Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) causes skin darkening and discolouration that show up as spots, or as large patches on a person’s body. This is because cells that normally produce brown pigment evenly across your skin go into overproduction and produce too much melanin.
This is due to inflammatory reaction in, or to an injury to, the skin. If the excess melanin is produced in the upper layer of skin (epidermis), the pigmentation colour is a darker shade of brown. If the excess melanin is produced in the lower layer of skin (the dermis), a grey or blue discolouration becomes visible.
Although PIH can occur in all skin types, it is more common in people of Africa, Asia, Latin, and indigenous Indian background, and can affect men and women . Areas of the skin affected by PIH correspond with areas of previous inflammation or injury. When dark changes in your skin’s colour remain after the underlying problem has gone away, you have PIH. The most common causes are injuries such as scratches, burns, cuts, or bruises. Cause of PIH examples of which include:
- skin infections
- laser treatments
- allergic reactions
- mechanical injuries
- reactions to medications
- phototoxic eruptions
- trauma (e.g. burns)
- inflammatory reactions
Ordinary conditions such as acne or pimples are a very common cause of PIH in individuals with brown skin. PIH can also be caused by injury to the skin resulting from sunburns, surgery or cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, lasers and cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen treatments).
Usually, hyperpigmentation will gradually lessen over time and normal skin colour will return. However, this is a long process that may take up to 12 -24 months or longer. But for those clients who wish to remove PIH faster, the Q-switch method has proven to be one of the best treatments for such condition.
Clients should be advised to use a good broad spectrum sunscreen daily to reduce further darkening.
Whatever treatment option you choose, understand that improvement will take time. In our experience great results could be archived within 8 – 10 weekly treatments
If you suspect that you may have PIH, it is important to search for the underlying cause and treat that cause. For example, when the discolouration is caused by a problem such as acne, the acne must first be eliminated or treated before PIH can effectively be treated. Every time a new blemish develops and then resolves, a new area of PIH will develop. Therefore, it is crucial to minimise all new outbreaks with appropriate medications. Only then can the treatment for the PIH be effective.
At City laser Clinic we understand the distress and embarrassment that skin lesions can cause, particularly the darker blemishes and especially when covering larger parts of the visible skin. City laser Clinic therapist have found that the MedLite Q-Switch Laser operating in the 1064nm wavelength laser mode is the most effective resource for Treatment of PIH.
As with all Laser therapy treatments, the frequency and number of treatments will depend on your skin type, the area affected and the size of that area. Contact us to arrange a FREE consultation to discuss a treatment plan that suits your needs.