Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka: PIH) refers to a temporary darkening of the skin after trauma to the skin. This reaction is in response to some type of trauma or irritation to the skin such as cuts, blunt injuries, irritating topical products, constant friction, acne scarring, and even laser treatments. The discoloration may appear as red, brown, or both depending on the skin type. Although the discoloration is considered temporary – “temporary” may refer to a few weeks to six months or a year.
Who is at risk for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
All skin types and all patients can get PIH. However, medium to darker skin types have a much higher chance of developing this reaction.
How can post inflammatory hyperpigmentation be avoided?
Avoid harsh, irritating products, eliminate practices or habits that cause constant friction to the skin, don’t pick at acne lesions, wear sunscreen diligently, and choose only licensed and experienced practitioners to perform safe and effective laser treatments. Even if you follow all of the above, there still is a chance that your body may react to trauma by producing excess pigment but the goal is to minimize factors that contribute to this condition.
Are there options if I develop post inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
Absolutely. The body has an amazing way of healing itself when left alone, which means that most pigment caused by trauma will go away on its own after some time. However, if the process is not quick enough for you, there are products and treatments that facilitate fading of discoloration gently and safely – and laser treatments are one of them.