin blemishes and acne, chances are you’ve also experienced the after effect known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This condition manifests as dark marks or spots that remain visible on your skin well after your blemishes heal. Whilst it is very common, it is a frustrating condition and it is good to know there are a variety of techniques you can use to help minimize the symptoms.
What Causes Post Inflammatory Pigmentation?
PIH usually follows skin trauma. Common examples of skin trauma being:
- When an oversupply of sebum causes blocked pores and bacteria flourishes leading to acne
- Skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis where the skin can become very dry and cracked
- When the skin is scratched
- There is a puncture in the skin
- Squeezing and popping pimples
The trauma leads to inflammation which leads to melanocytes, the melanin producing cells, releasing an oversupply of melanosomes. This over production of pigment granules discolours the site of the wound. This darkening of the skin occurs when the trauma or blemish starts to heal, and the discoloration can linger well after the wound has completely healed.
PIH shows up on your face or body as a flat area of discoloration. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, it can vary in size and the colour can vary from white, pink, red, purple, brown, or black, depending on your skin tone.
It affects people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities.
Is PIH Different to Scarring?
PIH doesn’t cause scarring and will continue to fade over time.
Two factors that can affect the fading time are:
- The severity of the initial trauma
- Your natural skin tone and the scale of difference between it and the PIH discoloration
Help to Minimize the Symptoms
The key to avoid or decrease the severity of PIH is to do everything you can to decrease the severity of inflammation. This includes:
Leave acne and spots alone
When you suffer from a breakout, no matter the severity, the best advice is to nurture your skin and to leave it alone. If you pick, squeeze or pop pimples, there is a greater chance of causing trauma to the skin and therefore increasing the likelihood of post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
Be sun smart
You need to protect your skin from the sun. The heat from the sun can damage and age your skin. Prolonged exposure reduces your natural supply of oil and UV radiation can burn your skin and change its structure.
Whilst we often think of the effect of sunburn, which can appear immediately after the skin is exposed to UV radiation, too much sun can also cause dry skin, collagen breakdown and aggravate PIH symptoms by darkening the affected area and prolonging the time the dark patches take to fade.
Another consideration is if you are using skincare products containing active ingredients such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and retinol, it is extremely important to follow the directions carefully and protect your skin from the sun. This is particularly important as these products increase the potential for skin sensitivity to the sun.
Take care when getting certain beauty treatments
For some people, especially those with sensitive skin, chemical peels, skin needing, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing can also lead to PIH. If you think you might be a candidate for PIH, then ask your beauty clinic if you can trial the procedure on a specific area of your skin before committing to the full treatment.
Nurture your skin
AMPERNA® skincare is dedicated to creating revolutionary and unique formulas to help rebalance and transform the appearance of skin. The skincare is holistic and effective and the ingredients in AMPERNA® help to minimize inflammation and create the perfect conditions for your skin to shine.
The products contain only the necessary base ingredients plus skin-changing actives, such as a probiotic complex, glycolic acid and vitamins B and C. All free from nasties, including but not limited to sulfates, parabens, aluminium, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours and bleaches.
AMPERNA® products are made in Australia, are cruelty-free, vegan and suitable for all skin types. They have been thoroughly tested on people with a range of skin concerns including eczema, perioral dermatitis, rosacea, acne prone skin and more. You can find out more about how the range can help your skin here.