Acne is a common skin condition that affects many people worldwide. However, one of its less-discussed aftermaths is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a form of acne scars that can leave lasting marks on the skin long after the acne has healed. This article aims to shed light on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, its causes, treatment options, and prevention tips. For more information on the various types of acne scars click here.
Understanding Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, often a result of acne, refers to the dark spots or patches that remain on the skin after an acne lesion has healed. These spots can range in colour from pink to red, brown, or black, depending on the person's skin tone and the depth of the pigmentation.
Causes of Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our skin, hair, and eyes. This overproduction can be triggered by inflammation, such as that caused by acne lesions. When the skin is inflamed, it can stimulate the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) to produce more melanin, leading to dark spots where the acne once was.
Treatment Options for Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
There are several treatment options available for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These include topical treatments like retinoids and vitamin C, which can help to lighten the dark spots. Chemical peels and laser treatments can also be effective, but these should be performed by a qualified doctor. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment option for your specific needs. For more information on treatment options for acne scars and acne, do click here.
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Tips for Preventing Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
Preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation starts with good skincare habits. This includes keeping the skin clean, using non-comedogenic products, and avoiding picking or squeezing acne lesions, which can increase inflammation and the risk of hyperpigmentation. Protecting the skin from the sun is also crucial, as sun exposure can darken existing hyperpigmentation and prolong its duration.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be a distressing condition, but with the right knowledge and treatment, it can be managed effectively. Remember, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you're dealing with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or any other skin condition.
This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.
Callender, V. D., Baldwin, H., Cook-Bolden, F. E., Alexis, A. F., Stein Gold, L., & Guenin, E. (2022). Effects of Topical Retinoids on Acne and Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation in Patients with Skin of Color: A Clinical Review and Implications for Practice.
Sangha, A. M. (2021). Managing Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation in Patients with Acne. Dermatological Conditions in SKIN OF COLOR.