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Your Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) Questions Answered

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

In basic terms, Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is pigmentation or dark spots that appear on the skin following inflammation.

What Causes Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Inflammation can be brought on by heat burns, acne or sun-induced skin conditions. Inflammation stimulates your melanocytes, which produce melanin and transfer it into skin cells as a protection for damaged skin.

Melanocytes dwell in the basal layer of your skin. This is the layer in between the epidermis and the dermis that produces new skin cells. If the basal layer is damaged, melanin can become trapped, resulting in dark lesions on the skin.

On the surface, PIH looks like flat brown or black spots on the skin. Exposure to sunlight and certain medications can make it darken and spread.

Can You Treat Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Certain laser treatments can be used to treat PIH. Laser treatments use concentrated and carefully targeted energy to break up the melanin trapped below the skin. Once the melanin is shattered, the immune system attacks and removes it.

Most laser treatments use heat energy to break down melanin, and if they are used with improper settings for your skin type, or without the thorough safety precautions that are followed in medical cosmetic clinics, there is a risk of aggravating PIH and making it worse.

Pico Rejuvenation treatments are recommended for PIH because they use a unique model of Pico laser that relies primarily on fractional mechanical (light and vibrational) energy with very little heat, so the risk of aggravating PIH is significantly reduced. In fact, Pico Rejuvenation can even be used to treat PIH caused by improper use of other types of lasers.

Are There Products That Treat Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

There are topical creams and serums to minimise PIH, and research to back up certain ingredients. To reduce pigment formation and lighten pigmented lesions of skin, look for products with niacinamide, a B vitamin that inhibits the transfer of melanin to the cells, and vitamin C, which has been found to help even out pigmentation and skin tone.

Glycerrhetinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and inhibits the synthesis of melanin. A newer ingredient is Symwhite, derived from pine trees, which can help reduce pigmentation in the skin by inhibiting tyrosinase (the enzyme that stimulates melanin production).

The most important product is a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent the pigmentation from darkening and allow the pigment inhibitors to take effect.

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We are located in Barangaroo, Chatswood and Sydney CBD

The content & media published on our website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks, and results of cosmetic procedures will vary.

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